The pre-teen group consists of children between the age of 9 and 12. Treatment goals focus on:
Pre-teens receive knowledge about sexuality, puberty and sexual abuse, and gain an understanding about the importance of telling a trusted adult if they ever find themselves in situations in which they feel uncomfortable.
During the course of treatment, pre-teen clients will learn to be desensitized to the trauma they have experienced. In group, we will discuss the sexual abuse in order for the victim to see that others in the group have experienced similar sexual abuse, feelings, and family troubles as a result. Talking about the abuse in a supportive environment makes the experience more manageable and less intimidating. In addition, group members are given ample time to learn coping strategies and feelings identification, as well as other skills that will aid them in the task of talking about their abuse.
Pre-teen group provides a safe place to learn how to manage difficulties and things that are hard to deal with. Group allows for pre-teens to learn social skills, how to get along with others and see how their behavior impacts others. Pre-teens learn coping skills to deal with difficult emotions, for example, anger or sadness. Pre-teens develop problem solving skills to resolve conflicts. In group, pre-teens learn from each other and provide support and feedback to other members.
We follow and practice group rules every time for safety and consistency. This includes doing a check-in about the high and low points of our week with each other. Also, learning to respect others by waiting our turn and being on time is an important part of group. Group members also learn to keep sensitive topics confidential. We strive to make the pe-teen group a fun environment in which the group members can learn and remember the skills taught to them. We do this by practicing skills, playing games, and using artwork to learn.
Toward the end of their time at FLP pre-teen clients will complete a trauma narrative in which they will discuss their traumatic experience(s) with their therapists. Trauma narratives are conducted only when the therapists believe the pre-teen client is ready to engage in such a discussion. Trauma narratives have been completed in various forms, from written stories, to picture books, a letter to the offender, or even a letter to others who have experienced abuse. The trauma narrative portion of treatment allows the pre-teen client to tell their story, as well as their thoughts and feelings about their experiences, all in a safe and supportive place. Clients will be encouraged to use all they have learned in their previous sessions to aid them in completion of the trauma narrative. Typically, the last step in the process is to share the trauma narrative with a trusted family member or therapist, followed by a graduation ceremony to celebrate this big accomplishment.