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Family Learning Program (FLP)

Young Children

At the Family Learning Program, our specialized treatment is centered on the child victim of abuse, although treatment typically includes the whole family, as sexual abuse impacts the entire family. Each family member requires support, understanding, and skills to manage the impact of a traumatic experience occurring in the family. It is also important to involve the entire family in treatment to support the child, while providing skills for the family to increase their ability to cope and prevent future abuse.

In the Young Childrens’ group each individual group member's treatment goals are simultaneously kept in mind when planning and implementing therapy for the group. The Family Learning Program uses evidence-based treatment techniques, which have been researched and found to be best when treating victims of sexual abuse. The Young childrens’ group also uses play-based therapy techniques, such as games, puppets, art, and sand-tray, to engage children in therapy and make learning new skills enjoyable for the group. Young children typically enjoy coming to our group, and often feel proud of themselves for making progress in their treatment!

The sexual abuse therapy groups tend to focus on helping children:

  • Process and share their feelings regarding their abuse
  • Realize that they are not at fault for being abused
  • Learn skills to keep themselves safe in the future
  • Build self-esteem and increase positive self-worth
  • Address unhelpful thoughts regarding their abuse
  • Manage problem behavior resulting from their abuse
  • Enhance appropriate social skills and learn healthy boundaries
  • Improve family communication and relationships

The commonality of experiences shared by group members is a very powerful source of support for children. In the Young Childrens’ group, children learn they are not alone in their experience and are allowed a safe space to learn, express themselves, and move forward from their traumatic experiences.

Toward the end of their time at FLP, young children 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 child is ready to engage in such a discussion. Trauma narratives in the young children's group have been done in many different ways, ranging from transcribed stories, to pictures, or even utilizing the sand tray. The trauma narrative portion of treatment allows the child to tell their story, as well as their thoughts and feelings about their experiences, all in a safe and supportive place. Children will be encouraged to use all they have learned in their previous sessions to help them through the process of completing 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.