For those who consider joining our groups, you can have certain expectations:
You are here to grow, learn, and not let sexual abuse hinder you from being the best version of you. Based on the first time we meet, we will together decide on treatment goals and a plan so you get can what you most need from treatment. Many of these goals and be helpful for other areas of your life too! These might include learning how to cope with stress and better communicate with important people in your life.
We will help you learn why people sexually abuse others and answer any questions you have. This is a safe place to be able to talk as all the children/teens in the group have had sexual abuse happen to them. We will learn ways to avoid high risk situations and watch out for signals (red flags) to help prevent anyone from ever abusing you again.
We'll talk about the sexual abuse in order for you to see that others in the group have experienced similar sexual abuse, feelings, and family troubles as a result. Facing the abuse and sharing the details will also help make the whole experience less scary and prepare you to deal with it and put it behind you. We know being a “group” can be intimidating and perhaps a bit scary. Rest assured, while we encourage and expect our members to participate in group, we never pressure you to tell the intimate details of your situation to other group members. As time goes on and you learn general skills and general education about sexual abuse, you will be gradually pulled from group by your individual therapist to begin discussing your personal story one on one.
All people have difficulties and areas in which they could benefit from additional help. Therapy is a place to learn how to deal with problems, even if they're not related to the sexual abuse. Group is a good place to learn how to deal with the general pressures of life. We might learn things like how to:
With the purpose of learning important ways to handle our problems we may do interesting activities, such as:
There are rules in the group to help make it safe for everyone, and to prevent anything from interfering with our treatment goals.
That means topics discussed, who said what about whom, etc. are not told to others outside the group. You can talk about activities and general topics discussed, but not about personal details about the other teens or therapists. There are exceptions if there is concern about safety, such as if another child is being or has been abused, if person threatens to hurt someone or themselves. Our job is to keep everyone safe, so if we believe there is a possibility someone might get hurt, we can work together to tell someone who can prevent that from happening.
The culmination of all that is learned at FLP is the completion of a trauma narrative in which teens will discuss their traumatic experience(s) with their therapists. Trauma narratives are conducted only when the therapists believe the teen client is ready to engage in such a discussion. They have been completed in various forms, from narrative 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 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.