You probably have an image of what a support group looks like. People sit in folding chairs arranged in a circle, talking about dire subjects in a conversation facilitated by one person. BARCC’s counseling groups aren’t exactly like that. Yes, there are chairs (not folding!), and yes, there is talking. But participants aren’t expected to share their personal stories, and the focus is on how your sexual trauma or your loved one’s sexual trauma is impacting your life today. If you or your loved one has survived sexual violence, you could benefit from such a group.
In our three fall 2017 counseling groups—for adult survivors, and partners, families, and friends of survivors—participants walk out with new tools to take on life, relationships, and a holistic sense of self. You’re not alone, and we can help.
The three groups meet weekly in the evening, starting in October. Participants can request to be included in the group online (check off the box for “group counseling” in the form) or by calling 617-492-8306. Clients must complete an individual intake session, and must be in individual counseling. If an applicant doesn’t have a therapist, BARCC can provide individual counseling. The Partners, Family, and Friends Group is safe and supportive space for partners, friends, loved ones, and family members of survivors of sexual violence. There is also a gender-inclusive Healing from Sexual Trauma group, and a Healing from Sexual Trauma group specifically for women.
The Partners, Family, and Friends Group focuses on understanding the impacts of sexual trauma on the survivor, on themselves as significant others, and on their relationships with the survivor. Parents, friends, siblings, adult children, and significant others can request to attend. Participants can also gain skills for coping with common challenges, and ways to offer support to the survivor.
"I have seen participants realize their own needs and give themselves permission to take care of themselves,” said Bella, who facilitates the Partners, Family, and Friends group. “In the end, this also helps the survivors, because they are in a better mood, they are more calm, less stressed, and they are also modeling for the survivor how they can take care of themselves."
Seeing participants come back week after week to learn more and support the survivor they love is Bella’s favorite part of facilitating the group.
"We have this group because trauma not only affects the survivor, it also affects the community and the people who love them,” said Bella. “We realized that those people were not getting support, and most of the time they don't feel like they deserve support, but they really need it."
Show up for your loved one or show up for yourself by requesting more information about the groups. The deadline to apply to the Partners, Family, and Friends Group is September 22, and the deadlines to apply to the Healing from Sexual Trauma groups are September 12 (women) and 25 (gender-inclusive). All participants must be 18 or older.