Our Trauma Support Groups run for six sessions, fortnightly. Two therapists look after and guide the group through a number of themes common to individuals struggling with a legacy of complex trauma.
Date: 21st April 2021(Wednesdays fortnightly)
Location: Birchtree Centre Forest Lodge, level 5 group room
Topics for this term:
- Safety, Stabilisation and Connection – how to feel safe in your environment, your body and emotionally
- Managing Strong Emotions in Recovery – exploring the 90/10 reaction
- Circles of Intimacy – how to safely navigate interpersonal connections after trauma
- Family Connections – what contact if any do you have with your family now? How do you manage this?
- Overcoming the Relational Template from Childhood – what was your role within your family system, do you find yourself re-living that role in other relationships/situations?
- Trust after Trauma – exploring trust in others, in your own judgement and in your body
FAQs about the Trauma Support Group:
What is a support group vs. a therapy group?
The Trauma Support Group is not a therapy group where you talk about your specific trauma – the group is more focused on how you cope now day-to-day as a result of your trauma, this is why it is a compulsory requirement of all members to be seeing a therapist individually before joining the Trauma Support Group.
A support group brings people together who are going through or have gone through similar experiences – in this case developmental/childhood trauma. It provides members with a safe community, to share their coping strategies, experiences of navigating through life, and to find support in things they’re struggling with. The group also helps to remind people that they aren’t alone in their experience.
What’s the set-up of the group?
It is run by two clinicians who guide the group with regards to the topic for that week, and the discussion points. It is not a psycho-educational group, though information on some topics may be new, and can be elaborated on if necessary / desired by the group members. We create notes for each group based upon the particular week’s topic, we’ll send these out via email a couple of days before the group, including the questions that will come up for discussion. In the group, everyone will be given a printed version of the notes, these notes will then guide the structure of the group, with the main portion of the group being dedicated to group discussions, e.g. coping mechanisms.
What ‘type’ of trauma is the group aimed at?
A lot of people ask if their trauma is ‘suitable’ for the group. The group is aimed at complex / childhood / developmental trauma, as opposed to single-event trauma. This is important as the topics are often based around the timeline from child-adult and the family system.
Why do I need to be seeing a therapist individually to come to the group?
FYI – you do NOT need to be seeing a clinician at the Birchtree centre to join, as long as you’re seeing a therapist individually. Though the group is run by two clinicians, it is a ‘support group’ rather than a therapy group. The clinicians are only there to guide the discussion and ensure everyone is safe in the group, they aren’t there to provide group therapy. We ask members to NOT disclose their specific trauma, as the group is based more on how past trauma effects group members now in their day-to-day life, as opposed to their experience of the trauma itself.
What happens if I feel overwhelmed during the session?
Before we start the very first group, one of the group facilitators will do an intake call, during this call they’ll ask you if you have any known triggers, and what techniques help to ground you so we’re best equipped to keep you safe if you become elevated during a session. Examples of grounding techniques include: guided breathing, a weighted blanket, leaving the room, a glass of cold water etc. If you feel overwhelmed during a session you’re welcome to leave the group room and sit in one of our breakout rooms, one of our therapists will then come and check on you and do everything they can to make you feel comfortable enough to reenter the room, or ensure you get home safely, whilst the other therapist will continue leading the group session.
What happens if I need support between the sessions?
Throughout the group we encourage you to write down anything that you find difficult so that you can bring it up with your individual therapist outside of the group sessions. If you feel as though you’d like to discuss the content of the group further or have any questions, you’re welcome to send us an email, or come to a group earlier or stay afterwards to talk with the facilitators.
How is confidentiality managed?
The only personal information shared in the group is first names – though you’re welcome to use a pseudonym if that makes you feel more comfortable. We are very clear about the importance of confidentiality, and group members aren’t encouraged to disclose details of their actual trauma experiences, the group is more centered around their experiences of coping after trauma.
What if I can’t attend every session?
You MUST attend week one of the trauma support group term you signed up for. This is because it is a closed group – meaning after the first group we close enrolments so no one else can sign up and join. The purpose of this is to keep group members consistent throughout the 6 sessions, which aids with members ability to feel comfortable sharing in the group. After the first session it doesn’t matter if you can’t make a session or two because of other commitments, however we don’t reimburse for missed sessions.
What are the topics of the group?
In total there are 18 topics for the Trauma Support Groups. We cover 6 of these topics in every Trauma Support Group Term, and then cycle through the next 6 in the following term, and so on, the topics are:
- Internal Separation: Two Parts of Self
- Physical Manifestations
- Shame and Guilt
- Meaning and Purpose
- Safety, Stability and Connection
- Managing Strong Emotions in Recovery
- Circles of Intimacy
- Family Connections
- Overcoming the Relational Template from Childhood
- Trust after Trauma
- Responding to Needs
- Managing my Window of Tolerance
- Self Care
- Establishing Safety
- Celebrations in Trauma
- Facing Change