What is trauma?
Trauma can be caused by emotional or sexual abuse, incest, neglect, and/or physical acts such as hitting, punching, kicking, pinching, pushing, etc. The women in our program may have a history of one or all of the abuses mentioned or may currently be in an abusive relationship.
What does history of trauma have to do with current problems?
A woman's abuse history predisposes her to emotional, psychiatric and relational problems throughout her life. Women with an abuse history often struggle with depression and mood swings, panic and anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse and other addictions, flashbacks of the painful events and self-injurious behaviors.
How can I talk about my problems in a group? How can I expect others to understand when the people closest to me don't?
The group is composed of women who have all suffered abuse. Most women entering the program have been emotionally isolated, unable to share their feelings and experiences for fear of judgment or criticism. The groups promote feelings of safety and trust, helping women achieve a sense of belonging and the discovery that they are not alone.
I noticed that several members of the group have eating disorders and others have addictions. I thought that this was a program for women who have been abused?
Women entering the program are treated for a variety of psychiatric disorders. Eating disorders, somatic disorders and other symptoms such as depression, panic and self-injurious behaviors can be seen as ways that the mind and/or the body can express a woman's trauma wounds. In this program, women are united to address the underlying reasons for their disorders.
I keep hearing people talk about coping tools. What do you mean by "the tools" to cope with trauma?
Women with an abuse history have not been protected, nor have they learned to adequately protect themselves in adulthood. Assertiveness, healthy boundaries, self-care, self-expression, insight into changes of self-defeating patterns of behavior are some of the basic tools necessary to build healthy relationships and a satisfying and productive life.