Our Psychoeducational skills sessions have proven very popular as a starting place for all of our service users, as they support, empower, and equip the adult to feel confident enough to start the healing process.
The majority of service users experience many lightbulb moments in these sessions which helps them to ‘let themselves off the hook’ and give permission for self-compassion. While many come to the sessions anxious and hesitant at the unknown (including being in a room with other people), everyone leaves the first session feeling hopeful and knowing that they are accepted, understood, listened to, and ‘can do it.’ Some may leave with a headache after this first session which is often a build up of pre-session anxiety or may be down to the amount of handouts and information we give! ?
These sessions are very therapeutic but NOT group therapy, and we generally have a maximum of eight people in the room plus two facilitators. It’s a bit like being in ‘class’ as everyone faces the same direction looking at our much used flipchart! There is minimum personal sharing other than some imagery that we facilitate, so no-one is put in the situation of hearing details of others’ trauma, though obviously many do share some of the same ‘consequences of abuse’ experiences.
You will be given a folder to keep all of the handouts in, and a journal to keep notes in – all of which you will bring back with you for each session. Generally these sessions happen fortnightly, though on the odd occasion they can be weekly, and are always during the day time. The majority of people who work have been able to arrange time off of work given enough notice to manage this. Each session is two hours long with a brief break in the middle, and all four need to be attended to continue on to personal sessions.
Some of the things we cover in these skills sessions include:
Dissociation: not being totally engaged emotionally, and/or mentally, and/or physically, and/or spiritually with the moment you are living through. This can happen to varying degrees and is what affects memory related to trauma and distress.
Roots and Shoots: Just as we can tell what is coming up through the roots of a plant of tree by looking at the health of the branches, leaves, flowers, or fruit, so we can get an idea of what is coming up through our roots by looking at thoughts/core beliefs, emotions/feelings, and memories. We can be conscious of these or not, but we all have them for better or worse!
Mask behaviour: What we present to others can often be very different to what we see and feel on the inside, and what we believe needs ‘hiding’ from others, even those close to us. All ‘masks’ serve a purpose and there are some we don’t need any more as we process trauma and allow ourselves our truth.
Tools: We use lots of tools including Russian (nesting) dolls, Playdough, types of journaling, other types of children’s dolls and toys, art work, poetry, chair work etc.
You will be surprised how much you cover over the four sessions, but you will be well equipped for your personal sessions by the end.
We are able to provide for the majority of learning difficulties and will adapt whatever we can to enable access to the resources. You will be asked about this at assessment.
Here’s what some other people have had to say about the skills sessions:
‘I felt overwhelmed with the amount of information at times but given the space to let it all settle in has shown me that all of it applies to me!’
‘Too many lightbulb moments to mention – I’m not crazy after all’
‘Why wasn’t I able to access this 25 years ago? I’ve had so much other therapy but this is something different.’
‘It makes so much sense in such a ‘common-sense’ way. Now I feel that I can do this because I understand and am understood.’
‘Being given ‘permission’ and reassurance to allow some tools to apply to me but not other tools has been great