New Post-Trauma Structured Support Group!

 In Blog

(Posttraumatic Growth, Creative and Emotion Focused philosophies)

Launching at the Centre for Emotion Focused Practice

7 pm 29th April 2013

Written by Tabitha Dougall & Bek Volgin


People who have had a traumatic or life threatening event or who have experienced a threat to their integrity (physical, sexual, psychological) can be left feeling isolated and overwhelmed with a range of charged unprocessed emotions, often accompanied by flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, heightened anxiety, sleep problems, depression and more.

Traumatic experiences may include a major car accident, assault, childhood trauma/abuse, sexual abuse/assault, death of a family member, surviving a bushfire or having been a victim of crime, etc.  Trauma can threaten our core beliefs, prevent us from continuing with aspects of our daily lives and enjoyment of our world, and may also impact intimate and family relationships.

However, despite the pain and distress, many people also report great psychological and spiritual growth, and other positive outcomes from the recovery journey. ‘Posttraumatic growth’ is the product of the cognitive work required to rebuild ones narrative (Triplett et al., 2012).  Posttraumatic growth is defined as the experience of positive psychological changes that occur after a trauma and the ensuing struggle to come to terms with the event (Dekel, Mandl & Solomon, 2011).  These psychological changes can include the perception of improved interpersonal relationships, enhanced personal strength, new possibilities, spiritual growth and an increased appreciation of life (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004).

Trauma Support

Support Group

Social support has been found to be a predictor of positive change after trauma (Prati & Pietrantoni, 2009) and is just one of the many benefits of attending a support group.  Support groups can provide people with a safe comfortable place to connect with others in an authentic way who have similar experiences and feel validated and ‘normal’.  There is also the opportunity to share mutual support, understanding and in many cases rebuild trust in a non-judgmental environment.  Strategies for recovery and encouragement along the journey can be shared.  Group members can communicate their needs and feelings, set goals, enhance social networks, gain perspective and hope from others, increase empowerment and motivation, and learn and grow together.

The Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria (ARCVic) have been running for 25 years in Victoria and offer 25 ongoing self help support groups around Melbourne and regional Victoria.  A Post Traumatic Stress Self Help Support Group has been in operation at the Centre for Emotion Focused Practice for the last two years to provide people with a safe space to feel acknowledged, validated and share support and understanding.

The group will soon be changing its structure to provide further help, information and safety to participants.

A new structured closed support group will be launching on Monday the 29th April 2013 at 7 pm which will offer guest speakers, interactive workshops, information and self help.  It will only be open to new members at the beginning of each 6 week block to create deeper safety and trust within the group, and will have an emotional focused, creative, experiential approach also exploring the concept of post traumatic growth.

It will run from 7 – 8.30 pm, the second and last Mondays each month, in the Group Room of the Centre for Emotion Focused Practice, and will be facilitated by ARCVic trained volunteers, George, Briony and Bek who all have a special interest and understanding of trauma and recovery and are warm and welcoming.  There will be a focus on emotional safety and interactive self help workshops to explore and process emotions and thoughts left as a result of trauma.  One guest presenter, Amanda Scott, is an art therapist and experienced facilitator who currently runs workshops and camps supporting young people involved in the child protection system.  She will facilitate an interactive experiential process of mandala making – art can offer a powerful non-verbal processing of painful emotions and experiences, making the invisible, visible, whilst also being soothing, relaxing, and self esteem enhancing.  No artistic talent is needed at all.

The cost of the group will be minimal, $40 per 6-session block and involves an intake interview to ascertain if the group is likely to be helpful for each new member.

To register interest, please contact Tabitha Dougall at ARCVic on ph: 9830 0566 or email [email protected] (Tuesdays/Wednesdays).  For more information on ARCVic’s support groups and Helpline visit

Hope and Healing to all.

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