Taking First Steps
‘Taking the First Steps’ is a unique, structured, non-residential group therapy program designed and written to provide trauma-informed support for adult survivors. The course is delivered by two qualified group facilitators and has six participants who meet once weekly for 2 hourly sessions per week over an 18-week timeframe in accordance with the NSW school term calendar.
The group program offers many benefits to participants and aims to empower participants with a sense of hope, belonging and connection. It allows survivors to normalise and share their experience, learn from others, and have access to information and practical coping strategies, that will assist them in their recovery and healing. Attending a group therapy program can increase participant’s self-confidence, self-efficacy and provide a sense of empowerment. Group work compliments individual counselling as it can ease feelings of isolation and alienation, which are often experienced by survivors.
Words of encouragement from past participants
The strength and sense of empowerment that I’ve gained from Taking the First Steps, have been the program’s greatest gifts. I’m no longer plagued by the guilt and shame I’d been carrying around. This program helped me overcome so many hurdles, the biggest of which was breaking my silence. After 23 years of carrying around the secret of sexual abuse, I told my family about the abuse and outed the paedophile that had destroyed my life. I have no doubt in my mind that without Taking the First Steps, I never would’ve had the strength to do that.
The amazing fact that an 18-week programme can have such a big positive affect on people who have all been to the end of their tethers at some point in their lives in the most positive and genuine way is testament as to the effectiveness of the Heartfelt Programme. I would recommend this program for anyone who needs healing from child sexual abuse. I see its loving wings touching all of us that have suffered.
To all the new survivors about to face the 18 weeks at Heartfelt House, have courage, be strong to face this journey. Before my journey I had felt depressed, not interested in anything and tried suicide a couple of times. Over the program I could feel myself changing, in how I related to people, my family. Now I know the abuse wasn’t my fault, and this is through the help and support from Heartfelt House. So be positive and have no fear, and all the best wishes on your journey.
Walk into Heartfelt House each week with confidence knowing that the choice for positive change has been made and there’s no going back, there’s nothing to go back to. All you need to do is just show up. In whatever state you are in – happy, angry, a broken mess that can barely get out of bed…go in your pjs if that is all you can manage!