Dear survivors, no matter when your assault or abuse occurred, you’ve been alone with this for too long already. Please let us accompany you as you heal. Whatever it is, whatever you’re experiencing now, we promise one thing: you don’t have to do this alone.
Individual counseling at Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands is provided by licensed clinicians who have received specialized training in the field of trauma. Our counselors create a safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment that fosters hope and healing for each survivor. You are able to set the pace for the sessions as we understand that this process can often seem frightening. We offer Animal-Assisted Therapy to assist in managing levels of anxiety during appointments. Talk with your STSM counselor about requesting a therapy dog.
The healing experience is unique for each survivor of sexual violence and abuse, but there are similarities for most. Our philosophy of counseling is derived from supportive, cognitive behavioral and strengths-based therapeutic approaches. We see the counseling/support relationship as a partnership, in which the Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands counselor facilitates self-determination and supports survivors’ progress within a six month time period over 12 to 16 sessions. The counselors at STSM acknowledge and affirm how courageous it is for survivors of sexual violence to tell their stories and respect how each survivor chooses to use their resources. These services are confidential and available at no cost to survivors.
What To Expect
To begin counseling services, you will either be referred to a counselor after completing crisis intervention or be directly scheduled with a counselor if crisis intervention services are not needed. During your first appointment with the counselor, you will not be expected to share your full story. What you can expect on your first appointment:
- You will have the opportunity to get to know your counselor and receive information on the overview of the counseling process. Your counselor will determine if you are working with other treatment providers to ensure that we work together to provide you with the best care possible.
- Your counselor will complete an assessment with you to understand the impact of the trauma you experienced.
- You will then discuss with your counselor the goals you would like to work on during counseling.
- Based on this information, the counselor will select the most appropriate treatment and the work will begin
Group counseling is important because while a counselor can tell you that healing is possible, a peer can actually show you that healing is possible. Sexual violence is by nature isolating. Survivors report that they feel like they are alone in their experience, alone in the world. Being surrounded by the support of a peer group is a key part of healing.
Participation in STSM’s support groups is an important component of the healing journey that STSM offers to survivors of sexual violence. In these groups, 6 to 10 survivors meet weekly for 1.5 hours for 12 weeks with a trained and experienced STSM Group Facilitator. Survivors discuss the ways in which sexual violence has impacted their lives—their self-esteem, relationships, feelings of safety, trust, intimacy, and other aspects. Trauma stories are not told in group. Groups offer the opportunity to practice new skills like healthy boundaries and positive thinking while surrounding survivors with encouragement to help them to heal and grow.
STSM’s Group Therapy Opportunities
Groups are available for:
- Women ages 18+
- Men ages 18+
- Girls 12-17
- Secondary Survivors (parents, caregivers, spouses, friends, and family of survivors)
STSM also offers groups using alternative healing modalities, such as:
- Art Therapy Group
- Yoga Therapy Group
- Music Therapy Group
- Dance & Movement Therapy Group
- Animal Assisted Therapy (used in both group and individual sessions)