Sexual violence (SV) is a widespread, preventable social problem that occurs within the context of broader social and gender relations, and affects people in the most personal and intimate areas of their lives. There are a number of counselling services in Australia that support people to overcome the adverse effects of trauma resulting from SV. Community clinical services are delivered across multiple modalities, including a number of specialised group therapy programs.
There is substantial evidence for the effectiveness of group therapy for people impacted by SV. However, the delivery of group services to individuals affected by a significant trauma history, who may be experiencing distressing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as the emotional and interpersonal difficulties associated with complex trauma, presents unique challenges for therapists working in this area. Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia is carrying out a nationwide study into service provider and client experiences of the key strengths and limitations of group services for people affected by SV.
The findings underscore how group therapy meets the needs of the clients, and outlines important suggestions for practitioners working therapeutically with groups of individuals impacted by trauma. In this presentation, Jackie Burke will explore the challenges and common pitfalls in facilitating group programs for people affected by SV, and provide specialised and practical insights into how to most effectively carry out therapeutic work with traumatised clients within a group environment.