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community partner spotlight

resilience: advocates for ending violence

Arbor Circle is pleased to highlight our community partner in SCAN in recognition of child abuse awareness month. Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence is not a program of Arbor Circle.

The Transition to Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence

Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence began as Center for Women in Transition in 1977 with the goal of addressing a critical need in Ottawa and Allegan Counties – support and services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. For more than 40 years, Resilience has responded to the needs of survivors, expanded its reach, evolved its services, and created new partnerships and programs designed to stop intergenerational violence. In 2019, the agency introduced their new name and brand, evolving to become more inclusive and reflective of the diverse community that Resilience serves. The mission of Resilience has not changed. Resilience will continue providing expert, comprehensive services to survivors with the same level of compassion, confidence, and integrity that survivors deserve.

Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence and SCAN

Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence’s involvement with SCAN begins with their mission: to respond to, reduce, and prevent domestic and sexual violence. The Resilience Children’s Therapy program assists children that are experiencing trauma symptoms as a result of witnessing domestic violence. Though the agency’s services are directed towards those witnessing abuse rather than those who have been abused directly, it is often the case that children still suffer through emotional or psychological abuse from the offending parent. Resilience can provide a knowledgeable and significant contribution to the SCAN council.

Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence Creates Better Childhoods

Resilience empowers children to gain their voice back, provides a safe place to process trauma, and the language needed to express the pain they’ve endured. The goal of the therapy program is to decrease trauma symptoms and increase hope and coping skills. A qualified children’s therapist engages the children using various therapeutic models, most commonly the Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Model (TF-CBT), an approach that was specifically developed for children that have endured significant trauma. This model focuses on providing psychoeducation on trauma, domestic violence and the brain, teaching relaxation skills, feelings identification, dressing cognitive distortions, all while gradually exposing the child to their identified traumatic memory so that the child can be reminded of the trauma without being terrified in the present day.

As part of TF-CBT, the child creates a trauma narrative; a story of their life that includes sharing their traumatic experiences with a trusted adult. The trusted adult is provided with an opportunity to see the trauma through the child’s eyes and gain a better perspective of how the child perceives traumatic experiences and symptoms. The program ends with promoting safety in any areas needed, as well as a celebration/graduation. The non-offending parent/caregiver is a large part of the healing process and can learn all the skills their child is learning to better implement outside of session, as well as decrease their own trauma symptoms and increase coping skills.

A Healing Story

A Masters-level intern shared this meaningful story of a 6-year-old client they helped during their internship. The client had been a witness to domestic violence in the home and as a result, they struggled both in the school and home setting with emotional dysregulation and environmental stressors. In turn, the child began to have difficulty with their peers, family, and friends. At the start of therapy, the child was reluctant to share their story, but by developing rapport and creating a safe and supportive space, they were able to start their healing journey. In the course of eight months while utilizing the TF-CBT model, the client learned, explored, and developed strategies to cope with emotions, trauma reminders, and relationships. The child graduated therapy with confidence and pride in themselves that they applied to all aspects of their life.

Resilience Services Amid COVID-19

Resilience program offices are closed until May 4, 2020, but they are still supporting survivors through other means. Case management and therapy services are now available by phone or video chat. For children’s therapy this may now look like the therapist working more with the parent/caregiver as we understand telecommunication may be more difficult for children. All in-person support groups are cancelled, but they are offering one online support group currently. The current GOTR season has also been postponed. Their 24-hour help line, emergency shelter, and sexual assault forensic exam programs continue uninterrupted.

Free and confidential support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence is available 24 hours a day by calling the Resilience Help Line – English: 1.800.848.5991 – Español: 1.866.728.2131 – or reaching our via email at ginnyp411@gmail.com.

For more information about Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence’s services for children, visit their website.