The trauma experienced by girls coming into the program can often be seen through low self-esteem, poor physical and emotional boundaries, self-blame and trust issues. Bethesda has found that group and individual therapy is helpful in lessening the stigma of abuse and assists in the healing process. Bethesda has helped hundreds of girls overcome the effects of trauma caused by sexual abuse.
In group sessions, girls are grouped by their age, usually in two-year increments (e.g. 6 and 7 year olds). The interaction with one another in a group setting helps increase self-esteem, decreases shame and guilt and helps the girls gain strength through each other. The program utilizes several therapeutic models, including: play (for younger victims), art, music, movies, journaling and creative writing. The group works to integrate healthy boundaries (both physical and emotional) into their lives. As trust is built, the girls are free to express feelings, fears, goals and explore the possibilities in healing. The girls leave the group equipped with assertive skills and a strong self-protection plan for their future. Girls may also be seen individually in order to address their individual needs, challenges and personal progress.
Bethesda’s Girls Program creates a very powerful sisterhood. Girls, coming from many backgrounds, are able to form a bond and lend support for each other. As they heal through the program, they become leaders and change from victim to survivor to “thriver”.