Counseling, Support Groups, and Services

Counseling

The purpose of the treatment is to create a safe relationship where the victim survivor can work with the professional to lessen unwanted emotional and destructive impulses; and work toward improving their ability to cope with their life today.

Support Groups

The professionally led groups for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse aim to provide victims-survivors opportunities to connect with others who are also on a road towards healing.

Family Support

The Office of Assistance Ministry recognizes that childhood sexual abuse impacts the family too. The Family Support Groups offer family members an opportunity to share their experience with others and learn new skills for coping with the needs of the victim -survivor and themselves.

Spirituality

For many victims-survivors, the sexual abuse affected/ ruined their spiritual life. However, many victims-survivors continue to seek spiritual meaning and direction in their lives. The office maintains a list of qualified spiritual directors who are available to help victims-survivors to grieve their spiritual losses as they re-examine its role in their life today.

Prayer and Reflection

The Office of Assistance Ministry has sponsored periodic retreats and days of reflection for victims-survivors. The purpose of these is to bring together adults who have been sexually abused by clergy as minors so they can share their experiences with one another, work towards healing, and identify sources of positive support in a group setting.

Meeting with Archdiocesan Leadership

At the appropriate time in a victims-survivor’s healing, the office can arrange a private meeting with the Cardinal. This affords the victim-survivor the chance to share his or her story while providing the cardinal an opportunity to listen emphatically. The intended purpose of this meeting is to offer some emotional and spiritual healing.

The Office of Assistance Ministry offers the following programs to honor its mission to victims-survivors of sexual abuse and their loved ones. We have coordinated with other professionals to provide psychological, emotional, and spiritual healing. Due to space limitations, first priority will be given to those who have not participated in past programs offered through Assistance Ministry in the past. For more detailed information, call (312) 534-8256.

Workshops

The Archdiocesan Office of Assistance Ministry offers half-day workshop for family members of victims-survivors of childhood sexual abuse. For more information and to register, call (312) 534-8256.

Victims/Survivors Resources

PTSD
If you are an adult victim/survivor of childhood sexual abuse, it is possible that you may have experienced Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD has four types of symptoms: reliving the event, avoiding situations that remind you of the event; feeling numb and feeling keyed up. If you would like to learn more or take a PTSD screen, visit the National Center for PTSD.

Treatments
Counseling and medication are the two main types of treatment for PTSD. However not all counseling has been proven equally effective. According the National Center for PTSD, the evidence based research supports the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as the most effective treatment. This typically involves meeting with your therapist once a week for 3-6 months.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a CBT in which you learn skills to better understand how a trauma changed your thoughts and feelings. It will help you identify trauma related thoughts and change them so they are less distressing. Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy is a CBT in which you talk about your trauma repeatedly until the memories are no longer upsetting. To learn more about PTSD, treatments, research and get the PTSD coach application, visit www.ptsd.va.gov .