Staff Support Group Member:

The facilitators have done an excellent job in providing counseling to many if not all of the staff members in our division.  Personally, I must admit that at first I was not too crazy about going to the Wellness Group.  I was skeptical and didn’t feel comfortable talking about my issues and frustrations at the work place.  But S. and G. (the therapists) won me over, since I have been attending the meetings I have felt much more relaxed and I look forward to attending every Thursday meeting.  These meetings have helped me both professionally and personally and I see the difference everyday.

Group Members:

My daughter, 7, and I often had the most meaningful conversations after group. They clearly stemmed from group topics. I know she is internalizing your messages, when I hear the following kind of response.  I recently told her about 2 boys, ages 8 and 10, whose father died unexpectedly at the age of 37.  I asked her what advice she would give them since she had been through the same situation.  She very naturally replied that she would say, “Sometimes life is unfair, but you are strong and you can get through it.  Some days will be bad but you can still have fun and be happy.

It provided a place of peace and laughter and a forum to come together as one, to support each other, voice our opinions, and share ways of coping and handling “life after.” It helped me to handle crises when they arise and gave me different venues to approach hard situations.

First Responders:

This weekend was wonderful.  My husband & I have erected walls around us & this was a giant step towards knocking them down.  It won’t be easy but thank you for giving us tools that we can use.

Thank you for this opportunity!  My husband and I definitely grew from our experiences here.  Couples counseling is extremely important when dealing with the recent trauma we’ve experienced.  We all need to support our family unit!

Group Leaders:

The leaders of a group of 5-year-olds reported that it was easy to tell which children had participated in previous GOALs groups by their energy, enthusiasm and willingness to talk. Their behavior served as an example to other members and greatly facilitated group process. One activity that seemed really effective was “The Trading Post.” Each member was given a rock to symbolize a heavy feeling they are holding onto that they would like to trade for something nice. They took turns trading their rocks for a prize (a pencil); one girl traded sadness, another shyness, while the boys traded in feelings of madness, sadness, and being miserable.   The leaders of the 5 year old group were also affected by the group process, and one wrote, “I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am to be a part of this wonderful experience.  Knowing that I can work with these families and possibly make a difference in the lives of these children is more than rewarding. I am so grateful for this enriching and fulfilling opportunity.”

At a Family Assistance Center we had spontaneous group meetings (as opposed to organized meetings).  This occurred in the cafeteria as staff came in to eat a meal, get a snack or just sit away from the work activity.  My co-facilitator and I initiated conversation with staff on a one-to-one basis.  Although there was a posted notice of our presence, no one took advantage of our services.  However, as we spoke to staff informally, it was clear that they needed to talk and we organized a group on the spot.  The need for venting, sharing, and connecting was helpful and therapeutic.  Staff, once invited to share, spoke openly about their secondary trauma and frustrations.  The discussion evolved to what they found rewarding about the work for which they felt so ill prepared.  It was comforting for staff to share commonalities, to have their feelings validated and to learn many staff felt the same way.  Normalizing their reactions and feelings was relieving.  We also provided psycho-ed information re the effects of trauma as well as offered techniques for coping.

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