The group I attend is called We@ving Our V0ices. I am being all cryptic on purpose to protect privacy. It is a free, open group that any woman can attend who has experienced abuse or trauma. Because of the huge waiting list to get into counselling the facilitators decided to have an open group to “focus on building knowledge, sharing wisdom and strengthening support through a cycle of topics that encourage awareness rather than disclosure of personal trauma stories. The group format provides a high level of safety and containment to support the development of safety, stability and healing for women affected by violence. By remaining open it allows for changing as well as continuing membership.”
The format used is basically the same each week. There are four questions using the similar wording and only the topic word is changed. For example, last week the topic was Judgement. The first question was, “what comes to mind when you hear the word judgement?” The floor is open and women are encouraged to share their experience or knowledge. If a woman does not want to talk, that is okay. Each bullet is a thought from a woman in the group. We talk about each bullet, sometimes at length. This last week there were 9 of us plus 2 facilitators.
The next question.
And this one,
And then the last question,
We talk for an hour then take a break then do an art project. You have to know, I am not at all artistic but that’s not the point. It’s about sitting and thoughtfully thinking about the topic and words and how we feel about them. The topic of Judgement led me to the thought of Heart Centered Judgment. About how I and we as women need to judge ourselves with loving kindness, gentleness, wisdom, mindfulness, authenticity, caring, courage and compassion.
When judging ourselves we need to dig deeper, to really get to the real answer. For example, when I am angry I want to go deeper to understand why I am angry and not judge myself about the anger. Anyway, I won’t go into why I chose each word. I just did and they have meaning to me.
I now have a big box full of my art projects. I look at them when I am struggling.
This group is powerful and has helped me so much. We have women from all different backgrounds and we help each other. I have never felt judged, only loved and accepted.