Counselling is a vital part of the long-term support we provide at the Snowdrop Project. One-to-one counselling, offers those who are ready to begin discussing their past, with in-depth, trauma-focused counselling. Whilst our group counselling focuses on symptom management and relaxation techniques, for those who aren’t ready to discuss past experiences.
This April, we have started our third counselling group! The aim of these sessions, is to provide survivors with the opportunity to listen to information on a range of topics including: anxiety, help with sleep, low mood and how to manage symptoms of trauma. In the first half of the group, Eila and Bernie, or counsellors, give the women information on each topic and then provide suggestions of exercise or techniques they can practise at home to help. For example, relaxation and breathing techniques are taught to help women relax, relieve any tension in their muscles and take their mind off the symptoms or thoughts they may be experiencing.
“There is counselling in group. It is very nice, because, you know, it’s all women together which is relaxing. We drink coffee together and share our problems… it is very nice.”
Snowdrop client who attended the group in November 2017
This group is intended to be a welcoming and safe space for women to learn different techniques and meet other women who may be experiencing some of the same physical symptoms. Hearing from others who are facing similar challenges can be a reassuring for the group and lets the women know, they are not on their own and what they are facing is a normal bodily response to trauma.
After the last group in November 2017, ⅔ of the attendees reported they experienced recovery from their symptoms and the others showed reliable improvement. Although the group does not focus on in-depth trauma, it has seen great outcomes for the women involved.
Many survivors are unable to access therapeutic support due to their limited English, or issues with childcare – we aim to address both barriers. By providing professional interpreters for those who need them and by providing trained activity volunteers to play with and entertain children during counselling. Being able to address both barriers means that survivors have meaningful and practical access to a desperately needed service that would be otherwise unattainable to them.
The majority of clients referred for counselling speak either English or Albanian; therefore, we tailored our April-May counselling group to these languages. We provide an Albanian interpreter to translate the information as the counsellors give it and all the information sheets are in both languages, for clients to take away and practice the things they have learnt.
We hope the new group finds the information and techniques useful and we see more survivors experience recovery from their symptoms relating to trauma.