This 10-week course (15-20 hours), guided by the memoir/self-help book Awakening Blackout Girl, is designed to facilitate participants’ healing from addiction and sexual trauma. This course is open to adult survivors of any historical sexual trauma/trespass as defined by the survivor, who has sought relief from the impact of trauma through substance use and is not a gender-specific course. This course will be co-facilitated by author Jennifer Storm, who is a survivor in long-term recovery with over 20 years of victim’s services experience both running a comprehensive victim service agency and as the appointed Victim Advocate for the Commonwealth of PA. The course will provide participants an understanding of trauma and victimization, and the related tendency toward the use of substances to cope with these experiences. The course guides participants to identify the personal impact of trauma in their lives and its influence on current relationships with themselves and others. Topics addressed and explored within this course include recognizing triggers, learning healthy coping strategies, establishing prevention plans, and securing resources for long-term support and growth.
Participants will begin to peel back the layers of their own experiences in a safe and emotionally supportive environment while learning to develop new tools for coping with past trauma and managing current stressors. Participants will be encouraged to meet specific objectives to advance their healing, including:
- Opening up and engaging in the process of examining personal traumatic experiences
- Identifying specific behaviors that stem from past trauma
- Committing to establishing new and healthy coping mechanisms.
This curriculum is intended to be delivered in-person to maximize participation, however, can be delivered virtually if circumstances require it.
- Gain a basic understanding of the impact of trauma.
- Identify past experiences of trauma and recognize its influence on present relationships with self and others.
- Recognize trauma triggers and tendency to seek relief through negative coping patterns.
- Begin to understand the role of honesty, shame, humility, and vulnerability as it applies to changing behaviors.
- Identify intentional and unintentional acts of self-harm and begin to establish a sense of self-worth.
- Analyze the role substances play for those impacted by trauma and ways substances are intentionally or unintentionally used as a way to cope with past traumatic experiences.
- Explore and practice new healthy coping mechanisms.
- Participants will be individuals identified by the agency as ready and emotionally stabilized enough to enter into a group setting.
- Participants do not need to be substance use free. While there will be a group rule of no active use while in the physical group, this course is operating under the harm reduction theory of meeting participants exactly where they are at without judgement of their use and with the reality that they may and will continue to use during and after this course. While this course will attempt to guide participants towards safer coping mechanisms, the course will be affirming at all times.
- Participants can be referred into the course from other therapists, counseling staff and outside entities.
- Participants should go through a screening to ensure willingness and appropriateness. This course is not designed at this time for court mandated or court appointed individuals.
- Participants must have a desire to change coping mechanisms and learn new tools.
- No more than 10-12 participants in a group at a time to encourage a small enough group to facilitate trust and learning.
Ms. Storm will be offering this course in-person and virtually and is also available to provide materials and a train the trainer model so agencies and programs can facilitate the program.