When a Survivor experiences many layers of abuse, it can have a profound impact on their mental health. That's why WIT has begun offering therapeutic services as another level of support for our clients.
Philadelphia is home to a few organizations that provide therapy specialists for children who have witnessed domestic violence, and there are therapists focused specifically on sexual assault, but we heard from our clients that they wanted to continue services here at WIT, where they already felt safe.
Therapy is often the next step for individuals facing layers of trauma after a domestic violence situation. WIT's existing counseling services and Peer Support Groups help with crisis intervention, safety planning, and immediate action plans. Building on these services, therapy can help clients with mental health challenges and the root causes of their trauma.
Stephanie was already a counseling client at WIT when her counselor referred her to WIT's therapy services. WIT had already helped her get out of crisis mode: she and her 6-month old son were finally stable, living in permanent housing that WIT had helped her obtain. "After a few months of counseling and healing, I wanted to get down to the nitty gritty, the internal stuff, and deal with the actual trauma," says Stephanie.
WIT's strength-based, trauma-informed service was exactly what Stephanie needed. She continues, "At first it was kind of scary, but it was so worth it and so rewarding. I'm really proud of the progress I've made so far, in such a short amount of time, not just in healing the trauma but in understanding why this happened, really just going deep down to the core."
Psychoeducation (providing patients with information about the causes, treatments, and progress of their mental health challenges) is key to the program. This empowers clients with knowledge of their personal triggers, coping abilities, and strengths. WIT's therapist Keya Middleton explains, "It's not your old-school 'lay on the couch' therapy; it's much more collaborative. Clients receive information on how to support and maintain their own emotional health and overall well-being."
Keya continues, "The goal of WIT's therapeutic services is for our clients to find their own inner strength, and gain the tools to eventually be their own therapists when it comes to domestic violence and trauma." Stephanie is a testament to this goal; she says, "therapy was imperative in my healing process...I found better ways to self care, to process, and my perspective on my life is changed. The best thing I know is that I'm going to be a better mother [to my son]."
We're proud to be a place where our clients can continue their healing.