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Group Counselling

“I actually looked forward to Wednesdays.”

The Team

Beacon’s Group Facilitators are qualified, experienced counsellors who choose to work with a specific issue in a group setting in addition to general one to one counselling. All Beacon Counsellors are members of a professional body.

Facilitators are aware that for some people, the prospect of group work will be daunting at first. They aim to provide a safe, supportive environment that will enable you to find your voice and explore what is going on for you. The group experience can be highly beneficial when balanced with realistic expectations regarding what is achievable. We can arrange a free one to one appointment, to enable you to find out more before deciding whether group therapy is the way you want to go forward. You may also want time to consider when would be a good time to start.

"The counselling that I have received has helped me to face up to things that I found so difficult to face before. Now I can look forward to the future with more confidence than I had before I came here."


Fact - Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) happens to boys and girls; to children from different cultures and backgrounds; and the abuser is often someone from within the family or known to the child or family.

Fact – There are two types of sexual abuse:
“Contact abuse involves touching activities where an abuser makes physical contact with a child, including penetration.

Non-contact abuse involves non-touching activities, such as grooming, exploitation, persuading children to perform sexual acts over the internet and flashing.” – NSPCC – May 2019


(Link) The NSPCC website provides additional information on types of sexual abuse: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/child-sexual-abuse/#types

Consequences of CSA

Research informs us that the long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse may result in an adult survivor experiencing guilt, anger, shame, self-blame, depression, anxiety, flashbacks, panic attacks, dissociation, low self-esteem, intimacy and relationship difficulties, this list is not exhaustive.

Many survivors have a sense of loss, feel powerless, betrayed, stigmatised, and worthless; they develop trust issues, and frequently avoid other people.

Childhood abuse can predispose some people to self-harm, develop eating disorders, abuse substances such as alcohol or drugs, or contemplate suicide; it can also negatively affect relationships and intimacy.

To keep things in perspective, many survivors function efficiently on a day-to-day basis and some hold high-level roles within society, so there is hope for the future.

Have you ever caught yourself asking?

“Why am I still affected by what happened so long ago?”
“Why me?”
“Was it my fault?”
“Why didn’t I stop it?”
“Why did no-one protect me?”
“Why was I not believed?”
“Who can I trust?”
"Is it too late to report a crime?"
“Can anyone help me?”
“What can I do to move forward?”
“Is it possible to recover?”
“In the words of Carolyn Spring: “Recovery is my best revenge”

How can we help?

Your Facilitators know how important it is for you to feel safe, to feel accepted, listened to, heard, understood and importantly, believed. They aim to support you as you work through what you are experiencing at present. Your work may include revisiting pockets of the past, though this is not a requirement. We encourage you to work within your safe limits. The course includes learning, sharing, connecting, and developing healthy coping strategies that work for you. It’s worth bearing in mind that you are a unique individual with unique life experiences, therefore, what works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa. We will not do anything to you or for you; we are not here to rescue you, you are in control, you decide what and how much you want to share. Together as a group, you will have the opportunity to explore options and possibilities then you decide what is workable for you and what you will do going forward.

Realistically, we cannot wipe out your memories, nor can you, but that does not mean they must continue to dominate your life in a negative way. We can support you as you become more self-aware and consider what you can do (or prefer not to do) with what you learn. It is important to remember, “Childhood sexual abuse was not your fault!”

As a group member, you have the opportunity to learn about yourself, appreciate the amazing person you are, and recognise that you are not alone. It is never too late to start your journey towards healing and reclaiming your life.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is essential in any counselling relationship and especially in a group setting. We take confidentiality very seriously and all group members must sign a standard Beacon contract to endorse his or her commitment to creating a safe and supportive environment. We explain the limits of confidentiality before signing contracts. We will manage all sessions to respect each person's right to privacy and to comply with safeguarding requirements.

Benefits of group

Hope
Individuals are inspired and encouraged by each other

Shared Experience
An opportunity to share experience, reduce isolation, validate experience and increase self-esteem.

Support
By sharing feelings, showing concern and supporting other individuals you can help each other, thereby lifting self-esteem and developing more adaptive coping styles and interpersonal skills.

Self-Awareness
Achieve a greater level of self-awareness through interacting with others

Group Cohesiveness
Where all members achieve a sense of belonging, acceptance and validation

Catharsis
Relief from emotional distress through the expression of emotion

Responsibility
Learning to take responsibility for one's own life and the consequences of one's own decisions


Adapted from Benefits of Group Therapy (2005) by Irvin Yalom (Author and psychotherapist)


"Caring, compassionate, professional, committed, flexible, dedicated. I found the empathy I needed & the guidance I was searching for, I know the answers are still complex but Beacon has meant I was not alone. I have more confidence to rebuild; I can see a starting point. Thank you! "

Our relationship

We believe that the quality of the relationships between Facilitators and Group Members is fundamental to the effectiveness of the counselling process. At Beacon, our counsellors build relationships on a foundation of mutual respect and trust. We offer a safe space where you can speak openly and honestly without fear of judgement. You will be encouraged to talk about how events in the past continue to affect you. At the same time remaining mindful that you are in control and decide what you wish to share and when. Together you can explore what options and possibilities are open to you going forward. The relationship is a professional relationship and will remain so at all times. Meetings will only take place on Beacon premises and all communications between sessions go through the Beacon office.

Who can apply?

You must be 18 years of age or above to join one of our groups. We support individuals experiencing family or relationship issues; however, Beacon does not provide couples counselling or family therapy services.

You must have experienced childhood sexual abuse or be a family member, spouse or partner supporting the person who was abused. Please note that the survivor and their supporter cannot attend the same group. We will ask the supporter to join a later group. Working separately reduces the potential for conflict and increases an individual’s willingness to participate.

Perpetrators cannot attend our SAVS groups.

How do I apply?

To join one of our groups, you can self-refer by calling the Beacon Co-ordinator on 01204 546100 or send an email to enquire@beaconcounselling.org

We will invite you to a free, confidential 50-minute appointment at a mutually convenient time. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions and raise any concerns you may have. If you decide to join group, your start date will depend on your availability and the level of demand for forthcoming groups.
If you decide to opt for one to one counselling, we will provide information on how to access individual therapy. It is important to go with what you feel comfortable with and can commit to on a regular basis. Please note: our counselling groups are closed groups, which means that if you are unavailable for the first two meetings of a course of therapy, you cannot join that group. However, you will have the option to wait for a future group.

Appointments

Group sessions last for 90 minutes and take place at The Bolton Hub, Bold Street, Bolton. BL1 1LS.

A week or two before group counselling starts, we will invite you to an informal Meet and Greet where you can get to know the facilitators, and meet other group members. The meeting provides an opportunity to ask questions, share your concerns and generally pave the way for therapy.

Please contact us for information about Group start dates and frequency of sessions (weekly, fortnightly or a combination of the two).

Cost

Places are free of charge for people who live in Bolton. People from outside of the area are welcome to join us if you are willing to make a donation towards our costs. Donation envelopes are available on site or you can visit our Just Giving Page https://www.justgiving.com/beaconboltoncounselling
We take every opportunity to thank our caring and supportive volunteers. We appreciate the time they give so kindly and generously. For more ways to support Beacon see: Thinking of Volunteering: or Support us Cancelling Appointments

Where known, your Facilitators will inform you well in advance regarding session dates and service closures.

We will only cancel appointments in exceptional circumstances and wherever possible, you will receive 24 hours' notice. Should you be unable to keep an appointment, please contact our Counselling Co-ordinator on 01204 546100 giving 24 hours’ notice wherever possible. Advance notification helps us to provide efficient services.

We have strong supporting evidence that commitment and regular attendance improve outcomes and contribute to a better overall experience.

“Kind, gentle, thought provoking. Helped me to look at things with more clarity.”


Bereaved by Suicide?

Research has shown that people bereaved by suicide have different emotional experiences of grief and a potentially higher risk of poor grief outcomes than other bereaved people do. Those bereaved by suicide commonly experience feelings of rejection, abandonment, blame, anger, helplessness, remorse, guilt, responsibility, stigma, isolation, shame and embarrassment. The need to understand why and the search for the motive of the suicide commonly preoccupy their thoughts. (Lifeline Australia)

Why… Why… Why…? If only… If only… If only…! What if… What if… What if…?

Preoccupation with thoughts and intense emotions are distressing and physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. The police, medical professionals and coroner’s office, will also be involved at a time when you may feel overwhelmed by feelings, or the thoughts going round in your head. In fairness, all of the services aim to help and support you through a time of intense sadness and confusion.

How can we help?

Beacon’s Bereaved by Suicide group offers a structured programme of support for anyone who feels stuck in the grieving process. It is an option you may wish to consider at any time including before, during or after attending a self-help group such as Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SoBS).

We aim to provide a safe, supportive environment that will enable you to speak openly and without fear of judgement. Importantly, everyone in our group is grieving the loss of a loved one whose life ended by suicide. Compassion, respect and confidentiality will prevail at whatever stage you find yourself in your grieving process.
As you work through what you are experiencing at present, and may face in the future, we encourage you to work within your safe limits. This means addressing what you can, when you feel ready and at your own pace. The course includes sharing, learning, connecting, and developing healthy ways of coping that work for you. It’s worth bearing in mind that you are a unique individual with unique life experiences, therefore, what works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa.
The group experience can be highly beneficial when balanced with realistic expectations regarding what is achievable. We can arrange a free one to one appointment, to enable you to find out more before deciding whether group therapy is the way you want to go forward and how soon.

Regular attendance is important because each session will cover a topic that is a common occurrence in the aftermath of suicide.

"I feel that we have made real progress in dealing with my thoughts surrounding my wife’s death. I feel much less responsibility for the situation we found ourselves in and have a more balanced view now."

Group Counselling

Our Bereaved by Suicide Group offers 12 fortnightly sessions of supportive and structured therapy in a small group led by qualified counsellors. Sessions take place at The Bolton Hub in Bolton town centre. Each session lasts for 90 minutes on a scheduled day.

Who can attend the Bereaved by Suicide group?

You must be 18 years of age or above and bereaved by suicide to join one of our groups. Your lost loved one may be a partner, a spouse, a child, a sibling, a parent, a family member or a friend.

We do not offer group work for children and young people under 18. Specialist services such as Winston’s Wish or Papyrus cater for their specific bereavement needs.

Please note that partners, family members and friends cannot attend the same group. We will ask you to consider whose need is the greatest, then between you, consider who will start at the first opportunity and who will defer for a future date. Working separately reduces the potential for conflict and increases an individual’s willingness to participate.

How do I apply?

To join one of our groups, you can self-refer by calling the Beacon Co-ordinator on 01204 546100 or send an email to enquire@beaconcounselling.org

We will invite you to a free, confidential 50-minute appointment at a mutually convenient time. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions and raise any concerns you may have. If you decide to join group, your start date will depend on your availability and the level of demand for forthcoming groups.

What happens next?

Subject to numbers, we will invite you to participate in the next group or add your details to our waiting list for a future date. If group is not right for you at present, you may be referred for individual counselling or signposted to an appropriate self-help group such as SoBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide). It is important to go with something you feel comfortable with and can commit to on a regular basis.

Please note: our counselling groups are closed groups, which means that if you are unavailable for the first two sessions, you cannot join that group. However, you will have the option to wait for a future group.

"Thought your service was very helpful and at times essential, to my wellbeing every little helps and it has certainly helped me."


Appointments

Each group session lasts for 90 minutes and takes place at The Bolton Hub, Bold Street, Bolton BL1 1LS.

A week or two before counselling starts we will invite you to an informal Meet and Greet where you can meet the facilitators and other group members. The meeting provides an opportunity to ask questions, share your concerns and generally pave the way for therapy.

Please contact us for information about Group start dates and frequency of sessions (weekly, fortnightly or a combination of the two).

Cost

Bereaved by Suicide group counselling sessions are free of charge thanks to the generosity of Beacon volunteers and donations from kind people who support our work. If group is your next step, we ask you to commit to regular attendance unless exceptional circumstances arise.
Donation envelopes are available if you wish to contribute towards the cost of running the service. For more ways to support Beacon see: Thinking of Volunteering: Support us or visit our Just Giving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/beaconboltoncounselling

Cancelling Appointments

Where known, your Facilitators will inform you well in advance regarding session dates and service closures.

We will only cancel appointments in exceptional circumstances and wherever possible, you will receive 24 hours' notice. Should you be unable to keep an appointment, please contact our Counselling Co-ordinator on 01204 546100 giving 24 hours’ notice wherever possible. Advance notification helps us to provide efficient services.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is essential in any counselling relationship and especially in a group setting. We take confidentiality very seriously and all group members must sign a standard Beacon contract to endorse his or her commitment to creating a safe and supportive environment. We explain the limits of confidentiality before signing contracts. We will manage all sessions to respect each person's right to privacy and to comply with safeguarding requirements.

"Very positive, supportive I feel I have been listened to, and heard."
Beacon Bolton Counselling Service
The Bolton Hub, Bold Street, Bolton. BL1 1LS
Telephone: 01204 546100
Email: enquire@beaconcounselling.org


Registered Charity: CIO Number 1181596