This session aims, among other things, to create a warm, safe and welcoming environment for everyone attending, and ensure that everyone has a good understanding of their basic rights as women.
This session develops an understanding of domestic violence as an issue of power and control, involving sexual, emotional, financial and physical abuse, which is solely the responsibility of the perpetrator. Participants will be encouraged to build trust in the group so that they feel comfortable about sharing their stories.
In this session, participants will look at the complex reasons why women find it hard to leave abusive relationships, and analyse how women’s place in society contributes to these difficulties. The Duluth ‘Power and Control’ Wheel model of abuse will be introduced.
Participants will be helped to connect emotional patterns that may be learned in childhood to difficulties in constructing healthy adult relationships, and will also learn some practical ways of supporting children experiencing domestic abuse.
The aims of this session include: defining boundaries, identifying potential situations in which boundaries could be challenged, looking at positive ways of asserting boundaries (and the potential dangers in this), and understanding the link between the lack of clear, healthy boundaries and domestic abuse.
Participants will be helped in acknowledging, understanding, and learning to manage the feelings of grief, fear, guilt and anxiety that accompany abusive relationships.
Participants will start to realise that anger is a natural emotion, understand the potential dangers in unresolved anger, and learn how to manage angry emotions constructively.
In this session, participants will gain a better understanding of assertiveness (including the difference between assertiveness and aggression), discuss the ‘Bill of Rights’, and learn how to maintain safety while being assertive. Participants will begin to learn practical ways of being assertive. These issues may be addressed either in one session, or in two, depending on the time available and the needs of the women in the group.
Following on from previous sessions, participants will gain a better understanding of why it is difficult to make and refuse requests, learn how to make and refuse requests, and to deal assertively with authority figures. This session may be combined with Session 10.
This session will continue to build the participants’ confidence in using assertiveness skills, and will help them identify and overcome the stumbling blocks they may face when being assertive. This session and the preceding one may, if appropriate, be combined into one session.
The aims of this session are to identify the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships, distinguish between healthy and unhealthy forms of conflict, and gain an understanding of the lack of realism in stereotypical representations of romantic love.
The final session will recap what has been learnt in the course, celebrate how far the women have come, recognise individual strengths, and accept the ending of the course while anticipating new beginnings.