Keyword Search: in
Group Therapy for Adults Abused As Children
View article disclaimer and terms
Tags: group therapy, adults abused as children

This article has been viewed 3374 times.
Ask us a Question
Email Address
Code ^



Group therapy can be the most nurturing and also the most challenging form of therapy.  It is highly effective.  While it doesn’t replace individual therapy, it can be a great adjunct and a final step in the healing process.

 Group therapy is very relevant for survivors of childhood abuse and in fact for any traumatized individual.  Isolation and separation from communal support is a primary characteristic of trauma, and that is exactly what group therapy provides. Enduring recovery cannot occur in isolation, it can only take place within the context of relationships.  The group serves as a symbolic societal witness to each victim’s experience, as it is retold and relived in the group process.  Fundamental societal functions – being made to feel safe and seen, sharing emotional distress, validating one’s experience, minimizing shame, recognizing and encouraging strengths and taking personal responsibility are now played out within the group interaction.  The successful group environment provides a corrective emotional experience in which past dynamics of self-blame, lack of trust, and silencing of the victim will be evoked and then worked through.  These groups offer a quality of support and understanding that is simply not available in the survivor’s regular social environment.

 Learning that one is not alone or hopelessly defective is of prime importance in the recovery process, and it is facilitated by a high degree of similarity between group participants.  There are two kinds of groups for trauma victims - the homogenous group and the heterogeneous group.  The former provides the most similar types of participants (i.e. female rape victims); the latter provides a strong connection of shared emotional experience among different types of individuals and different types of trauma.  I lead a heterogeneous group.  It is composed of both females and males, young and old, who have experienced any type of childhood abuse (sexual, physical, emotional).  

 Judith Herman, in her seminal book, “Trauma and Recovery”, proposes a three-stage model of recovery from trauma – first safety, then remembrance/mourning, and finally reconnection.  She recommends individual therapy for the first stage, homogeneous group therapy for the second stage and heterogeneous group therapy for the third stage.  It is my belief that you can accomplish the first two stages in individual therapy and then move on to a heterogeneous group for the third stage. 

 Over the years we have had group members with various personality disorders, personality types and different operational defense systems.  By personality disorders I am referring to diagnoses such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dissociative Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, etc.  By personality types and operational defense system I mean the way in which people interact, communicate and react to others – outgoing, shy, aggressive, pleaser, perpetual victim, passive- aggressive, splitting, projective identification, etc.  What is important about these differences is that the outside world is also composed of these types of people and behaviors - and more.  The group allows for “trying out” different approaches to being effective and finding one’s voice in the world. Group therapy affords members the opportunity to see how they affect others and how others perceive them without the fear of negative consequences.  While group members are supporting each other in the healing process, they are also helping each other become the people they want to be. That is the empowerment of the survivor.

 “The restoration of a sense of connection to others that comes with increased trust and communication with self and others is the greatest gift therapy can bring to someone in despair.” (Herman, 1992)  Group therapy offers that gift.

By Roni Weisberg-Ross LMFT
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.


Biography: I am a psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of sexual abuse emotional abuse chronic depression and relationship issues

(Total : 15)
Sort by Title A-Z
Sort by Title Z-A
Adult Bullies
Adult Depression and Childhood Abuse
Attachment Issues In Couples therapy
Couples Therapy With Trauma and Abuse Survivors
Elder Abuse, Alzheimer’s and Our Aging Population
Emotional Abuse - What it is and why it is so important to recognize
Facets of Personality and Dissociation
Group Therapy for Adults Abused As Children
Helping Adults Abused As Children (Sexual Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Physical Abuse)
MOTHER LOVE Female Abusers
Ritualized Sexual Abuse
Sibling Abuse - Children Abusing Other Children
The Secrets Our Bodies Hold
Treating Abuse and Trauma

Contact Form

Please use this form to contact Roni Weisberg-Ross LMFT
** This form is intended for those with genuine enquiries/questions.

Company (if any)
  To avoid misuse and spamming, please enter the verification code, shown below, to send your message. Thank you
if you can't read the image text to load another one.
Enter Code

Disclaimer and Terms. This article is the opinion of the author. WorldwideHealth.com makes no claims regarding this information. WorldwideHealth.com recommends that all medical conditions should be treated by a physician competent in treating that particular condition. WorldwideHealth.com takes no responsibility for customers choosing to treat themselves. Your use of this information is at your own risk. Your use of this information is governed by WWH terms and conditions.