Group Psychotherapy for Girls

R.I.S.E.

(Respect. Inspiration. Self-Esteem. Empowerment)

A Group Psychotherapy Program for Adolescent Girls, age 12 – 18, who have experienced or been affected by sexual abuse.

R.I.S.E. is a 16 week program, in which participants meet once weekly for 2 hours, inclusive of one full-day retreat. (Typically, Wednesdays, 4pm – 6pm).

The general goal of the project is to promote positive personal and social development through recovery from the effects of sex abuse trauma, and the conflicts surrounding it. This is to be achieved in a supportive, validating and safe, therapeutic environment.

While grounded in the psychodynamic psychotherapy group tradition, in which the focus is entirely on the participants and their needs as they arise in the moment, our wholistic approach also includes a psycho-educational component, and ecopsychology. That is, in the course of the 16 week program, a medical doctor will present on issues of sexual and reproductive health, a social-justice lawyer will present on navigating the court system during a rape trial, a nutritionist will present on the relationship between eating habits and self esteem, and so on. The project also includes art therapy, yoga, and excursions into the marine-protected coastlands of the island.

R.I.S.E. also provides individual psychotherapy sessions for the mothers or female guardians of participants, who themselves may be struggling with issues of inter-generational abuse within their families.

The program provides transportation costs, refreshment, referrals to medical services, and baby-sitting expenses for those participants who have children as a consequence of their abuse. (Note that children are not permitted to accompany participants to group).

Participants are referred to the Foundation through our formal partnerships with local agencies – the Child Protection Authority, the Programme for Adolescent Mothers, and GRENCODA. Participants may however be referred by friends and family, or may refer themselves. A full intake process and interview would ensue in either case. A maximum of 10 participants are accepted in any one cycle.

The Sweet Water Foundation is partnered with the University of Huddersfield, UK, and with the University of the West Indies, Trinidad, in this program. Together, they are responsible for making sure that all ethical protocols are in place; that pre and post tests are conducted, and that program assessments and evaluations are robust.

We are grateful to the Alpine Project, Trinidad and Tobago, for financing Project RISE.

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