The peer facilitator: Cat herders?
Although the responsibilities and tasks for managing a project and facilitating groups are dissimilar, without well-honed skills, facilitating groups can feel like herding cats. The commercial humorously depicts attempts to control or organize often chaotic entities. Sexual betrayal trauma-partner groups are never intentionally chaotic. And yet... I frequently hear heartbreaking reports from partners seeking support and help but experienced emotional and spiritual wounding while participating in an unsafe partner group.
Creating and sustaining safe groups requires an informed understanding of sexual trauma’s multidimensional impact, the betrayal trauma healing/recovery journey, potential range of dissimilarities and needs among participants, plus the knowledge and usage of peer facilitator skills in guiding the group experience.
The ADOH learning objectives
I’m often asked what’s covered during training sessions. Starting with this post, and during the following eight weeks I’ll bring some thoughts ADOH alumni shared while completing their peer facilitator certification process.
Kristin Cary, co-founder Living Truth Ministries, wrote this when describing her response to Module 1: The Value of Peer Facilitator Training's Learning Objective
Participants will a) describe why ADOH facilitator training is significant for both them and the women who become part of their groups, b) the importance of assessing their readiness to facilitate partner groups, and c) identify goals and action steps post training.
"Obviously, you know I find your training EXTREMELY important and valuable since I brought you to Indianapolis in February 2018 to train my leaders and continually send women rising up as leaders to do your online training!!! It’s unique because it doesn’t require a woman to become a professional to be able to effectively help other partners! Readiness to lead involves being in a stable place, having processed much of their mourning and remembrance work as well. In general, a year past the initial crisis (provided it’s not a year full of more crises) can be a good starting point to assess whether a woman is ready to assist with leading. I look for emotional and psychological health, continued resourcefulness to continue their own healing, and someone who will not over-spirituaize or give pat answers. I’m far more inclined to have a leader who oozes love and empathy than one who knows everything about 'the answers'.
What I hoped to accomplish with the ADOH training was truly accomplished: having more leaders who are better equipped to handle the crises inherent to partner work and to maintain healthy balance and self-care through the inevitable rigors and triggers of leading a partner group."
Alumni voices: Module One learning objective
“Because we have experienced the same trauma as group participants, we are able to connect with them in a way that a non-traumatize professional generally is not able to. Additionally, our own path of healing can serve as an example that growth and forward movement are possible. This training gives us the tools, knowledge, and awareness to assess our readiness to take this work on in order to support this type of growth in others.”
Cindy Bajema, Naked Truth Project Wholehearted
“It honors the process of trauma pain and varying paths that it can lead down.. This training supports the healing which connection to safe people can bring. Assessing readiness to lead involves probing the stage of healing that the potential leader is in and their self-awareness of where they are… Using coping strategies, support,, community, and self-care we can have the tools to recover healthy ground when the carpet is pulled out or life stress triggers, and partner behavior sets us back.” Julie St. Onge, New England Coaching Services
“It equips me with the knowledge and skills to have a trauma sensitive/informed approach first in my own recovery and in supporting other women. It provides very clear, precise, and organized material that can be referenced readily and easily. It puts a focus on my own self care as a priority which helps me to be a better and safer facilitator for other partners of betrayal trauma.” Vickie S, Arkansas
“It is so very important for a peer facilitator to seek out the healing she needs herself before jumping into the role. We must not be ‘unhealed wounders’. The support group setting is extremely healing because partners can find a safe space to share (sometimes for the first time) they can create connections, and provide accountability and be guided in the healing process. As a peer facilitator, I have to know my limits, ask people to speak into my life, and help me recognize if I am taking on too much. I have to be sure of my principles and values, as well as the direction I want a group to go in.” Jana V, Canada
"I'm interested in joining this training.
What should I do now?"
The next ADOH training begins Wednesday, September 23. The training includes attending 11 two-hour sessions, read and complete exercises in the accompanying workbook between sessions, and actively engage during the sessions.
The cost of the training is $200.
All applicants complete the "Interest Survey", are interviewed, and complete an application. Spaces are limited.
If you are considering joining the September training, click here, complete the Interest Survey, and I will contact you to schedule an interview.