Group counselling provides opportunities for people to explore what they want in their relationship with their partner. We study what has prevented us from having the type of relationship we want and ways to move away from abuse and towards respect. Group provides a friendly and supportive environment to share experiences and stories. When you feel ready, you will have the opportunity to share your story.
Our groups are generally made up of 10-12 people and meet during the evenings from 5:30 – 7:30 pm). Groups run once a week for 16 weeks.
A concluding part of our group for men who have used abuse and/or violence is to explore ways to heal and repair relationships. We talk about how men can take responsibility for healing and repair by apologizing to the person they have abused. The men write a composite letter of apology, using their own words, to see how they might apologize for having used abuse and/or violence in their relationship with their partner. Through this discussion, the men explore the components of a meaningful apology and practice putting an apology into their own words.
The following is an example of a letter of apology written by the men in a recent group at New Start Counselling:
“I am writing to you because I feel I let you down. I was sharp with you, I cut you off, and insulted you by swearing at you. I am taking responsibility for my actions. I know how much my actions hurt you because I sense you feel insecure in our relationship. I am taking responsibility by going to group and trying to change and better myself. I am learning new skills to help alleviate situations. If abuse happens, I will take responsibility and deal with it in a better manner. My intention is to treat you respectfully in the present and future. I am promising not to swear at you again.”
“For him to say he was responsible took a lot. Him owning up to what he did has taken a lot of stress off me. It has reduced my fear. I don’t have the hatred for him now. I’m sleeping better. I’m eating now.”
“After 47 years, he finally said he was responsible and stopped blaming me. Now he can deal with issues by himself. I no longer walk on egg shells. I no longer feel trapped. It means freedom for me.”
“He is more patient with the children. We have in-depth conversations now.”
The collages below were created as part of a women's support group. Women were asked to find images they were drawn to and to bring the images together to represent part of what is important to them in their lives.