Specialized trauma counsellors conduct individual counselling for emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse as well as a variety of therapeutic groups each year. This is a free service.
Burnaby Family Life Institute (BFL) believes that violence against women is an abuse of power that stems from our society’s attitude about the roles of women and men. The Violence Against Women Counselling Program uses holistic and feminist approaches, within a trauma therapy model, to support women to heal cognitively, emotionally, physically and sexually.
The counselling program provides services that are specific to women survivors of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse or who have witnessed domestic violence in childhood. The overall goals of therapy are to facilitate a woman’s understanding of her own experience, develop knowledge about the multiple impacts of trauma, and to guide and support her as she begins her process of healing and recovery. The counsellor uses a collaborative approach to therapy, setting goals with clients and assisting them in establishing more positive coping strategies.
Counselling Services has a reserved emergency time for Burnaby women and female youth who have experienced recent abuse. The purpose is to provide immediate support, discuss possible options and provide referrals. Contact the Supervisor of Counselling Services directly at 604-659-2217.
All groups are geared toward women who have experienced sexual abuse. Each group is limited to 10 women and are usually run once per year; therefore, it is important to get your name on a waitlist by calling in advance. Groups are usually 10 weeks in length, except where noted. Priority is given to residents of Burnaby and New Westminster (for childhood sexual abuse); however, if there is space other area residents may attend.
Clients in group therapy may be required to have ongoing access to an individual therapist in order to further explore their unique issues. All prospective participants will be interviewed in person by the facilitator(s) to determine eligibility and readiness for group work. Eligibility: a history of sexual abuse, living in a safe environment, sufficient stabilization and safety if in recovery from substance abuse and 19 years of age or older. Please call 604-659-2200 to be directed to a counsellor for an intake.
Qualified counsellors conduct a variety of psycho-educational and expressive groups each year. All groups are by donation, limited to a maximum of 10 women 19 years of age or older and are usually 10 weeks in length except where noted. All participants will be interviewed in person by the facilitator(s) to determine eligibility and readiness for group work. Eligibility: A history of sexual abuse, living in a safe environment, sufficient stabilization and safety if in recovery from substance abuse. For some groups, participants must also have access to a one-to-one therapist for the duration of their group work. Call 604-659-2200 for more information or to request an intake interview.
Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse (ASSA I-III)
This is a three-level group that runs weekly from September to April/May. Participants are required to commit to all three levels and must have a one-to-one therapist.
ASSA I ASSA Level I is a skill building psycho-educational group for women survivors of childhood sexual abuse. If you want to learn more skills to cope with the effects of abuse, then this 10 session group is for you. This group continues to Level II and is, therefore, a long-term commitment. Some of the topics covered in Level I will include the impacts of abuse, coping strategies, boundaries, managing feelings, grounding and self-care.
ASSA II If you have attended the Level I group for childhood sexual abuse, you will continue on to the Level II group in which you will have an opportunity to tell your story in a safe, supportive environment. This is a process group and continues in Level III.
ASSA III This group is a continuation of Level II. Participants must have completed Level II to be registered in this group.
Eight months; Thursdays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
Discovery and Empowerment: Exploring the Impact of Trauma through Art Therapy
This experiential group will address the impacts of abuse through a creative format. Re-discover yourself, gain skills to cope with the effects of trauma and explore new ways to be empowered.
Day and time to be determined. Please call 604-659-2200 in advance if you are interested in joining this group and would like to come for an intake interview.
Relationships and Sexuality
This group will be open to women who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. Participants must have had some one-to-one sexual abuse counselling or be working with a one-to-one therapist. Sessions will build on participants’ previous knowledge of the impacts of abuse and explore the dynamics of partner relationships, intimacy and sexuality in more detail.
Sessions run for 10 weeks starting in January. Please call 604-659-2200 if you are interested in joining this group and would like to come for an intake interview.
For more information on these programs or our other services, please download our Program Guide.