Healing in the Community

Recentre was born from my personal experience of healing in the community. As a childhood sexual abuse survivor, I had the opportunity of learning about a program when I was 40 years old.

It was a residen? al program with other trauma survivors. They had all types of trauma including grief, chronic pain from accidents, being held at gunpoint, domes?c violence, and other childhood traumas. We also came into the program with different ways to manage and cope. There were people of all ages, genders and cultures who were sobering up from an alcohol or drug addic?on, those who were going through horrific divorces, workaholics (like me) and others who couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. It showed up in depression, anxiety and like me, those who were high func?oning, white knuckling and having their trauma sneak up on us, slowly. By the ?me we gathered in the rooms together, we all had one thing in common, we were suffering, and our trauma was making our life unmanageable.

I was 40 and although I went to counselling sporadically, it wasn’t un?l I began to heal with others who had their own traumas that I could begin to forgive myself, learn from others, understand that my behaviours were not uncommon, have others to talk to who could just listen and then say, “me to”.

The benefits of healing in community are plen?ful. You have the ability to speak your truth in a place that is safe and non-judgmental. You can hear someone provide feedback to you on what they heard you say and observe your emo?ons. You hear a person say back to you, “that must have been awful” when you yourself, say it wasn’t that bad. For many reasons, those of us who have suffered through trauma, can’t see or don’t want to admit out loud that what happened to us was awful and not normal.

Recentre provides residen?al programmes that consist of virtual groups and then in person residen?al programmes for 5 days. Although each person works on their individual experiences it is the collec?ve support and love given to them, that helps expedite the healing. Addi?onally, as we all heal differently the benefits of healing in a residen?al with mul?ple interven?ons allow each of us to go at our own pace and our own experiences while also being completely supported.

There is so much evidence about healing in community. Our work is grounded in the six pillars of trauma informed care. We incorporate Hermans three stages of trauma recovery and how different levels of Trauma Recovery groups fit into that. The goals of any group are to create a safe, stable, place where individuals can begin to increase their self-esteem and prac?ce their newfound skills. While psychotherapy is important, combining it with group support is most beneficial for healing as it allows for people to work on rela?onship dynamics.

The evidence suggests that individuals can experience levels of the following aRributes while healing in a group:

  • Levels the Playing Field where there is oVen a power differen?al with psychotherapy alone.
  • Supports Daily Func?oning (Helps create structure to get up and show up to group)
  • Reduces Trauma Avoidance and learn how to talk about trauma.
  • Develop a sense of agency and illicit competence, pride, compassion, empathy, sense of belonging and sense of self.
  • Helps expand an individual’s Window of Tolerance/Capacity

It may or may not have been coincidence that I fell in love with a man from Northern Ireland, one of the most trauma?sed countries in the world. I thought this is perfect, there isn’t anything like

Recentre in NI, the wai?ng lists are horrendous, and people are suffering. The challenge of course is, many people in NI can’t recognize the trauma, or have the ability to see that we deserve to thrive and not just survive.

The amazing experience of healing in community is our own community (family, friend, colleagues) heal with it. We start breaking cycles. As we change, others change, it is inevitable. We also start telling others how they can get support and share tools that have worked for us. Recentre’ s mission is to change the narra?ve around trauma and ensure everyone knows there are ways to get support.

We do this by educa?ng others on what it means to be trauma informed and how to apply it to their specific organisa?on or their own personal circumstances. We can offer bespoke training to organisa?ons, therapists, social workers, emergency response, police officers, the courts, chari?es, doctors, nurses, teachers, etc. We also can offer groups in the community or workplace to further that support. The more we can share what we have experienced, the more support the en?re community will start to feel and the more healing we will have as a country.

It takes a community to heal community. And our team at Recentre are honoured and excited to see how we can help expand our collec?ve experiences within the Ac?on Trauma community to help in healing the Island of Ireland. Because when we know beRer, we absolutely have the ability to do beRer.

We hope you will reach out to us to collaborate and work together in how we can heal our communi?es and our country.

Holly Perreault, CTRC Founder and CEO Recentre Limited


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