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Groups

Group work

We are proud to offer a range of groups here at Pathway Project.

Click the drop down boxes below to learn more about each of our groups available.

Group leader: Lynn Laughton

The Reaching Out group is one of Pathway’s longest running groups (previously Self Help). It was developed by our founder Kathy Coe MBE, and over the years we have adapted it in line with changes to current guidelines.

But the fundamentals remain – supporting each other!

Each session has a theme:

Session 1 asks “What am I doing here?” A good question! This session is about allowing us to build relationships within the group and to feel comfortable in our surroundings. This is the session where we introduce ourselves to each other and set our boundaries for the group. People come from many different backgrounds, not everyone will share your thoughts etc. By setting our boundaries, we are all having a say in what is acceptable and what isn’t. It also allows people to explore the reason they have decided to join the group. It isn’t easy to walk through the door that first day, but hopefully you soon start to feel you have made the right choice. Understandably, it is a difficult subject, but along the way, you do find humour, which we all need.

Sessions 2 and 3 look at what the abuse has done to you and why people choose to be abusive. This is based on some information we provide in our workbooks, but most of it comes from you. There is nothing more powerful than a group of women with something to say! Your individual stories will help someone else to understand a little more of their own situations. Being given the chance to talk to someone who may just understand how they feel can be a very powerful tool. There will also be times when you identify with each other and your experiences will have similarities however we acknowledge that your experience is individual to you.

Session 4 looks at why it is so difficult to leave. How many times have you heard someone say “just leave”, “take the kids and go”. Where to? How? Why should I leave? Living with abuse isn’t easy, people say things with well-meaning intentions but they’re not you. They don’t have to think about where you are going to live and how are you going to survive. Then guilt sets in! This session answers some of these questions but raises others!

Session 5 looks at how we can prevent ourselves getting into the same situation in the future. The truth is none of us can see into the future, we don’t know what’s going to happen but with a little bit of knowledge we can plan our futures in a safer way. At this point in the course you will have discussed what you would do differently in the future, you will have an understanding of domestic abuse, you will have an understanding of triggers, you’re rights, and the support that is available to you. By this point you will also hopefully be feeling stronger and more confident to make informed decisions.

Session 6 is all about you. Where do you go from here? What do you want for your future? For a lot of people living with abuse, the decision-making was taken away from them and it can be quite challenging to accept that you have the right to make choices! This session is about looking forward, having your support networks around you, and above all staying safe.

The programme runs over 6 weeks, with each session being 2 hours long, and is run on the same day each week so there is consistency and enables people with children to make arrangements for their children to be safely looked after.
The group is currently run by me, Lynn. I have been part of Pathway for nearly 20 years as a support worker and manager, both in refuge and outreach. Also facilitating the group is Sarah; she has been with Pathway for a number of years in a volunteer capacity and has also been instrumental in making changes to the pack to keep it current. Between us we hope to offer a good, safe and supported environment for our service users.

Please note, this group is run for female only attendees, however, if you are a male survivor and would like to see something similar run for males, we would love to hear from you. Give us your thoughts and ideas and help us to make it happen.

Group leader: Ann Finucane

The JSD programme is usually towards the end of the cycle of group work. The earlier groups concentrate on recognising domestic abuse and building Mental Health which are part of the rehabilitation programme in the Pathway following domestic abuse.

JSD is a six-week exploration of self-discovery in making new self-insights/awareness. This enables the individual to look at self-honouring their needs, building a self-care plan and understand self-compassion and its uses in rebuilding the self.

It works at the core of change and empowers us to make authentic decisions and choices going forward. Over the weeks new realisations emerge bringing knowledge and confidence to look at life differently. It empowers us to shred the victim mentality finding a renewed way of being present in our life.

One of the struggles in life after domestic abuse is learning to trust our own judgements, as we are living in the shadow of maybe what we perceive as our mistakes. A natural permission to trust our gut instinct evolves in this work. This group helps you to find self-trust again which enables you to make choices that are true to your needs.

We identify the roles anxiety and depression has on our lives. We learn that not one size fits all, and just how personal our journeys are in these debilitating states. There is tremendous insight made in the unravelling of people’s different experiences. There is often a palliative relief in the group in distinguishing between anxiety and depression. Learning that anxiety can be managed brings hope and confidence to face the future differently.

In more of the work we take a deep look at how the Mind works and learn how we can change our realities by changing old thinking patterns that do not serve us well. We talk about reframing our thoughts which will ultimately affect our behaviours, realities, and outcomes.

This group encourages self-reflection, in a safe and honourable setting. It is a shared experience with the real power in being heard from the inside out.

The Journey of Self-Discovery is a program specifically written in the search for meaning in suffering with a motivation to heal.

Group leader: Charlie 

The wellbeing workshop is a 6 week program that focuses on mental health. The group is purposely kept to low numbers to make sure that it isn’t to over whelming for those attending.

Everyone attending the group will have their own experience of abuse and mental health, which you are welcome to share with the others in the group but there won’t be any expectation of this if you don’t want to.

Each session runs for 2 hours, the group is very informal and friendly and there is always time for a cup of tea and a biscuit. The group uses many different activities to understand mental health and discover coping strategies.

The focus of this group is:
> To gain an understanding of your own mental health
> To learn new coping strategies
> To be able to openly talk about your mental Health
> To use the 5 steps to mental health tool kit
> To understand healthy eating and how this effects your mental health
> To understand the different types of domestic abuse and how these effect your mental health
> To know what other support is out there/ sign post to other groups

This group helps you to understand that mental health is something that we all have and there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Some of us will have more struggles then others, but talking about this and getting support can really help, as well as mixing with others that have been through similar experiences and facing the same challenges.

Here at the pathway project you will be met with a welcoming non-judgemental safe place to help you with your very own unique and personal journey to recovery.

Group leader: Mel B

The Art group is a seven week programme that aims to teach the use of visual art as a ‘tool’ to explore thoughts, feelings, and emotions surrounding domestic abuse. Not to be confused with a traditional art class; this group doesn’t teach you to draw (or require you to have any technical abilities); instead the focus centres on the meaning and story behind your creation. Art anxiety is common as we are trained to appreciate art by its technical beauty and taught to recreate the styles of others, rather than to express ourselves freely and use art for our own healing purposes. Don’t worry – we will work through this together. We have a wide variety of art materials in which to freely explore your creativity and begin to develop your own unique style and tell your story in your own way. Each week brings with it a new activity which covers different themes, such as, ‘The hand exercise’: each hand represents the past and future – “Where have you been and where would you like to go?”. Or, “Freedom Collage”: where we consider having our right to choose taken away from us and how to begin to reclaim this in some way. Each week we ‘check-in’ and reflect on the previous session before introducing the next activity; this is then followed by an hour of art accompanied by relaxing music, then an hour of group discussion before popping the kettle on and winding down before the session closes. The group is a safe and non-judgemental space whereby we acknowledge our shared (but unique) experience of abuse and respect each member’s right to share (or not) as a matter of personal choice. The group also benefits from psychoeducation where we discuss all different types of abuse, how the brain works in response to trauma, why we may become stuck in the same thought patterns and the bond between empathy and narcissism (and so on…). Each group is as different as its members, as such, different questions arise organically; and (in my experience) it is especially beneficial to consider not just why we found ourselves abused, but to also attempt to understand (not condone) the behaviour of the abuser too. In short- this is an open space whereby you can ask any questions you may have at your own pace and comfort. Finally, we bid farewell to one another by creating a group piece that reflects upon our overall experience of the previous six sessions and consider if you would like further support. At this point we discuss the other support services offered by pathway and it is up to you if / how you would like to continue your healing journey with us.

Through my own recovery journey and knowledge of the psychology behind abuse and trauma it is my aim to bring understanding and self-compassion to aid you in your own journey from surviving to thriving. To unlock some of your creative potential and provide you with an outlet you may find useful in moments where you need to self-soothe. In essence this is more than art; it is a way of communicating with, reconnecting with and understanding your own inner world. This may be of particular use to you if you find it difficult to talk about your experiences out loud or naming the emotions, thoughts and feelings surrounding them. No matter where you are in your journey, you are welcome to come and try the group and see if it works for you and create some powerful and beautiful art in the process.