Guest Author - Kelli Deister
When child abuse has been recognized, it is important to allow the child a safe place which rests in neutrality. There are agencies within our communities that are available and offer support through a group setting with other victims of child abuse. Most support groups have a person called a facilitator. They help guide the meetings and support their clients emotionally. Facilitators are an important part of the childís healing process. Keep in mind that many victims of abuse have not told anyone the horrors of the abuse they endured. Yet, when they do tell someone, it is often the facilitator of the support group they are involved with.
I believe that a facilitator of a support group for children has been given the privilege of being a part of the childís healing process. Children are innocent and when their innocence is lost due to the harshness of domestic violence, they will find a friend in the facilitator of their support group. It is very difficult for an abused child to begin to share their tragic secrets of the abuse they endured. However, once trust has been established between the facilitator and the child, healing can begin.
Anytime a child attends a facilitated support group, they have bravely given that facilitator their trust. The trust issue is extremely difficult for the child. All who attend a support group most likely attend due to some degree of trust issues. However, from the moment someone steps into the facilitated group session, they have courageously made the decision to trust that facilitator.
Child abuse victims trust the facilitator to respect them through acceptance of their feelings, thoughts, emotions, and opinions. They trust their facilitator to accept them, regardless of what they share in the group. They trust the facilitator to listen to them without judgment, condemnation, or critical behaviors and words. They trust that when they place their foot through that door, they can take their armor off and be just as they are. They trust that the facilitator is there because they care about the child and their struggles. The child trusts that the facilitator knows the way out of the pit of confusion.
How can a facilitator help to build upon that trust which the individual child gives? The Child isnít trusting the agency of the facilitator, but the individual facilitator directly. The most important factor for the facilitator to remember is that as a facilitator, they will need to gain the trust of the child. No facilitator can expect the child to trust them on the merits of the organization they represent. Neither can the facilitator expect them to trust them on the merits of any previous facilitator. Each individual facilitator must establish trust with the members of the support group.