What can I expect?
What’s the aim of the course?
The aim of this group is to provide a safe environment for sharing feelings and discussing the past. It is a discussion group and not a counselling course. Abortion is a complex problem that takes a long time to work through, but our experience is that most will find healing and peace as they work their way through it.
Why a group course and not one to one?
With something as personal as abortion, people often assume that one to one counselling would be better than a group. The people who have come on the course tell us that the opposite is true; that a group has been the most effective and best place for them to process this issue. They tell us that the pooling of experiences as well as the shared common ground really helps them make progress towards healing and that, as the weeks go by, the group becomes a powerful support network and source of shared strength. They say that being in the group:
- Breaks isolation,
- Provides encouragement from other group members,
- Allows you to identify with others’ stories to help recall long-buried details and memories.
Who comes on the course?
The course is for women only. All sorts of women come on the course; women of all ages and from all walks of life. Generally there will be five or six guests and (depending on numbers) three or four leaders and helpers. Our course is for Christians only and people from any denomination or church tradition are welcome. We recommend that you come on the course even if you feel unsure about your faith. We will not judge you. We seek to welcome you into a warm, loving group with God’s grace in Christ. Even if you feel far from God at the moment, come as you are now.
What about confidentiality?
We understand the need for absolute confidentiality. Only the course administrator and the leader of each course will have your contact details and these will be deleted afterwards. The venue of the course is only given to those who have registered.
What happens on the first evening?
We meet on a weekday evening. A meal or light refreshment will be served so please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements. The first evening is intentionally low key. We will introduce ourselves to you and tell you a bit about the course. There is some administration to do and we will then have a short group discussion and a brief time of prayer together.
What happens on the rest of the course?
We follow a structured programme. Each week there will be a short talk at the beginning the session, and a group discussion afterwards followed by a time of prayer. During the course we will be looking at different themes that helps guests unpack issues from the past in an encouraging, non-judgmental and gentle way. We are fully aware of the many sensitivities around this subject. Guests can process as much as they wish at their own speed and will never be asked to explore anything they do not wish to face or think about.
One woman who came on the course said each session was like ‘joining the dots of a numbered puzzle’. The more dots that were joined, the clearer the picture became.
There are three important practical points to make you aware of before you join the course:
- There is a task to complete between the sessions, which will take about one hour each week. It is not difficult and there is not a great deal of writing. This task is a vital part of the course and helps you get the most out of it.
- One of the sessions takes place all day on a Saturday. This is the most important part of the course. About 50% of the benefit of the course comes from attending this day so please do not sign up for the course unless you are able to commit to this Saturday session.
- It is important that the abortion was more than one year before the start of the course. This is because we have found that after an abortion, many women shut down at some deep emotional level for between 12 and 18 months and at less than one year find difficulty engaging with the course. Please see the FAQ section if the abortion was less than one year ago.