Shepherd's Counseling Services Programs
There is an immense need for services that provide specialized support for survivors of sexual abuse to heal. The number of children sexually abused before 18 is estimated to be 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006) An estimated 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse currently live in the United States.
Left untreated, the burden of past abuse causes great harm to survivors and the community. It tears at the fabric of relationships and can lead to loneliness, isolation, self-blame, self-harm, chronic PTSD, or more visible struggles with poverty, homelessness, significant health difficulties, and substance abuse.
Shepherd’s helps individuals heal from the effects of abuse, so that they become more able to create safety for themselves and for those in their care. Individuals, families and communities become safer and stronger as the effects of abuse decrease and quality of life significantly increases.
Each client receives therapy provided by a Master's level, licensed therapist with specialized knowledge, experience, and advanced training in working with adults who were sexually abused in their childhood years.
The support of individual donors empowers survivors who are struggling financially to access Shepherd's services, helping them heal from the life-altering effects of childhood sexual abuse and realize new opportunities for safety, stability and fulfillment in their lives.
Shepherd's Counseling Services specializes in providing long-term individual and group therapy to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. We also provide a unique partner support group for adults who are in a relationship with a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
Shepherd’s continues to lead the way in raising awareness about childhood sexual abuse through its inspiring Turn the Light On event and activities. The 2012 Turn the Light On event featured musicians, guest speakers, and a light show. By bringing the community together and speaking out, Shepherd’s is working to create a safe, supportive environment for our communities.
Advocacy and Education
Shepherd’s serves as a community resource by providing trusted opinions and expert information to local media, hosting professional development workshops and consultations for health professionals, and giving presentations to the general public. We believe that increased awareness and information will help prevent more children from suffering sexual abuse and will create a greater community of support for adult survivors.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2012, Shepherd’s provided specialized therapy services to 71 men and 101 women. In addition to offering individual therapy sessions, Shepherd’s led seven 21-week therapy groups for men, four 21-week therapy groups for women, and one ongoing therapy group for partners of survivors. 47% of Shepherd’s clients received financial assistance. As the story of one such client illustrates, Shepherd’s helps survivors reclaim a sense of trust and hopefulness in their lives:
Camille* drove around the block four times on her initial appointment at Shepherd's. Each week, as Camille walked up to the door, her heart would race with anxiety. And each week, as her therapist opened the door to greet her, Camille began to breathe a little easier.
Through the weeks of therapy sessions, Camille's painful story surfaced. Many quiet minutes passed each session as Camille tearfully stared down at the pattern on the carpet, waiting to gather the courage to say the words describing the repeated abuse from her step-father. "This is the hardest thing I've ever done, but it feels so important to be able to tell someone my terrible secret. . . I know that once I'm here, I'm safe in this place and in this room."
As Camille worked through the pain and betrayal of abuse, her depression and fear of trusting others began to lift: "From the beginning, it was very helpful to know that there was this place only for adults who have been sexually abused. . . And now, I realize that I'm coming to have this place of safety in my life that I've never had before - not ever."
*Name and identifying information have been altered to protect identity
Shepherd's Counseling Services is currently accepting board of directors membership applications from people with a passion for our mission and a desire to inform others and involve people in their community with our cause.
We would also love to hear from people who would like to be involved in event planning and publicity to increase the benefit and reach of the Turn the Light On projects.