Posts Tagged ‘therapy’

Support Groups Offered at RCASA

In Therapy on June 14, 2012 at 11:22 am


RCASA offers a variety of support groups for survivors of sexual violence. Click on the links below to learn more about each group.


Teen Support Group

Walk-in Informational Group

Women’s Group


If you are interested in any of these groups or are in need of any of our services please call our office Monday through Friday between 9 AM and 5 PM at 540-371-6771 or our hotline (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year) at 540-371-1666.


RCASA Therapy Thursday – The Danger of Avoidance

In Therapy, Trauma on May 17, 2012 at 6:36 am

Nallor, Bunting, and Vazdarjanova (2011) suggest that traumatic experiences can lead individuals to develop phobias and PTSD, but that generally only about a fourth of the population goes on to develop diagnosable anxiety disorders. This is not to say that individuals do not experience symptoms after a trauma. Many trauma survivors will experience symptoms such as hyperarousal, nightmares, changes in self-esteem, changes in sleep, etc. Sherin and Nemeroff (2011) explain that the amygdala, which processes our emotions, becomes hyper alert after a trauma contributing to many of the symptoms noted earlier. However, survivors who are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder experience these symptoms for a prolonged period of time and the symptoms begin to interfere with their functioning in different areas of their life including occupationally and socially. So, what is the difference between individuals who go on to develop PTSD or another anxiety disorder and those who are more resilient?


Research is still being completed in this area. Littleton, Axsom, and Grills-Taquechel (2011) completed a study following the Virginia Tech Shooting on the relationship between distress and how individuals coped with trauma. The researchers found that psychological distress was directly related to attempting to avoid thoughts and feelings surrounding the trauma. Interestingly, the researchers noted that the distress was greater at a year than it had been at the six month follow-up. Avoidance strategies may initially appear beneficial to the person but over time appear to produce more distress. Pineles, Mostoufi, Ready, Street, Griffin, and Resick (2011) also suggest that avoiding the trauma can interfere with the natural healing process for a person who reacts strongly to trauma reminders by inhibiting the processing of the memories. Why did I share all of this information with you? I want to invite you to learn more about RCASA’s counseling services either for yourself if needed or to tell others about it who may be in need. Counseling can assist individuals in processing the trauma of sexual assault in a safe environment, hopefully before a diagnosis of social phobia or PTSD. Avoidance of the trauma may feel better in the beginning but studies have shown that avoidance leads to danger in the future by delaying the healing process and increasing distress. Please do not avoid the trauma, but have the courage to give us a call as we are always here to support you when you are ready.


Works Cited


Nallor, Rebecca, Bunting, Kristopher, and Vazdarjanova, Almira. (2011). Predicting Impaired Extinction of Traumatic Memory and Elevated Startle Response. Plos One, 6(5) Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3097191/?tool=pubmed  


Pineles, Suzanne L., Mostoufi, Sheeva M., Ready, C.B., Street, Amy E., Griffin, Michael G., and Resick, Patricia A. (2011). Trauma Reactivity, Avoidant Coping, and PTSD Symptoms: A Moderating Relationship? National Institute of Health 120(1) Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3336155/?tool=pubmed


Sherin, Jonathan E. and Nemeroff, Charles B. (2011). Post-traumatic stress disorder: impact of psychological trauma. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 13(3) Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182008/?tool=pubmed

Therapy Thursday: Male Survivor Support Group

In Sexual Assault Awareness, Therapy on November 11, 2010 at 10:02 am

Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault will be offering a support group for male survivors of sexual violence begining in January 2011.  This is a challening group to get started as many men are not even aware that crisis centers offer support for them.  We want to make men aware that RCASA offers support to male survivors as well. 

  • Research suggests that most men are victimized as children; 71% of male victims were raped before the age of 18 (Tjaden and Thoennes, 2006).
  • It has also been reported that 33% of men have been raped in their lifetime (Tjaden and Thoennes, 2006).
  • Male survivors report challenges with dating relationships and are less willing to get married (Larson, Holman and Feinauer, 2007).
  • Male survivors report higher levels of suicidal thoughts comapared to female survivors (Struckman-Johnson and Struckman-Johnson, 2006)

These statistics are essential to keep in mind especially in why it is important to offer sexual violence services for both genders.

RCASA’s Therapy Thursday: Therapy is…

In Education, Therapy on August 26, 2010 at 8:30 am

“I have learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”                          – Maya Angelou

Therapy is no longer that dirty word or the dark horse of the healthcare arena. Regular sessions with a mental health professional are proving to be as important to one’s overall health as regular visits to one’s primary care doctor. Therapy, while often thought of as that place one goes following a trauma or years of victimization to be  “healed and made whole again,” can be so much more. Therapy is tool that we can use to help enrich our lives through the personal growth and learning that develops based on an insightful journey nurtured by the counselor and guided by client. During this journey, strengths are empowered, challenges are addressed and overcome, skills are gained, and an alliance is built. Therapy can be a renewal, a resolve, or a reprieve depending on the concerns that one needs met. Therapy is not limited to the confines of mental illness or trauma. Choosing therapy as an option is a big step, one that takes tremendous courage and strength. The intimacy of disclosing our inner most thoughts and feelings to another human being can be intimidating and overwhelming. While therapy comes with no “silver lining” guarantee, therapy is a useful modality to help individuals overcome barriers and challenges presented by personal difficulties and in acquiring new skills, new behaviors, and new attitudes that will help them be more capable of solving problems on their own.

Therapy Thursday: New Support Groups and Workshops at RCASA

In Sexual Assault Awareness, Therapy on July 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Summer seems to be in full swing but we are still working hard here at RCASA to provide the community with Support and Information related to Sexual Violence and the issues that can arise after a traumatic event.

On Thursday July 29th RCASA will be launching  new groups for the community. All groups and Workshops are FREE!

The first is an Educational Group focusing on Sexual Violence Advocacy.  The purpose will be to provide basic information about Sexual Violence and services in the community that Victims may utilize. This group will occur on the 2nd and 4th thursday of each month. The first meeting, Thursday July 29th, will focus on the services we offer here at RCASA. Anyone interested can contact our office at 757.371.6771 for detailed information about the time and future meeting dates.

The second new group we will be offering is a Healthy Relationships Workshop for Young Women. The group is for young women 14 to 18 years old. It is an interactive workshop that will help young women learn about and identify healthy vs unhealthy relathipships as well as understand the warning signs for abusive relatinships. The workshop will be held over two sessions; July 29th from 1pm to 330 pm, and July 30th from 4pm to 630pm. Light refresments will be offered. Please RVSP to Stephanie Lane 540.371.6771  if you or your teen would like to attend.

We will be offering another Workshop in August for Young Women, focusing on Risk Reduction and Identifying Coersion. The group is  for young women 14 to 18 years old and will be in an interactive format. The workshop will be held over two sessions; August 12th from 1pm to 330 pm, and August 13th from 4pm to 630pm. Light refresments will be offered. Please RVSP to Stephanie Lane 540.371.6771  if you or your teen would like to attend.

We will Continue to offer the following Weekly Support Groups:

Womens Stabilization Group: Women 18 and older, Monday’s 630- 730pm

Secondary Survivors Group: Family or Spouse of Assult or Abuse Survivors, Sundays 3pm-4pm

RCASA is Located at 2601 Princess Anne Street  Suite 102, Fredericksburg 22401. Main Office Phone:540.371.6771. Counseling Office Phone 540.371.5502.

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