A counseling support group for those who have experienced abuse and the impact of trauma
Led by Melissa Affolter: Content & Green Site Coordinator, Fieldstone Counselor
ReStoried speaks into the trauma responses that those who have experienced abuse may sense in their lives, offering a counselor-led group context for processing. Before each meeting participants can engage with 30 minutes of pre-recorded content. Then each month the group will meet for a live 60-minute group discussion with the counselor facilitating. While there are distinct ways that different forms of abuse impact us depending on the type of abuse, all forms of abuse impact how we view ourselves, God, and the world around us. In ReStoried, we seek to address a handful of abuse dynamics, whether the abuse was physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, or spiritual.
- Recognizing impact by learning more about how we have processed what has happened to us.
- Affirming “normal responses to abnormal circumstances and events.”
- Using appropriate descriptors and increasing our vocabulary to name what we experienced.
- Considering the whole person by noticing and honoring who God has created us to be, how abuse has distorted our perception of those things, and how we can grow in our experience of relief and recovery.
- Processing what it means to enter into community with others again, particularly when community has harmed us by ignoring, minimizing, or otherwise dismissing our experiences of abuse.
We are offering two ReStoried groups this fall. Both groups will meet for live online discussion via Zoom one time per month for 8 months. Participants will receive a recorded content video to watch prior to monthly discussion times.
Group A option: Tuesday evenings from 7-8:15 pm EST (Dates: 9/20, 10/18, 11/15, 12/13, 1/17, 2/21, 3/21, 4/18)
Group B option: Thursday mornings from 10-11:15 am EST (10/6, 11/3, 12/1, 1/5, 2/2, 3/2, 4/6, 5/4)
Cost: $275 per person
Participants: The ReStoried model is intended for a particular season in the life of the person who has experienced abuse and/or the impact of trauma. These groups are not intended for those who want to learn more about abuse or trauma, or how to help those who have experienced abuse.
Who are Restoried groups for?
Melissa has developed the ReStoried content from a Christ-centered theological framework and clinically informed perspective, giving careful consideration to the varieties of backgrounds represented in the groups. Instruction and group discussion seeks to honor the dignity of participants as embodied souls in need of a whole-person approach to care.
The ReStoried model is intended for a particular season in the life of the person who has experienced abuse and/or the impact of trauma. These groups are not intended for those who want to learn more about abuse or trauma, or how to help those who have experienced abuse. The groups are not for engaging in "talk therapy" with no real objectives in sight, obtaining help to flee an abusive relationship, or finding specialized therapeutic treatments.
ReStoried facilitators and counselors do not provide clinical diagnoses to group participants, nor do they offer specific guidance related to medical or legal aspects of participant situations. Group facilitators are not resourced to offer assistance with acute trauma or crisis needs.
What are the technical requirements and time commitment?
Unless attending an in-person offering of ReStoried, participants will need access to a device with audio and video capability from which they can access Zoom. We also utilize Google Classrooms for sharing pre-discussion video content links, suggested resources, and offering additional space to connect with one another.
In order to foster a shared commitment to community within the group, participants commit to be present for a minimum of 8 out of the 10 live discussion times. All participants are also required to watch a 30-minute recorded video prior to the live discussion meeting. There are no refunds of fees for absences or dropping out of the group.
ReStoried participants commit to safeguard healthy community by listening carefully and contributing as they are comfortable. We guard the safety of our space by honoring the boundaries of other group members. Participants are required to affirm these specific commitments on the ReStoried Commitment Form, which outlines related privacy and liability issues.
Melissa Affolter has served in various aspects of counseling and discipleship ministries for nearly twenty years in the local church.
"We were all thankful for the respectful distance the screen allowed us and yet so anxious to understand and be understood. Ten women. All carrying such deep wounds for so long. Most of us were not young, and life had not been kind. Gentle testimonies. Tearful recitations of seasons of deep, complex pain.
And so much Jesus. Each of us, hanging to the hem of his robe praying it would be enough to sustain, to heal, to bring hope when the cost had already been so high.
Then the moments of shared reality — "You too? You have that scar too? Oh dear Jesus, thank you. I thought something was wrong with me. I had no idea. Will you pray for me? Can I pray for you?” The relief of being loved and known in the darkest parts of who we had become to survive. The work was sometimes exhausting and difficult, but walking with broken company brought a comfort hard to explain.
The voice of our counselor would echo The Counselor: “We must learn to lament and have joy in the same body, the same soul, often within the same hour. He created your spirit with emotions and a memory that can both bend and break with pain. Bring it all to him, but know that you don’t have to bring it alone. I’ll go with you.”
Please don’t let me go, Jesus. I’m too scared to dare hope for healing. Even the darkness is not dark to you.
The demons still nip at my heels. The anxiety still overwhelms me. My energy is often drained and my mind still engages memories my body struggles to forget. But the unrelenting fear is slowly melting under the heat of truth, a community of believers, the tenderness of an authentic love, and the unwavering strength of my children. And mostly the Love of Jesus that I had always struggled to understand without a mountain of effort preceding it. I will always fight, wondering if I am enough. But now I know to ask — enough for whom? His answer is always unwavering: "You are known, you are loved, you are my daughter, and I will not let go." I am such a long way from home, but it is quieter, more restful, and I increasingly hear His voice speak louder than the painful noise of life.
And the voice of my counselor echoes The Counselor: “Healing is hard work. There will be days of great release and days when you will fight the bondage. But you will not be alone. You will not be despised on the hard days or exalted on the good days. You will simply be loved all the way through. You are an image bearer of our good and gracious King. You are safe. You belong. You are loved.
Jesus, please hold my fragile faith. Be who you say you are. Make my life a steady and gentle reflection of your unrelenting love for me. Even the darkness is not dark to you. I want to walk in the light."