Adult Therapeutic Groups
Group counselling is designed for clients who have already accessed individual counselling, typically at SACE. For more information about individual counselling at SACE and what to expect from counselling at SACE in general, please visit our adult counselling page.
Groups are not offered in a drop-in format. All groups require registration so that we can manage numbers, and ensure clients will benefit from group. Our varied counselling groups are offered as demand allows, with some groups occurring more frequently than others. Groups are held based on sufficient registration, and once a group session has reached its maximum number of participants, individuals who have not yet completed an intake will have to wait until the next group session to join.
Regular adult group counselling programs are listed below. Additional programming may be offered depending on capacity and demand.
SASS (Sexual Assault Survivors Support)
Runs once per week for 8 -10 weeks
Who It’s For
Adult women (trans-inclusive) who have experienced sexual assault as adults
SASS is a closed therapeutic group for adult women who have experienced sexual assault as adults. The group is designed to provide support, build community and reduce isolation. This group can be condensed to run in 8 weeks and run as long as 10 weeks depending on the needs of the group. Where demand is sufficient an intermediate “part two” series may be held for participants who previously benefited from the group.
ASHA (Adult Survivors Healing from Abuse)
Runs once per week for 9-10 weeks
Who It’s For
Adult women (trans-inclusive) who have experienced sexual abuse in childhood
ASHA is a closed therapeutic group for adult women (trans-inclusive) who have experienced sexual abuse in childhood. In order to participate in this group, individuals need to have completed individual counselling. This group offers counselling clients the opportunity to continue their therapeutic process in a group setting. Each week focuses on a topic addressing the impacts of sexual violence.
The first part of the group is spent exploring the topic of the week, and the second half is spent engaging in open circle. Open circle offers participants the space to express how they feel or understand the topic of the evening, or to share about experiences occurring in their day to day lives. This group can be condensed to run in 8 weeks and run as long as 10 weeks depending on the needs of the group.
Runs once per week for 10-11 weeks
Who It’s For
Men (trans-inclusive) who have experienced sexual abuse and/or assault, as children or as adults.
The SACE Men’s Group is a closed therapeutic group for men who have experienced sexual abuse or assault, as children and/or as adults, and who have already accessed individual counselling support. The group is designed to further healing by building community and decreasing shame and isolation. Each week focuses on a topic addressing the impacts of sexual violence.
The first half of each group is dedicated to check-in and administrative items, the weekly topic, and an associated exercise, and after a break the second half is reserved for an open circle to connect and share with other men about trauma-related experiences, as well as a soothing nervous system activity and check-out activity.
Wîwîp’son Healing from Sexual Trauma Circle for Indigenous Women
Runs once per week for 8 weeks
Who It’s For
Indigenous women (trans-inclusive) who have experienced sexual abuse and/or assault, as children or as adults.
This closed therapeutic group for Indigenous women works to create a safe space to give voice to experiences of sexual abuse or assault, and to feel validated by the experiences of others in their communities. The group was developed in recognition that the experiences of Indigenous women are unique, and processing trauma from sexual assault or abuse needs to involve education about the bigger picture of colonialism and its inter-relationship with sexual violence.
The group’s format includes exposure or introduction to traditional teachings and ceremony, as well as education about trauma and its effect on the brain and body. It also covers skills to self-regulate triggers, and aims to reduce shame, and build self-confidence and self-esteem.
The program commences with an in-house pipe ceremony, and ends with an optional sweat. The group is co-facilitated by an Elder (Kookum) and an Indigenous psychologist/therapist.
Each session begins with a smudge and prayer, and includes an educational component and cultural teaching. A healthy hot meal is provided. In line with the holistic teachings of the four aspects of self, each session and the whole group itself are structured in a way that honours this view of healing.
The four phases of the group are:
Spiritual: Moving Forward
The circle closes with a trip to Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation for a sweat for those who choose to attend, with transportation support.
For more on the meaning and connections of this name, visit our Wîwîp’son page.
Kookum Ruth Cardinal de Ubiera
Ruth Cardinal de Ubiera is a First Nations woman from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and has lived in Edmonton for 22 years. She has a degree in Social Work from the University of Calgary and has worked in the areas of addiction and mental health with Indigenous peoples for 40 years. Currently she is in the position of Elder at Buffalo Sage Wellness House, a halfway house for federally sentenced Indigenous women. She is a ceremonialist of traditional Indigenous culture and is knowledgeable about Cree Natural Law.
Gwendolyn Villebrun is Dene/Métis originally from the Northwest Territories, but has lived most of her life here in Edmonton. She has been a registered psychologist since 2005, serving predominately First Nation families and those impacted by the Indian Residential Schools. She is presently a PhD Candidate in the counselling psychology program at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on Indigenous women’s embodied experiences of intergenerational trauma and their reclamation of identities. Gwendolyn works from a trauma-informed perspective and is a certified Hakomi therapist, which is a mindful, body-centered approach.
Lori Calkins is Otipemisiwak from the Red River Settlement in Manitoba. She is an Indigenous Cultural Birth Helper supporting Indigenous families through pregnancy, birth, the postpartum experience and beyond. First trained as a doula more than 20 years ago, Lori has in recent years been on a journey of cultural reclamation, learning from elders, kokums, knowledge keepers and aunties. She works collaboratively with other birth workers through Indigenous Birth of Alberta to provide trauma-informed, inclusive support for families with a complex variety of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, practical, social and cultural needs. Her broad knowledge of reproductive health ranges from harm reduction, pregnancy and addictions to grief, loss, healing and end of life care.
Runs once per week for 9 weeks
Who It’s For
2SLGBTQIA+ adults of all genders who have experienced sexual abuse and/or assault, as children or as adults.
This closed therapeutic group is for 2SLGBTQIA+ adults who have experienced sexual violence. Participants must have completed individual counselling related to sexual trauma, whether at SACE or with another counsellor or agency. While the program’s main focus is on supporting processing and healing from sexual trauma, it also provides an opportunity for participants to connect with other people from 2SLGBTQIA+ communities to share intersectional experiences around sexual assault and healing.
Youth Therapeutic Groups
Group counselling is designed for clients who have already accessed individual counselling, typically at SACE. For more information about individual counselling at SACE and what to expect from counselling at SACE in general, please visit our child and youth counselling page.
SACE groups are not offered in a drop-in format. Our counselling groups are offered as demand allows, and based on interest expressed by our clients. Groups are held based on sufficient registration, and once a group session has reached its maximum number of participants, individuals who have not yet completed an intake will have to wait until the next group session to join.
SACE currently has one regular group offered for youth, listed below. Additional programming may be offered depending on capacity and interest.
Counselling at SACE is conducted in a confidential manner. Information related to counselling is only released to other professionals with a client’s written permission, with the exception of other counsellors at SACE, and the counsellor’s supervisor. No information, either written or verbal, gained during the counselling process will be used for the purposes of resolving child custody and access disputes. Client files are retained based on current College of Alberta Psychologists guidelines.
Anything you say in a counselling or group session will be considered confidential with the exception of: