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 10 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 (Kohkom), an Auntie, a SACE staff therapist, and an Indigenous student 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:
Opening Circle 1: Pipe ceremony, introductions & creating safe space
Spiritual: Moving Forward
Closing Circle 10: Healing & hope
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.
Kohkom Ruth Cardinal de Ubiera
Ruth Cardinal de Ubiera is a First Nations woman from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and has lived in Edmonton for 25 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 43 years. She has worked 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.
Lori Inkster is Otipemisiwak from the Red River Settlement in Manitoba. She has more than 25 years experience as a birth worker and supporting families with a relative on a journey back to the spirit world. In her current role as cultural helper, auntie and mentor with Kihew awasis wakamik cultural society, Lori provides wrap around support to Indigenous families during times of transition from birth through end of physical life, and supports reawakening knowledge of how to support family or community members during those times of transition. She currently co-leads the Kistehitah kimeskanām/honour your journey/road moccasin making project started in response to the identification of children’s graves at former Indian Residential School sites. Her traditional knowledge is learned from Elders, kokums, Knowledge Keepers and aunties. Lori resides in Amiskwacîwâskahikan close to her two grown children.
Dakota Joslin is Tsimshian from Lax Kw’alaams (in British Columbia) with European heritage, and was born and raised in Edmonton. She has a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Psychology and Sociology from MacEwan University and is currently completing her Master of Counselling at the City University of Seattle. As the granddaughter of a survivor of residential schools, Dakota grew up learning pieces of Cree culture and has recently begun returning to her home community on the coast each summer to learn more of her Tsimshian culture. Dakota is passionate about equity and justice for all, including all expressions of ethnicity, faith, gender, and sexual orientation. In the future, she hopes to practice animal-assisted therapy with trauma survivors and Indigenous clients.
Sarah Jane Marshall
Sarah Jane Marshall is a non-Indigenous ally providing clinical and administrative support to the facilitation of the Wiwip’son Healing Circle. Sarah Jane has been an Adult Therapist with SACE for approximately two years and is experienced with group facilitation. She holds a Master of Counselling degree from Athabasca University and a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Calgary, and is registered as a Canadian Certified Counsellor. Sarah Jane has lived across Canada, and spent eight years in a rural northern community where she learned with and worked with folks from various Indigenous communities and backgrounds. Sarah Jane brings a gentle and compassionate approach to her work and believes in creating connection and community to support healing and growth.
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.
Sitting in Solidarity
Runs once per week for 9 weeks
Who It’s For
Adult women (trans-inclusive) who have completed court in the criminal justice system for their experiences of sexual violence and need a safe space to process and heal from that journey.
Did you recently attend criminal court as a sexual violence survivor and found the experience painful, and wondering “now what?” Alternatively, greater closure and support are needed beyond what court could provide.
This closed therapeutic group is specifically intended for those who have completed court in the last five years to explore how the court process affected them and seek community and connection from others who have similar experiences.
Group will be facilitated by trained and qualified staff who are familiar with the court system. The structure will include lecture, experimental activities, group sharing, and psychoeducation around sexual violence, trauma, and the impacts of the criminal justice system. All group sessions will be in person.
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: