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CU CARES (Counseling  Advocacy  Referrals  Education  Support) Relationship and Sexual Violence Services

CU CARES is a CAPS program that provides services for survivors of trauma. The program provides both individual and group counseling services by providers specialized in trauma treatment. Interventions are evidenced based and specifically target trauma and its impact.


Interventions address:

  • Psychoeducation about trauma, it’s effects and treatment
  • Stabilization skills
  • Trauma processing
  • Reintegration into the environment
  • Increase social supports
  • Issues with boundaries
  • Referral for psychiatric services if needed

Certified Clinical Trauma Professional seal


Survivors in the CU CARES program will obtain support in several areas including medical, safety issues and legal considerations.


CU CARES services can be initiated in a few different ways:

  1. Come to CAPS CU Now walk-in clinic at Redfern Health Center Monday-Friday during the hours of 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and mention CU CARES
  2. Call CAPS at 864-656-2451 and ask to schedule a CU CARES appointment
  3. Call or come to CAPS otherwise to express need or desire to receive CU CARES services

CU CARES Coordinator/Counselor with female student in an individual therapy session


CU CARES offers individual and group services to help survivors.


Assessment

Survivors will begin by meeting with a counselor in our program for an Individual Assessment. During this assessment, survivors will receive personalized recommendations based on needs. Goals of therapy are created in a collaborative process between the counselor and the client. Therapy will aim to improve common issues that trauma survivors struggle with, such as trust, intimacy, self-esteem and safety. Evidenced-based practices will aim to reduce symptoms commonly experienced by trauma survivors, including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and aim to help survivors reclaim their life.


Individual Therapy

Therapy is a very personal and individual journey to healing.

Things to know before you begin therapy:

  1. It is important to find the right counselor for treatment.
  2. Building a safe space may be difficult.
  3. Counseling is more than sitting and talking for an hour a week.
  4. Coping skills may be difficult to develop and practice.
  5. Reliving the trauma is going to happen, so be prepared.
  6. The five stages of grief are a guideline, not a timeline.
  7. Due to the tiring and exhausting cycling of grief, you may long for the comforts of dissociation or old and ineffective coping practices.
  8. Treatment may become the center of your life as you “regain your footing.”
  9. Treatment may also affect the people around you.
  10. Acceptance of the trauma and abuse are as important as its long-term effects.
  11. Trauma treatment is a long-term commitment, and the time you need to heal depends on you.

Interventions Address:

  • Psychoeducation about trauma, it’s effects and treatment
  • Stabilization skills
  • Trauma processing
  • Reintegration into the environment
  • Increase social supports
  • Issues with boundaries
  • Referral for psychiatric services if needed

Group Therapy

We currently offer two groups to address trauma. Group offerings can change depending on client needs.


Refuge:

Consistent with the Tri-Phase model, this group offers participants an opportunity to build and gain coping skills consistent with Phase 1 of trauma treatment: safety and stabilization. Participants in this group will gain an understanding of trauma and the after effects. In group, students will learn to reduce intense emotions and better regulate emotions prior to Phase 2 work to process trauma memories.


Thrive:

Many survivors feel that all hope for healing is lost; however, recovery is possible. This group offers participants an opportunity for recovery from complex and developmental traumas. It focuses on help from a peer level to not only heal from trauma, but also know you’re not alone in the fight. This group is consistent with Phase 3 treatment goals: reconnection and reclaiming your life.

Treatment for trauma recovery is conducted using the Triphasic model. Three stages of recovery to provide the best and most effective recovery of trauma and its symptoms. Our counselors follow this model to guide and influence treatment recommendations. In collaboration with counselors, survivors will work to reduce their distress using the Triphasic model. It is set up in stages:


Stage 1: Establishment of Safety and Stabilization

  • Reestablish basic sense of safety and trust.
  • Survivors may feel they are going in between intensified emotional distress and disconnection.
  • Trauma has affected their sense of safety and meaning in the world.
  • Survivors may be having flashbacks of trauma.
  • Survivors may be experiencing triggers that affect their daily functioning.
  • At this beginning stage, survivors are working towards feeling more stable in life and not feeling so chaotic and out of control.
  • Survivors will learn to identify, cope and minimize trauma triggers.
  • These strategies can help them feel grounded, calm and hopefully put some distance between themselves and the feelings or memories.
  • These strategies will help survivors stay within that “Window of Tolerance” of manageable emotions and stress.

Once triggers have been reduced and survivors are able to stay within their Window of Tolerance, they may be ready for Phase 2. This is a decision survivors and their therapist will make together.


Stage 2: Remembrance and Mourning

  • "Trauma resolves only when the survivor develops a new mental ‘schema’ for understanding what has happened.”
  • Work is done to change the relationship with what happened to survivors, not to change what happened to them.
  • It is important that survivors begin to put words or feelings on the memory, if possible.
  • It is in naming the trauma that may give survivors a sense of power which was taken away from them. Survivors can take that power back now.
  • Establishment of safety skills may be revisited.
  • Aspects to a traumatic memory are processed in therapy, including:
    • Beliefs about themselves
    • Feelings of shame, guilt, powerlessness, sensations
    • Image that represents the traumatic event for them
    • Some aspects that may get stuck in their nervous system
  • Mourn the self that was affected or destroyed by trauma.
    • Process the mourning and grief of loss
  • Reconstruct (ineffective, unhelpful, dangerous) beliefs that survivors currently have.
  • Construct a new interpretation of the traumatic experience that is not based on shame and guilt.
  • Through this shift to new beliefs and interpretation, survivors will feel more positive about their connection with their world, themselves and their relationships.

Once trauma memory, sensations and emotions have been integrated successfully, it may be time to move to Phase 3. This will also be a decision that survivors and their therapist will make together.


Stage 3: Reconnection and Post Traumatic Growth

  • Build a new self.
  • Old beliefs challenged will be challenged.
  • Develop new meaningful relationships.
  • Prioritize self-care.
  • Increase sense of empowerment and reconnection.
  • Focus on issues of identity and intimacy.
  • Build and tear down ineffective and dangerous relationship boundaries.
  • Trauma is now in the past (emotionally, psychologically and somatically).
  • Spend most of their time in the window of tolerance.
  • Learn to cope effectively with daily stressors and events.
  • Some PTSD symptoms may reoccur, but use of strategies will lessen their impact and effect.
  • May need “booster” sessions.

These phases are not cut and dry. Survivors will not “graduate” from each phase, but more transition into the other phases. While in a specific phase, there may be a lapse into a previous phase, which is normal. Temporary return to the previous phase of treatment is normal and part of the process of trauma recovery. It is important to learn to be accepting and patience of progress. This is not a quick and easy recovery, but it can be done.