We want everyone who attends our art group to feel as comfortable as possible and we have some group guidelines we request everyone follows.
The Flying Child art groups are art-for-wellbeing groups and not therapy. Our aim is to provide a supportive space for people who have experienced Child Sexual Abuse. When we have the opportunity to make connections within the survivor community we build strength, solidarity and voice, and we reduce feelings of isolation. Peer groups can be extremely beneficial but they can raise issues that might need therapeutic support. We encourage you to access support if necessary to meet your needs and keep yourself safe. You can find local support through RASASC. Further support can be accessed through The Survivors Trust and The Samaritans.
Please only attend these groups if you can commit to every week. These are funded groups with people on a waiting list, so if you can only make one or two then they are not right for you at this time. You are very welcome to join future groups when you have more free time and can commit to the 9 weeks.
There is no requirement to speak about past experiences but you might feel a sense of relief to know you’re in a group with other survivors. Equally this might feel overwhelming at first, especially if you haven’t interacted with survivors in the past. We encourage you to stick with us if you can, as these feelings should reduce over time, as you get to know the other people in the group.
We ask that what is said in the sessions remains in the sessions. Please don’t disclose the identity of others in the group.
The art group will be facilitated by Kate, an experienced art group leader, and co-facilitated by Sophie Olson and/or Anna from The Flying Child. Sophie is a survivor of CSA. Anna from The Lighthouse (not The Flying Child Anna!) will also be at each session and will be there to make cups of tea, provide biscuits and perhaps join in with the art! The Lighthouse can offer support in many different forms and Anna will be able to help you access this support if you feel it would be of benefit to you.
The emphasis is on creativity – you can expect art, chat and company with other survivors of CSA. This group is suitable for people who have never tried art before and for people who have.
“My sessions aren’t about teaching you how to draw or paint or create a specific thing, but more about how to look, and how to use different materials and techniques to create your own piece. I know how tempting (and potentially off-putting) it can be to compare your finished piece to someone else’s, so I always provide a variety of source images so that yours and everyone else’s will be simply be different to all the others.”Kate – Art Group leader
We would like to highlight that we will all be at different points in our journey and ask that you be mindful and respectful of this. For example, there might be survivors in the group who feel they have received justice whilst there might be some who have never disclosed. Some of us will have accessed therapy, some might not. Our aim is to make sure the environment is supportive for everyone who attends.
We recognise how hard it is to survive CSA. Many survivors have coping strategies and we do not judge anyone for these survival mechanisms. We don’t exclude anyone who is struggling with addiction but if you are obviously under the influence of alcohol or drugs we might ask you to step out of the group for that session as you will be less likely to benefit from the group and it could make others feel unsafe, especially if they are in recovery themselves. We would offer you a cup of tea and a chat and encourage you to come back the next week.
You might want to socialise with other group members after the art group and would suggest this is in somewhere such as a café and not a pub because not everyone will feel comfortable in an environment where others are drinking alcohol.
If you have any questions about the group, these guidelines, or can no longer attend, please feel free to email The Flying Child at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attendees are made aware this art group is for survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). The group will be carefully facilitated, and care will be taken to guide people away from relaying graphic content, but we can’t guarantee that conversations in the group won’t feel uncomfortable, triggering or distressing. Participants will be signposted to further support and encouraged to do what they need to keep themselves safe, including leaving the group if necessary, and access therapeutic support outside of the group to help meet their needs. The Flying Child, The Lighthouse, Sophie Olson and Kate Alger can’t take responsibility for any distress caused.