*Note* This scheduling program was not designed by folks who do a lot with APA Style and unfortunately it defaults to listing authors in alphabetical order. We cannot fix this for this online schedule, but the author orders are posted in the order submitted in the printed program available via pdf here.
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Friday, March 6 • 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Healing trauma through ritual: The power of women-centered support groups in the transformation of wholeness and empowerment in abused women

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Due to the overwhelming and shocking nature of trauma, the process of healing is often very difficult both psychologically and physically. Having endured the threat of an attacker, and unable to fight back or flee, many victims find themselves left in a freeze response whereby energy related to the stressful event is pent up, unable to be processed by the mind and body. Thus, the trauma continues to haunt the victimized individual, preventing the continuation of aliveness and healing. Research on female victimization indicates that women who have experienced trauma frequently maintain feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness as a result of the abuse. Healing rituals that are centered around images and values associated with female strength, such as guided meditation, public recognition of victimization, and chanting, are believed to instill a sense of empowerment while restructuring more positive definitions of self. Moreover, the identification with other women who have endured similar forms of abuse reduces the feelings of isolation that victims often experience. This is of significant importance in light of the fact that victimized women often carry feelings of guilt and responsibility related to the traumatic event. Thus, women are given the opportunity to relieve themselves of the burden of shame and secrecy, thereby opening themselves to the process of healing. Ritual has been known to be especially effective in decreasing fear, releasing anger, and increasing as sense of empowerment (Jacobs, 1989). This poster presentation will examine the benefits of ritual practice and highlight the increased need of women-centered support groups within communities as a therapeutic outlet for improving mental well-being for women who have survived abuse.

Friday March 6, 2015 3:45pm - 4:45pm PST