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Hold fast

At SiT we believe that sexual abuse is a type of ‘trauma’, and recovery from trauma is best looked upon as a process that is worked on over time and in stages and as such we work to a 3 phase response to trauma model, this incorporates the following phases:

Our 6 week Hold Fast Programme delivers the first stage. This stage is in some ways the most important step, it re-establishes safety and increases stability. It is designed to improve your self-esteem, confidence and understanding of the impact of trauma you have experienced and how to manage emotions more positively.

People affected by trauma tend to feel unsafe in their bodies and in their relationships with others, and may struggle to regulate or deal with difficult emotions. They may also find it too difficult to speak about their experience. It is therefore necessary to learn how to manage overwhelming emotions and it may not be necessary to discuss the actual details of the trauma you experienced in this stage.

'I had years of counselling before doing Hold Fast and had never understood how important my emotions were, this has helped me so much'

What do we mean by stabilisation?

Stabilisation involves understanding how to identify the symptoms of trauma and how to manage them; recognising that these symptoms make perfect sense as a response to trauma.

Symptoms may include low self-esteem, difficulties making sense of overwhelming emotions and behaviour, inability to trust, feelings of powerlessness, intrusive memories, feeling numb or disconnected, guilt and shame.

The Hold Fast programme addresses some of these symptoms and incorporates some skills and tools which help with stabilisation including the following:

  • understanding emotions
  • grounding techniques
  • emotional regulation
  • coping strategies
  • how to anticipate stressful or triggering events and manage these better
  • learning how to calm your body and mind

‘I was so nervous to begin with but I loved working with and getting to know other survivors, it made me feel less alone’

The programme aims to empower survivors by focusing on their inner strength and resilience, reinforcing that it is possible to heal from the effects of childhood sexual abuse.

The Hold Fast programme can be undertaken either one to one with an experienced facilitator or ‘Hold Fast Together’ which provides an opportunity to complete the facilitated programme with other survivors of the same gender and experience the validation and normalisation this offers.

The programme is normally delivered for 1 to 1.5 hours per week for 6 weeks.

Participants are encouraged to complete a workbook through the weeks which contains resources and helpful exercises.

’Since I have been taught to understand the effects of what happened to me I find I can cope better’

Download our PDF for more information


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The Survivors in Transition (SiT) website is an information and signposting resource, neither SiT nor its affiliated staff or volunteers take responsibility for any information that is out of date or inaccurate. Some of the content on the website may contain triggers and we suggest it is used with due care.
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