“Your wings already exist. All you have to do is FLY.” – Anon

How do I know if I am ready for a WINGS support group?

Moving through the stages of recovery often happens at an individual’s own pace. It is important to trust yourself throughout this process, and when helpful, discuss these questions with your therapist and/or our team at WINGS. Here are some considerations, which may be helpful to guide you:

Signs that you are ready for group:

Support groups are most beneficial to survivors who have learned basic coping skills and worked with a trauma therapist for initial stages of healing, and are living in a safe environment that is free from abuse.  If you are not currently in a safe environment, please call 911 immediately.  If you are in an abusive relationship, resources are available, and can be found through CCADV or CCASA. Community Crisis Connection also helps provide resources for those in crisis. Click here for more information.

Consistency is important to create a sense of safety and stability for yourself and for fellow group members. Therefore, we strongly recommend that survivors who are interested in joining group make the commitment to weekly attendance.  Thus, it is important to determine if you have the time in your schedule for this.

It is also important that members be substance-free when attending group, and have no active substance abuse issues.  AA and NA groups are available nationwide, and many WINGS members have found them helpful. To find an AA meeting near you, click here. For an NA meeting, click here.

Potential members are encouraged to have a self-care plan in place while attending group, to deal with emotions that may arise.  This is often worked on with one’s individual therapist, and can be part of the prep work for coming to group.

Self-care plans can include activities since as taking a walk, yoga, reading a book, arts and crafts, or spending time with friends, family or pets.

For more information about self care after trauma, click here.

Signs that you may not be ready for group (yet):  

Survivors who are just beginning their healing journey and talking about their abuse for the first time may find this stage of healing overwhelming.  Talking about a painful past is difficult and brings up a lot of emotions. Survivors in this stage need to first develop healthy ways to take care of themselves, in order to work with these difficult feelings. This is a normal part of the healing process and is best accomplished in working with a trained individual therapist. For help finding an individual therapist, click here.

Thoughts of suicide are common for survivors.  If a survivor is still struggling with suicidal thoughts or has made a recent attempt, it is very important to seek the support of a therapist before joining a WINGS group, since the material discussed in group may be hard to hear.  If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available to help 24/7. For more information, click here.

What will we talk about in group?

WINGS Groups are structured and use the WINGS Survivors’ and Loved Ones’ Guide to Healing handbook in every group. Survivors are empowered to choose the topic of each session from the WINGS handbook. Some topics include assertiveness, communication skills, establishing healthy boundaries, accepting love, and managing overwhelming feelings.

What is a WINGS “Specialty Group”?

In addition to our WINGS Support Groups, we offer a variety of “specialty groups” that have a different approach from the traditional support group style.

What WINGS “Specialty Groups” are currently offered?

ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY GROUP– An ongoing weekly support group that follows the WINGS structure and handbook while adding the healing component of animals.

CREATIVE EXPRESSIVE ARTS GROUP– A 6-week experiential group, focused on exploring your healing process through use of the creative arts.  In group, and individual therapy, we often focus on more “top-down” methods of exploring the impact of trauma (e.g., talking, analyzing, more cognitive).  Art allows us the opportunity to approach our healing process from a more “bottom up” position, accessing the underlying intuition, emotion, and wisdom that we each hold.

SPEAK OUT GROUP– A workshop for those survivors who are ready to take the next step and speak publicly about their story. An 8 week long workshop involving the telling and writing of their story, in a safe space with the ultimate goal of presenting their final piece with an audience of other survivors and allies. This group is for members who have are currently in a support group, or have participated in one in the past. It is offered twice a year.

WRITING GROUPS– Monthly groups for survivors who find strength, relief, and healing from writing; and are looking for a safe space to share, grow, and learn about how to use this method in their journey. These groups are held either once or twice a month for 2 hours.

Who leads the groups?

Every WINGS group is facilitated by one to two volunteer, master’s level counselors. WINGS facilitators do not provide therapy, however, their role is to provide safety, stability, and structure to the group, allowing group members to focus on their issues rather than taking care of each other. To Meet our Facilitators, click here.

How do I join a group?

All survivors or loved ones interested in joining a support group must first contact the WINGS office to complete a brief telephone consultation (20-30 minutes) to determine if they are ready to join a group. All information shared over the phone is kept completely confidential. If you would like to join a group, contact us at (303) 238-8660, ext. 105 in the Denver metro area or (800) 373-8671 outside the Denver metro area to schedule your consultation.

What If I don’t live in Colorado? Can I join group?

Currently, our support groups are offered primarily in the state of Colorado. However, WINGS is in the process of building capacity to be able to offer our support group services nationwide. If you would like more information, or want to get involved in our expansion efforts, please contact us today at jenny.stith@wingsfound.org or 303-238-8660.