New year, new mindset: Female support groups launched
Beachside counselors offer opportunity to connect, share experience with like-minded women
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Kristin Woodling kept seeing the same issues seep into therapy sessions. All came from different individuals who felt alone in their emotional struggles.
She knew it in her gut. She had to provide a place for them to connect.
“So many women come in and they think that they’re alone with it, no one understands, and they have to keep it so private,” said Woodling, a licensed mental health counselor. “I can say all day long what they need to hear, but to hear someone that’s going through currently with them it is very powerful.”
Woodling, along with colleagues Emily Tonn, a registered mental health counselor, and licensed clinical psychologist Susie Marikle, created a series of group therapy sessions at their Indian Harbour Beach business, Pamper Your Mind. The groups are kicking off this month, offering local ladies a chance to connect with others in similar situations in an intimate setting that’s facilitated by a professional.
Cost is $20 per session. Participants can attend on an as-needed basis. There are six topics to choose from, each meeting at 6 p.m. on a monthly basis:
- Healthy Lifestyle, first Monday of the month. With “so many people around us choosing an unhealthy lifestyle” (think fast food, sedentary lives and so forth), it can be hard to stick to eating and fitness goals, Woodling said. This can be a source of support.
- Neglected daughters, second Thursday of the month. The group delves into adult women who are coping with a past or current neglectful or abusive parent. Even if it’s decades past, such early unhealthy relationships can reverberate into older years. Self image and self esteem can be impacted. “Adult women struggle with that with their relationships with their spouse or their children, parenting and even work,” Woodling said. “Certain life transitions will surface that – marriage, having children, divorce – bring that to the surface.”
- Mothers of kids with special needs, second Thursday of the month. Tonn, who leads the session, has more than 15 years experience in working with special needs children and their families. She considers it a unique area of expertise in Brevard — and says there’s a huge need for it. She wants moms leaving feeling empowered. A recurring challenge she sees in these moms? “Isolation,” Tonn said. “Maybe not even by choice. A lot of times they have family and friends…A lot of the isolation comes internally. Balancing the family, other siblings, their marriage. There’s just an extra layer of challenges that moms with children with special needs experience.”
- Body image, third Monday of the month. Helping women achieve and maintain a positive sense of self. “It’s something a lot of women struggle with,” Woodling said.
- Coping with infertility, fourth Thursday of the month. The sessions will delve into the frustration, challenges and impact on relationships with loved ones when unsuccessfully trying to conceive.
- The caring stepmother, fourth Thursday of the month. “Blended families present challenges,” Woodling said. “It’s really powerful to bring stepmothers together and talk about those unique challenges, be able to navigate that together.”
Woodling hopes the groups take off as a launching pad to help women start off the new year with an opportunity to improve their mindsets. And it’s not cookie-cutter for everyone.
“We want to be able to offer individual and group setting,” said Tonn. “One thing may work for one person but another thing works for another. Some people will do both.”
The key is having options.
“Also, there’s a piece of accountability there, too, meeting with a group and regularly sharing your progress,” Woodling said.
Sessions will max out at 8 people. If it goes over, a second group can be added.
“There’s a magic number in there to keep people comfortable and have space to talk and share,” Woodling said.
Keeping the groups limited to females is key, too. “There’s a different kind of conversation that happens when it’s just women in the room,” she said.
For more information on the support groups, call 321-209-4796 or visit pamperyourmind.com.
Contact Paulson at 321-242-3783 or firstname.lastname@example.org.