Phase I consists of 14 weeks of workshops. During this time, the women’s healing circle creates emotional safety, teaches skills for stabilization and techniques for managing symptoms, provides psycho-education about trauma, and engages in art therapy activities. As part of phase I, women design and sew story cloths and begin to speak to each other about the experiences they depict.
Phase II sees a deepening of the clinical work during the next six months of sessions. The participants discuss common themes that have surfaced in their story cloths such as loss, grief, self-blame, survivor guilt, self-esteem, etc. They continue to consolidate the gains that began in Phase I. They practice leadership skills so that increasingly they can take on responsibility for facilitating the circle.
By Phase III, the participants create their own self-directed independent support group. They set goals and activities of their own choosing, and may decide to pursue income generating work, advocacy, in addition to sustaining their support network.