Group Therapy for Women Survivors of Trauma

Healing in Community

When we experience trauma, our sense of self and the way we perceive the world around us becomes hijacked. Many women who have faced traumatic events feel a need to “keep the secret,” thus compounding their pain with isolation, dissociation, hypervigilance, and shame. Survivors of trauma can even feel that they themselves are “bad” and not deserving of a happy, healthy life.   

Sharing a traumatic experience with others can restore a sense of connectedness, meaning, and understanding. The goal of group psychotherapy is to provide this kind of corrective emotional experience in which the dynamics of self-blaming, silencing, and disbelief of the victim are shared and then worked through.

JOIN

Call (424) 371-5191 or email us. A group therapist will call you to discuss the group and to setup a no-cost assessment session.

The Groups

Each group is a weekly, 60-minute process-oriented psychotherapy group focused on the shared experiences of women who have experienced trauma. Group discussion will arise organically, but some of the following topics will likely be addressed:

  1. Revelation of each participant’s trauma experience(s)
  2. Description of how trauma has influenced members’ lives including: intimacy, sexuality, one’s relationship with their body
  3. Discussions of how shame, hypervigilance, dissociation, and PTSD affect survivors in daily life
  4. Development of a supportive community of other women who truly understand    

 

 

Commitment & Cost

Participants must commit to attending group in 10-week intervals and must also be engaged in individual treatment at WILA or with an outside therapist.

The cost of the group is $25 per session, or $250 for ten weeks; however fees will be assessed individually for each group member.  Participants must commit to and pay for the entire 10-week group experience whether or not they are able to attend all 10 sessions. Payment plans can be arranged upon request.

Our Team

Veronika Larova, Psy.D.
Group Facilitator

Veronika earned her doctorate at California Southern University. Her approach is creative, empathic, and collaborative. She strongly believes that committing to therapy is a heroic journey. With a long background in health research, she feels that the right questions have the power to unlock hidden doors in our psyche, and that healing happens on a mind-body-spirit continuum. She has specialized training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Katherine Smith, LMFT, Psy.D.
Group Supervisor

Katherine is an LMFT with a doctorate from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She believes therapy is more than just overcoming life’s challenges – it is an opportunity for you to explore and create a new relationship to your self. Katherine approaches therapy with kindness, compassion, and humor. She has worked with individuals and couples of diverse backgrounds, sexual orientations, mental health concerns, and integrates social justice and feminist perspectives in her approach to therapy.

Ilana Bar-Din Giannini, LCSW
VOW Co-Founder & Group Therapies Program Director

“After 20 years working as a professional writer, my decision to train as a psychotherapist came from a strong sense of personal optimism: I believe that people can write — and change — their own stories. With the right help and support, even traumatic stories can be reworked and lives reimagined. Social work underscored my sense that we heal best if gently moved from a place of isolation to a place of supportive understanding.”

Marcia Nimmer, LCSW, Psy.D.
Group Supervisor

Marcia is a clinical psychologist and licensed clinical social worker. She received her doctorate from Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she specialized in depth psychology. Marcia is the author of Finding Meaning in Later Life​, an exploration into how the second half of life holds hidden gifts and treasures. She is known for her warmth and intuitive style. As a clinician, she enables individuals of all ages to make emotional contact with their authentic inner experience, allowing for growth and transformation.

Michele Gomes, Psy.D.
VOW Co-Founder & WILA Executive Director

Frequently Asked Qs

Do I have to share the details of my trauma?
Sharing the details of your trauma(s) with others can restore a sense of connectedness, meaning, and understanding, however, disclosure should always be a voluntary act. VOW groups are intended for women who feel ready to begin to voluntarily disclose and work through their traumatic experiences. Our intake therapist will help you determine your readiness to share, and to hear, stories of sexual trauma. We may recommend a period of individual therapy before beginning a VOW group.
Will I feel safe in the group?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask! Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee safety. Talking about trauma, like any therapy, has both benefits and risks. One of the risks is that symptoms, memories, and discomfort can get worse before getting better. VOW facilitators are prepared to help engender a feeling of safety for you and the other members. Your most important task is communicating your needs to the best of your ability. 

What if I already have an individual therapist?
Meeting weekly with an outside individual therapist meets the requirement to participate in the VOW group without signing up for individual therapy at WILA. We will require that a release is signed so that our VOW group therapists and your individual therapist can speak when necessary. This will be discussed with group members individually and will be handled thoughtfully to balance your privacy and responsible coordination of care.
Will my insurance pay for the VOW group?
In keeping with WILA’s mission, VOW is priced to be an affordable alternative for those who do not have adequate health insurance benefits and/or cannot afford expensive private treatment. VOW participants are expected to pay WILA directly at the time of service. If requested, your therapist will provide you with a superbill, an itemized form listing healthcare services rendered, which you must submit directly to your insurance provider to request reimbursement. This is a common way to have insurance to pay for out-of-network benefits. Approval for reimbursement as well as rates will depend on the terms of your insurance policy. We encourage you to call your insurance provider to better understand these terms before beginning the group.
Who will be facilitating the VOW group?

VOW groups are facilitated by pre-licensed therapists enrolled in WILA’s Psychology Internship and Postgraduate Fellowship. The facilitators are supervised by licensed mental health professionals on WILA’s Teaching and Supervising Faculty with input from WILA’s Executive Director, Michele Gomes, Psy.D.

Where does VOW take place?

Due to COVID-19, VOW groups are conducted virtually online. Otherwise, VOW groups take place at our West Los Angeles location which provides a safe, comfortable, accessible, and confidential atmosphere. We are conveniently located at 11845 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 505W, Los Angeles, CA 90064. Ample street parking is available nearby.

I’m a clinician and would like to refer to VOW. Who do I contact?

We welcome referrals and ideas for potential collaborations. VOW is ideal as an adjunctive group therapy experience for women you are seeing in individual treatment. Participation in group therapy can reduce isolation and increase relatedness by bringing together individuals struggling with similar issues. We offer a FREE telephone consultation with you and a FREE in-person consultation with your client. Call (424) 371-5191 and request to speak to a VOW group leader.

What is WILA’s mission?
The mission of Wright Institute Los Angeles (WILA) is to keep high quality, long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy available and affordable. WILA is an affordable alternative for those without adequate health insurance benefits or the ability to pay for expensive private treatment. We remain one of the very few settings in Los Angeles where no limits are placed on treatment length or session frequency. Our aim is to help the individuals, couples, and families we serve lead richer, deeper, more fulfilling lives.