ASCA Santa Clarita
Sponsors:
ASCA meeting formats:

The ASCA meetings rotate sequentially among open agendas (A), steps (B)
and topics (C). The rotation ensures coverage of the stages and tasks
associated with healing the distinct emotional and behavioral wounds
caused by childhood abuse. This aides in transforming our identities from
victims, to survivors, to thrivers.

A meetings are open agenda.  This means that our shares may relate to any
aspect of our childhood abuse histories, the Stages and Steps, our struggles
and successes, any of the various efforts we are making to move-on with our
lives, or how we are transforming our identities from victim, to survivor, to
thriver.   If you don't want to speak, that's ok too.


B meetings are focused on one of the steps in the "From Survivor to Thriver"
manual.  A volunteer will read the section from the Survivor to Thriver manual.
To prepare consider reading and working through some of the exercises
pertaining to this step prior to the meeting.

C meetings are topic oriented - the topics are decided on by the group ahead
of time and are what would be helpful to everyone.  Some typical topics are
self-esteem, forgiveness, revenge, cultivating trust in our lives, resentment,
control, confronting abusers etc.
ASCA (adult survivors of child abuse) meetings

This is a community based support group of peers. It is not a therapy group and
the meeting facilitators do not serve in the capacity of professionally trained
therapists. See Disclaimer at end of this handout.

ASCA members commit to working cooperatively and empathetically with each
other.  ASCA meetings are not intended to be psychotherapy or to substitute for
consultation with a licensed health or mental health professional.

You may also find it helpful to download or purchase THE MORRIS CENTER's
Survivor to Thriver manual to assist you with the ASCA program. Each meeting
has a complimentary copy for your review.

How our regular ASCA Meetings Flow
1. Opening Comments by Co-facilitators, Readings
2. Presenter (max 15 mins)
3. Feedback to Presenter (10 minutes)
4. Shares (max 5 mins each)
5. Closure Comments
6. Announcements & Closing

Meeting Guidelines:
To ensure cooperation and safety in our meeting, we observe the following
guidelines:
  1. Please arrive on time and remain until the conclusion of the meeting.
  2. ASCA meetings are exclusively for survivors of physical, sexual, or
    emotional childhood abuse.
  3. This is an anonymous meeting. Only first names are used.
  4. What you hear today is told in confidence and should not be repeated
    outside this meeting.
  5. We ask that no one attend our meeting under the influence of alcohol or
    drugs, unless the medication is prescribed by a physician.
  6. ASCA meetings are not intended for survivors who are currently
    perpetrating abuse on others. Talking about past or present perpetrator
    type behavior is not permissible.
  7. Language that is considered derogatory concerning race, gender,
    ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or other minority status is
    unacceptable in our meeting.
  8. By participating in this meeting we all agree to abide by the spirit of
    ASCA, our guidelines and any interventions by the Co-facilitators.

In addition
·You may experience some strong feelings that may seem unexplainable or
unexpected. See if you can allow yourself to experience these feelings here
among other survivors.

Should you feel safer leaving the room, please do so quietly. If you would like
someone to accompany you, quietly ask someone, or raise your hand so that
we may ask for a volunteer to go with you.

If you disagree with an intervention by a Co-facilitator, please discuss the
matter with the Co-facilitator after the meeting. Please do not disrupt the
meeting by trying to engage the Co-facilitator about an intervention during the
meeting. This creates an unsafe environment for everyone. By participating in
this meeting you have agreed to abide by Co-facilitator decisions.
Stages and Steps summary from the "Survivor to Thriver" manual:

Stage One - Remembering
1. I am in a breakthrough crisis, having gained some sense of my abuse.
2. I have determined that I was physically, sexually or emotionally abused as    
a  child.
3. I have made a commitment to recovery from my childhood abuse.
4. I shall re-experience each set of memories as they surface in my mind.
5. I accept that I was powerless over my abusers' actions which holds THEM    
responsible.
6. I can respect my shame and anger as a consequence of my abuse, but
shall try not to turn it against myself or others.
7. I can sense my inner child whose efforts to survive now can be appreciated.

Stage Two -
Mourning
8. I have made an inventory of the problem areas in my adult life.
9. I have identified the parts of myself connected to self-sabotage.
10. I can control my anger and find healthy outlets for my aggression.
11. I can identify faulty beliefs and distorted perceptions in myself and others.
12. I am facing my shame and developing self-compassion.
13. I accept that I have the right to be who I want to be and live the way I want
to live.
14. I am able to grieve my childhood and mourn the loss of those who failed
me.

Stage Three - Healing
15. I am entitled to take the initiative to share in life's riches.
16. I am strengthening the healthy parts of myself, adding to my self-esteem.
17. I can make necessary changes in my behavior and relationships at home
and work.
18. I have resolved the abuse with my offenders to the extent that is
acceptable to me.
19. I hold my own meaning about the abuse that releases me from the legacy
of the past.
20. I see myself as a thriver in all aspects of life - love, work, parenting, and
play.
21. I am resolved in the reunion of my new self and eternal soul.
Disclaimer:
ASCA is a community based support group of peers. It is not a therapy group
and the meeting facilitators do not serve in the capacity of professionally trained
therapists. The ASCA program should not be used as a substitute for
professional care and services.

The Norma J. Morris Center and your local ASCA meeting assume no
responsibility for any damages, injuries or losses that occur as a result of
participation in ASCA support groups. You should always consult a trained
professional with any questions about your specific needs and concerns.
Always know your own limitations and factor in your own good judgment and
common sense.

Your use of any material provided on the Morris Center or local ASCA websites
or participation in ASCA support groups constitute your acceptance of the terms
in this disclaimer.
Share Guidelines
Whether you are the 15 minute presenter or going to give a 5 minute share,
what you say is important for you and the others in the meeting.  In general,
we encourage you
  • to speak about "your" feelings and to use "I" statements
  • to speak in a way that people can "take-in" what you are saying
  • to stay focussed on the agenda, step or topic


Art of supportive feedback
Following a volunteer's 15 minute presentation, the presenter may request
supportive feedback from the meeting members.  Members will have about
30 seconds each to offer supportive feedback.  The presenter chooses from
the people who raise their hands.  The presenter may also discontinue the
feedback process at any time.

As the Co-Secretary will state,
only supportive feedback is permissible.  
Supportive comments include statements that are empathetic, nurturing,
encouraging, affirming, and/or validating.  Supportive feedback is not a time
to give a mini-share.  It is an opportunity to say something supportive directly
to the presenter.  Also, even though a supportive comment has already been
made by someone, repeating the supportive comments in one's own words
is helpful for the presenter to hear again from another person.  We often
need to hear the same support many times before it takes root.  When we
support the presenter, we are also supporting each other and ourselves.  
We all absorb comments vicariously.

Some examples of
supportive feedback:
  • empathy - What you have described must have been difficult
    and painful for you.  I feel sad that you had to go through all
    that junk.
  • nurture - I think you were courageous to do what you did.  I
    think are you just great.
  • encourage - I think you are doing a great job.  I have
    confidence in you.  Just keep on doing it.
  • affirm - I agree with you.  It takes a lot of hard work to
    transform our lives.
  • validate - What you said makes so much sense.  I can really
    appreciate how you are feeling.

A Partial List of Feelings
It is often difficult to define our feelings.  We usually experience a variety of
feelings in any given situation.  Sometimes our feelings may even seem
contradictory.  When having difficulty identifying what you are feeling, a review
of this partial list of feelings might enable you to associate a label or word
with the particular feelings you are experiencing.

abandoned, abused, accepted, accused, admired, adventurous, affectionate,
affirmed, afraid, aggressive, aggravated, agitated, alarmed, alienated, alive,
alone, ambivalent, angry, annoyed, antagonistic, anticipated, anxious,
apathetiic, appreciated, apprehensive, approved, arrogant, ashamed,
assertive, attacked, attractive, awed, awkward

balanced, beaten, belligerent, betrayed, bewildered, bitter, blamed, bored,
bothered, bugged, burned up.

capable, cared for, castrated, caustic, chagrined, challenged, cheated,
closed, comfortable, comforted, compassionate, competent, complacent,
compromised, concerned, confident, confused, congruent, connected,
consumed, contaminated, controlled, out of control, creative, cross, cruel,
crushed, curious, cut off.

dead, deceived, defeated, defensive, defiant, degraded, dejected, delighted,
deserving, desired, desperate, destroyed, devastated, dirty, disappointed,
discontented, disgusted, disillusioned, disjointed, dismayed, distant,
distorted, distracted, distressed, disturbed, dominated, domineering,
drained, dread, drowning, drugged, dumb, dying.

eager, edgy, egotistic, elated, embarrassed, embraced, empty, endangered,
enraged, enthused, envious, evasive, exasperated, exhilarated, exploited,
explosive, exposed.

failed, failure, fat, fatigued, fearful, fighting mad, floundering, fooled, forgiven,
forgotten, fouled, free, friendless, friendly, frightened, frustrated, furious.

galled, generous, genuine, gifted, gracious, grateful, gratified, greedy,
grumpy, guilty.

hate. hated, hatred, healed, heavy, helpless, hopeful, hopeless, hostile, hurt,
hyperactive, hypocritical.

ignored, immobilized, impatient, impotent, inadequate, indifferent,
incompetent, inconsistent, in control, indecisive, independent, indignant,
inferior, infuriated, inhihbited, injured, insecure, irked, irritated, isolated,
intense, integrated, intimate, intimidated, irrational, irritable.

jealous, joyful, judged, judgmental.

liberated, lighht, limited, lonely, like a loser, lost, lovable, loved, loyal.

mad, manipulated, marked, masked, masochistic, melancholic, miffed,
misinformed, misunderstood.

naked, needy, neglected, noxious.

obligated, offended, optimistic, outraged, overlooked, oversized, oversexed,
overwhelmed.

pain, panic, paranoid, passionate, peaceful, persecuted, perturbed,
pessimistic, phony, pissed-off, playful, pleased, pleasured, possessed,
possessive, powerful, powerless, precious, preoccupied, pressured, private,
protective, proud, provoked, punished, purposeful, put down, put out, puzzled.

rageful, rambunctious, reassured, rejected, resentful, responsible,
responsive, restrained, resurrected, revengeful, reverance, rewarded, rigid.

sacred, sad, sadistic, scapegoated, scared, secretive, secure, seductive,
seething, selfish, sensual, shaky, shamed, shocked, shy, sick, sincere,
sinful, smothered, soiled, sorrowful, spontaneous, spiteful, stressed, strong,
stubborn, stupid. subservient, superior, supported, suspicious, sympathetic.

teed off, tender, terrified, threatened, ticked off, tired, tolerant, tolerated,
traumatized, tranquil, triumphant., trusted, trusting, turned off.

ugly, unable, unappreciated, unbalanced, uncertain, understood, unfulfilled,
unhappy, unique, unloved, unprepared, upset, unresponsive, unlikable,
uptight, used, useful, useless.

vain, valuable, vengeful, vicious, vindicated, vindictive, violent, vulnerable.

warm, weak, weary, whole, withdrawn, wonderful, worn out, worthless,
worthy.

youthful, yearning, zany, zealous.
Daily Survival Tips:

The following are some suggestions about what to do when the memories,
feelings, thoughts or sensations get to be more than you think you can
handle.  Start with the first tip and go down the list as needed until the crisis
subsides.

  1. Just let them happen.  Don't fight them.  Experience what they are.
  2. Write about them in your journal.
  3. Talk to someone you trust.
  4. Remember your strengths that helped you survive as a child.
  5. Do exercise, yoga, meditation or a relaxation exercise.
  6. Go to your safe place or call on your Higher Power.
  7. Do art - drawing, painting or collage --- to express your feelings,
    organize your memories and demonstrate your strength
  8. Call someone on the phone list.
  9. Call your therapist.
  10. Call a telephone hot line.
  11. Go to a hospital emergency room.
Closure Comment

Following the shared and prior to the announcements, meeting participants
are invited to make a very brief,
about 20 seconds or less comment on how
they are feeling
as the meeting comes to a close.

One of the Co-Secretaries will begin the closing comments process and it
then proceeds in a round robin fashion.  The emphasis is on briefly
expressing one's feelings.  It is not the time to do a mini-share.  For example:
  • I feel energized as we leave.  I appreciate your shares or
  • I feel exhausted.  This is very tough work for me or
  • I'm having a difficult time.  I'm feeling a lot of pain and frustration or
  • I'm feeling hopeful for the first time in a long time.  Thanks everyone.
Closing Statement

We have come together to face our past, united in survival,
determined to rebuild our lives, by healing the pain, and transforming our
shame.

We will find comfort in our safe places wherever they may be.

Feelings can be felt, memories can be recalled and sensations can be
soothed.

We close our meeting now with renewed faith in our power,
armed with self-knowledge, fed by our strength drawn from survival,
empowered by the challenge of change, and graced with a sense of hope
for what our future can be.
Founded in 1991, The Morris Center is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt
service organization based in San Francisco.  The Morris Center's mission is
to provide survivors of child abuse with economical and effective opportunities
to recover from their child abuse and to assist all that seek to nurture their
human spirit.  The Morris Center started ASCA in 1993.  


Please visit the
Morris Center ASCA web-site for more information and
resources