After sharing with you all the process of enrolling a girl into a new school, another important component in the daily life of ReVive is the role of the psychologist and the psychological treatment that the girls receive whilst they are with us. When a new girl arrives at ReVive, sometimes the results of the abuse may be visible particularly if it has been physical. However, the girl will also have experienced severe psychological damage, which isn’t always easy to see or understand and can come in many different forms. The task of working with the ReVive girls in this area lies with Erika, our resident psychologist. She works at ReVive specifically to help give these girls the treatment they need in order to try and come to terms with the abuse they have suffered.
The first thing that our psychologist does when a new girl arrives is to arrange a time for the two of them to meet and have an initial conversation, a ‘getting to know you’ session where trust is established. A contract is made at the start of the treatment to establish that what is said in the room during the sessions is strictly confidential and that Erika will only use what she thinks will help the girls in their case when writing up reports for the social services. Once these initial sessions have begun, Erika will allow the girls to start talking about the abuse that they have suffered. More often than not they will eventually give a full account of everything from a very young age right up to the time that they came to live at ReVive. Our psychologist talks to the girls in groups as well as individually, using a variety of activities to work with the girls depending on their age.
The role of the psychologist also extends beyond the treatment sessions at ReVive. Once a new girl has arrived at ReVive, our psychologist will conduct an initial home visit. This is to see the situation where the girl comes from and meet family members, who are often the aggressors themselves. She will also conduct follow up visits during the time that the girl is with us. Erika will also accompany the girls to a variety of other places including medical check-ups and hearings with the judge. As someone who spends a lot of time with the girls, Erika is a vital part of our work with the judge and the social services to determine their future.
In some cases, certain girls will receive treatment outside of ReVive with other psychologists. This is because Erika believes that these girls have very specific needs and require another space where they can talk to someone completely separate from ReVive. Sometimes this process can enable the girls to open up more about certain issues because they don’t have the same relationship with this psychologist that they have with Erika.
Finally, one of the most important parts of the role of our psychologist is to prepare the girls for the outside world. These girls will not stay at ReVive forever so part of the treatment they receive is to come to terms with and feel more at peace with what has happened to them in the past so they can move forward with restored lives and renewed hope for the future.
We are currently finalising plans to build an extension on the side of the ReVive house. Part of this will include a new room specifically designed for our psychologist Erika so she can continue to work closely with the girls in a safe space. If you are interested in helping us to reach our budget, you can donate via our campaign or email us for the ReVive bank details.