Open Secret offer a range of support services in recognition of the fact that everyone is an individual with different experiences, and different levels of support are needed at different times.
At your first appointment in Open Secret you will meet with a worker and be provided with information on all services available and you can discuss which support service(s) you feel will suit you best.
We have services for survivors of all age and we support both survivors of abuse and any family members who may be experiencing the impact of a family members experience of abuse.
Our individual counselling and support service offers a safe, confidential space to explore your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and the impact that childhood abuse has had and perhaps continues to have, on your life.
It is your choice what you discuss and we will go at your pace. You will be offered as many sessions as you need and we will review progress regularly to ensure the support is meeting your needs.
Advocacy is helping and supporting someone else to speak up for what they want. Sometimes when we are feeling vulnerable or distressed we do not feel able to communicate our views clearly or strongly enough and can feel undervalued and not listened to. Advocacy support can support you to
- make clear your own views and wishes;
- express and present your views effectively and faithfully;
- obtain independent advice and accurate information;
- negotiate and resolve conflict.
Your worker can support you to look at areas where you feel you need some advocacy and will then work with you to identify appropriate advocacy support, which may sometimes involve signposting you to another agency who specialise in that area.
Art Therapy is another form of individual support which offers an opportunity to explore feelings and thoughts through the use of drawing, painting, clay, collage and other art materials. This form of therapy can be especially helpful for people who find it difficult to express their feelings verbally.
To benefit from art therapy it is not necessary to be artistic. Art therapy is about enjoying some time to be creative and reflecting on what feelings come up, not about the finished product. Through partnership with Queen Margaret University, Open Secret offers art therapy by a trainee art therapist.
Parent Support Service
When your child has been abused the affect on the non abusing parent can be very hard to deal with. We have a service specifically for parents where you can come along and talk to a specialist worker. There may be practical issues you need help with or you may just need to talk about how you feel. From time to time we offer groups for parents to come together and support one another.
Services for young people
Open Secret have skilled and experienced workers who are trained to work with young people. It can be hard to talk to someone for the first time so our young person's service offers a lot of ways to explore feelings. We can offer counselling, art therapy, play therapy, or a befriender.
Many survivors have told us that after disclosing abuse , or through having periods of difficulty in their lives they can often feel isolated. A befriender will meet you regularly out in the community to support you whilst you gain confidence in dealing with new experiences. A befriender can help you to establish links within the local community and to access social, educational and recreational opportunities.
You will find an account of someone’s personal experience of our befriending service here.
Early Years Family Support Service
Open Secret now offers an early years service, working with primary schools, nurseries and other statutory and voluntary agencies to provide support to children aged 8 and under who may have experienced abuse or trauma, and to their family to explore thoughts and feelings to support the family as a whole unit to cope with the impact of the abuse/trauma. This service is available in Forth Valley, Fife and Lanarkshire.
In Clackmannanshire we have a service specifically for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Open Secret work in a number of prisons across Scotland. We have specialist prison workers who have years of experience in supporting survivors in a prison environment.
In Care Survivors Service Scotland
The In Care Survivors Service Scotland is a service established specifically to work with people who have been abused in care. The ICSSS has its own website www.incaresurvivors.org.uk
Talking in a group can be a daunting prospect for many people, however sharing experiences in a safe space with others who have also experienced childhood abuse can do a lot to help someone reduce their feelings of isolation, and feelings of ‘being different’ and also provide invaluable support and understanding from others who know exactly how you have been feeling, and how difficult it can be to cope.
Many survivors who have participated in our groupwork programmes have gone on to develop their own personal support networks providing support to each other whilst they are still using services in Open Secret and also to support each other with the process of moving on from Open Secret.
Creative Writing Group
Many survivors find creative writing a therapeutic process and our creative writing group is a long standing group who meet weekly. The group is facilitated by Helen Lamb, who is a published Scottish writer and the group have produced several anthologies of some of their work. A copy of the most recent anthology, Opening Up can be downloaded here.
Groups for Young People
Our groups for young people have been extremely popular and effective in supporting young people. Young people are transported safely to and from the groups which happen outwith school times and offer opportunities to explore many of the difficulties experienced by young people who have experienced abuse in a less intensive group setting. These groups also offer young people an opportunity to share experiences with people from their own age groups to discuss issues which their own personal friends and family may not feel equipped to support them with, reducing their sense of isolation.
Physical Health Service
Many survivors of abuse have long term health problems with the most commonly reported being:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Gynaecological disorders
Our physical health service is a group work programme which offers a safe space to talk about your health, find ways of coping with pain and give you ways of coping with the stress and anxiety from feeling unwell. We will also offer advocacy support to help you if you are having difficulty getting the help you need for your physical health.
A key aspect of this service is also raising public awareness of physical health problems for survivors.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF OUR SERVICES, PLEASE DOWNLOAD OUR LEAFLETS HERE or Contact Us (details at foot of page)