Reaching Hope believes that together we can end the cycle of trauma.
It is our mission to help individuals heal from trauma by providing a holistic approach to mental health services that address individual, relational and systemic healing, ultimately fortifying the health of communities for generations to come.
Why Reaching Hope is Different
From Individual to Family Focus
When Reaching Hope first opened, we provided typical evidence-based trauma therapy services focused on the individual healing of children, adolescents, and adults. Among our very first individual therapy clients were two children, a 5-year-old brother and 7-year-old sister who had been sexually assaulted by a cousin. They were brought to their weekly appointments by their mother, who consistently agreed to do interventions with her children to help them heal, though she continued to struggle with follow through. As the weeks went on, she cried, often panicking, revealing she was overwhelmed. It was apparent that she too needed services. Once she began individual therapy and talked openly, complex layers of family trauma began to emerge. We learned several important facts that gave new context for why this protective mother was struggling:
Her partner was perpetrating domestic violence in the home against her.
She had also been a victim of childhood sexual abuse by her grandfather.
She was at risk of losing her job due to absenteeism associated with the numerous court hearings.
Her relationship with extended family had become extremely tenuous because most had chosen not to believe her children's
outcries of abuse-- instead, they blamed the victims for coming forward or minimizing the sexual assault by saying that it was not severe enough to warrant legal consequences for the cousin.
We realized that overly relying on individual trauma treatment to accomplish true healing was like trying to construct a home without first building a sturdy foundation. We contemplated what could be accomplished if Reaching Hope pursued a different route: treat both the children and the mother while helping this family find safety from all abusive members. This approach was informed with the goal of empowering this mother to pave the way toward stability for herself and her children. We found that, when we helped the family stay safe from the abusers, we could help build a closer, trusting connection among the children and the mother.
Without this foundational family stability, individual therapy for the children would have only reduced trauma symptoms, and most certainly would not have accomplished long-lasting healing or resiliency, or built up the family's strength and protection from future abuse. Instead, we found, using this approach, that the family:
Moved out of their abusive home.
Confronted and reported the mother's childhood sexual abuser.
Identified extended family members who also wanted to forge a healthy, new path forward.
Found trust, safety and healing within their relationships with one another.
In other words, they were no longer defined by their victimizations.
A Unique Approach
Since that day, Reaching HOPE has become an essential agency for healing (and preventing) trauma by supporting families through helping them grow stronger, safer, and happier together. Reaching HOPE takes this unique approach: every family member is scheduled with their own individual therapist all at the same appointment time each week. This allows us the option to work in individual therapy on unique struggles that each family member experiences, or join together for family sessions to support the family as a complete unit.
While our focus of empowering trauma survivors to end cycles of violence remains unchanged, our unique family treatment model has evolved and been shaped by our clients and their needs.
Recognizing the needs and lack of services available for Spanish-speaking families in our community, we decided to expand our trauma-focused services to include a specific focus on Hispanic/Latinx families. We were able to do so by providing our family based trauma recovery therapy model with an extra focus on culturally aware, bilingual services. This specialization is focused around providing clients with opportunities to see a therapist who looks like them, speaks the same language, and has lived-experiences that help clients feel seen and heard. In addition, this brings additional training opportunities to the whole agency as we ensure that each therapist is not just a trauma specialist, but also continually grows in culturally responsive practices.
Youth Advisory Board
As Reaching HOPE has grown, we have seen the benefit and need for an advisory board that lifted youth voices and provided an opportunity for our young clients to grow in their advocacy and empowerment. This board provides regular feedback to our Board of Directors and Staff, as well as identifies projects that can be created or implemented to uplift our whole community. The advisory board is made up of current and past clients and tackles a wide variety of issues.
This is what makes us different: even in the wake of the most horrific human experiences, we give families the tools and support so that hope and resilience still prevail.
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