Tuesday, August 16, 2022

As we continue to find our way back to pre-pandemic normal, we’re all relishing opportunities to disconnect from Zoom and forge the kind of real-life connections we might have taken for granted before March 2020. This includes a return to in-person psychotherapy—a boon, especially to the many adults and children who have suffered mental health setbacks over the past two-plus years.

For women impacted by abusive and high-conflict relationships, however, teletherapy has continued to offer an oasis of support, community, and healing with the click of a button—from anywhere in New Jersey, thanks to Project SARAH, the statewide domestic violence and sexual abuse program for Jewish families.

Project SARAH re-introduced its no-cost virtual Women’s Groups two years ago, with the mission of showing those affected by abuse that they are not alone—even during the height of lockdowns and quarantines. From the start, it was clear that these groups filled a critical need. Members from all corners of New Jersey shared that these weekly meetings offered them a safe space to feel heard, connect to others who understood, and to begin understanding for themselves difficult issues and situations.

Many of the original participants have continued to attend, and now welcome new members into the fold. As all group members juggle demands such as employment, protracted divorce cases, co-parenting and children’s bedtime schedules, they find that the ability to find a community without a commute has been a fundamental part of their ability to survive and thrive. In fact, many reflect during group sessions on the ways they are meeting ongoing challenges with new centeredness, wisdom, clarity and self-compassion.

Project SARAH’s most recent Women’s Group offerings highlight the program’s statewide reach. This summer, beginning the week of July 11, two separate group series will be available online, to meet the growing and diverse needs of clients across New Jersey: One series, scheduled for Tuesday afternoons, introduces concepts around high-conflict relationships, while building self-care and self-esteem. Another, on Wednesday evenings, invites members to listen to, explore and tend to their emotions relating to current and past high-conflict relationships.

Veteran members are welcome to sign up for either series. Many have shared that they benefit from revisiting and bringing a new perspective to this content—and that they find meaning in lending support to new members.

Whether virtually or in-office, Project SARAH continues to work hard to help individuals, families and therapeutic groups navigate and explore high-conflict and abusive relationships. To get more information about these groups, or other Project SARAH services, call 973-777-7638, ext. 300 or email [email protected]

Cara Harmon, LCSW, is a senior Project SARAH team member, presenter and clinician, and has worked extensively with those affected by domestic violence and other forms of trauma.

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