Addressing Long-Term Needs
Kristy’s House is very grateful to be able to offer free, weekly group therapy to its clients. The group is led by Cynthia Schwomeyer, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, CISM, and Crisis Specialist. Cynthia leads a weekly group of women who have prostitution charges through Community Court, but the short-term process isn’t able to effectively address the long-term needs of this population. Through the Kristy’s House offering, women are allowed to stay as long as they want, and with the types of trauma within this specific population, long-term care is vital.
This closed-group utilizes a psychodynamic, therapeutic approach. New participants are allowed to join every eight weeks. This creates an environment of trust where participants feel safe revealing their emotions and experiences. The group is limited to twelve participants and will take referrals from other organizations if there is availability, provided they fit the criteria for participation.
Changing the Course of a Dangerous Lifestyle
Therapy is something that is needed for most of this population, and trauma-informed care is the most important aspect. Whether clients come through Community Court, Kristy’s House, or other avenues, they all have at least one thing in common: trauma. Once you begin to peel back the layers, adverse childhood experiences are at the core, in addition to the additional trauma occurring as a result of living a dangerous lifestyle.
According to a Newsweek article from July of 2011 titled “The Growing Demand For Prostitution”, the average age of death for prostitutes is 34. The American Journal of Epidemiology reported that prostitutes suffer a “workplace homicide rate” 51 times higher than that of the next most dangerous occupation, working in a liquor store. Murder, overdose, and health issues are all too common for those who don’t change paths.
Further, many Kristy’s House clients who are or were prostitutes were first sexually abused and/or trafficked at some point as minors or adults.
While individual therapy is equally important, the benefit of group therapy is that participants understand that they are not alone and that there are others who can sympathize with their experiences and issues without the fear of being stigmatized or judged. It is our great and humble pleasure to be able to provide this service for our clients.