Support groups can be amazingly beneficial activities. When you sit together with others who have gone through some of the same challenges and trials, it can be healing to speak with them and share thoughts and feelings. You know that the others in the support group understand completely and have also encountered many of the same emotions, pain, and struggles. They may still be going through them.
But ask yourself a simple question: Will the support group offer healing, to the degree that you seek?
It can be very difficult to gauge the actual effectiveness of any support group unless it is extremely clear about its methods and goals. This may seem less idyllic as you begin to seek out a group for healing, but it is far more beneficial.
As an illustration of this, a woman or man who is struggling in the aftermath of an abortion may want to speak with others who are dealing with the same emotional or (in the case of a woman) physical pain. While this is a good idea, not all groups will be effective.
A woman may find that several of the other women in their support group carry anger towards all men or blame God for what has happened. Men may find that a few of the men in their group focus on victimization instead of healing. Everyone may work hard to help these individuals, and this can impede the work that the group should be doing.
A Healing Path
The support groups following the Healing Hearts model, however, are designed specifically to avoid the issues that prevent healing. They are equal parts ministry and support group, and they have very clear guidelines for members to ensure that all participants understand the process and its many benefits – if those guidelines are followed.
After all, the Healing Hearts post-abortion trauma groups explain right at the start that your work does not begin and end at the door. There is a lot of homework, there are options for counseling and their aims are extremely clear. As they say in their publication “The Hem of His Garment”:
“We believe that the God Who made us is the only One who is able to fix us, and that the only true healing is found in the Word of God. All of us who are now involved in Healing Hearts tried many different avenues of healing and none of them had lasting effects. It wasn’t until we turned completely to God that we found peace and restoration for our souls and were set free.”
To access this healing, the groups use very specific rules that steer each participant towards peace and healing. For example, punctuality and preparedness are important, commitment is key, faithfulness to the program must be maintained and absences may require someone to begin again. These support groups use prayer to guide healing, indicating that “quiet time with God is a vital part of your healing process”. The groups emphasize politeness to one another, and ask that advice is not given unless supported by Scripture. Naturally, like any support group, the Healing Hearts groups emphasize confidentiality as well.
Scripture, Truth and Healing
However, it is through the truth of the Scriptures where these groups set themselves apart and promote true healing. While the guidelines ask participants to “speak the truth in love” by forgoing advice and responding to comments or thoughts only through the conduit of the Scriptures, are excellent, the Goals of the groups are also built upon them.
Recognizing the symptoms of post-abortion trauma, these groups address them with Scriptures focused on encouragement and hope, faith in God, confession of sins, repentance and cleansing, belief, and becoming mature in Christ.
Whether a man or woman, and regardless of the circumstances that brought you to a support group for those with post-abortion trauma, you must choose one that ensures healing. Visit Healing Hearts Ministries to find out more about a post-abortion trauma support group.