It’s not really that long ago that psychotherapy and counselling were viewed as something that should be kept a secret. But times have, thankfully, changed. More and more of us are benefiting from this useful tool for mental and emotional wellbeing.
Specialist counselling service for adults who have suffered from sexual abuse including rape and their non-offending family members.
We are set up to provide a quality specialist service in North Devon for any adult who identifies with being a survivor or victim of sexual abuse including rape.
Online groups only until 2022.
Please contact Russell on 07773 151080 to leave a message, or email here.
We have been running a successful Women’s peer support group this year and we meet every Wednesday at 12 Noon. Please contact Josie for more details. These groups will be held by our experienced volunteer Viki.
If you and your partner are experiencing relationship difficulties as a result of sexual abuse and/or rape then you can access short-term solution-focussed couple therapy with us. This will consist of 6 – 8 sessions and will be the low cost of £30.00 the cost for counselling for each hourly session. Please email or phone Josephine to express an interest on 07763 617693 or leave a message here.
Please get in contact if you have any questions about the project.
Jonathan Harris is a counsellor and psychotherapist who trained to work with adults, families, children and adolescents. He was the counselling manager at Bedford Open Door Counselling Service and trained counsellors and child psychotherapists in Milton Keynes and London for many years. He was the child psychotherapist at Romans Field School in Milton Keynes, before moving to Devon. He works in private practice with clients as well as offering supervision to other therapists and professionals. His website is jonathanharriscounselling.co.uk
My name is Sally Ornellas and I have been working in the field of mental health and wellbeing for over 30 years. I qualified as an Occupational therapist in 1993, helping individuals and groups find ways to adapt to physical, mental and emotional distress/disability, enjoying posts in Social services and the NHS, all within the local area of North Devon. Sally Ornellas This led to a period of time working with those with long term mental health problems, often preceded by some traumatic experience. Whilst working within NHS department of Psychology I trained to lead Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Stress Reduction (MBCT & MBSR) groups in Barnstaple. During my time in the local Depression and Anxiety Service (DAS) I gained a post-graduate diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) from Exeter University. Following on from this I qualified as an EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitisation & Reprocessing) therapist and it is this therapy that I intend to offer at SAND. I favour an holistic approach to recovery and since retiring from the NHS in 2014 I work privately, offering a combination of the above methods of treatment along with Shiatsu massage and Yoga. You can find find more information on my website yogabreathing.co.uk
My name is Caitlin and I help out with the social media at SAND. I love learning, teaching and researching so really enjoy the opportunity to gain and spread knowledge through SAND’s social media. I work as a private tutor and I’m currently studying for my PhD; while my work is literature and history based, I’m also writing on trauma. I’ve been lucky enough to audit a BSc in Psychology and this has motivated me in taking other courses that prioritise helping and understanding others. Caitlin Cronin I like to think that working with children has helped me develop me into a kind, patient and enthusiastic listener. I place a lot of value on empathy and understanding. If there’s ever anything that has helped you in coping and surviving, please send me a message on SAND’s Facebook or Instagram as I would love to share it to help others. As a survivor myself, it took me years to acknowledge what had happened to me. I found that once I admitted to being a survivor, it became really obvious that out of all of my friends and family members, no woman or member of the LGBTQ+ community hadn’t experienced some form of sexual harassment, assault or abuse. This made me determined to help within the community as much as possible, whether it’s through petitions, my PhD, spreading knowledge, or social media! My studies are focused on making academia a more equal place, free of discrimination; one of the things I love most about SAND is that we acknowledge anyone can be a survivor, and we are here to help you all. Best wishes Caitlin Cronin
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SAND Founder and Director
My name is Karen Black and I founded Survivors Alliance North Devon CIC at the end of 2016. I felt compelled to do more to help the many people in North Devon that I was both seeing and hearing about who were coming forward to talk about their sexual abuse. This included men and women. My whole life’s work and nearly 35 years training and experience enable me to offer you an authentic and responsive service. I have worked as a Metropolitan Police Officer (as a specially trained Sexual Offences Investigation Officer); in addiction rehabilitation centres; Women’s' refuges; family assessment centres and in private practice as a therapist. This allows me to work sensitively with a vast array of issues that people who have been subject to offences of sexual violation frequently suffer from as a result of their trauma. I consider myself to be a professional and warm counsellor. My core training is 'person centred' which means that you are at the heart of everything we do. You are in the driving seat and the agenda is yours. I undergo regular CPD (continual professional development) and have a vested interest in learning all I can about trauma and the body. I am additionally trained in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), telephone work and as a couples counsellor. I am also a supervisor of other therapists. I am a registered member of BACP (British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy) and am fully insured, hold a current DBS and am registered with ICO(Information Commissioners Office). I identify as being a 'survivor' myself. Please get in contact if you have any questions about the project.
SAND Founder and Director
A sexual abuse survivor, Russell Dawson, is bringing a support group for male victims to North Devon, the group is called moMENtum. A support group founded by a sexual abuse survivor is joining forces with a successful counselling service to bring care and help to North Devon victims. Russell Dawson now lives in Braunton but co-founded moMENtum, a peer support group for non-offending adult male survivors of child sexual abuse, when he was based in Exeter. The 48-year-old was a victim of recently-released North Devon paedophile policeman Danny Bryant, and said working with the group for the past five years had helped him when he was struggling with life and with mental health problems. Russell said: “There is help out there, it’s difficult to access sometimes, especially for male survivors. Finding the safe way of getting that help is important. If something bad happens when they first disclose what has happened they are likely to just shut down again and not get help. Please contact Russell on 07773 151080 and leave a message, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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I moved here a year ago to be close to my family and to get more support. A friend mentioned SAND and I have started CRM therapy with them. I’d been stuck on waiting lists up to then, getting a 3 monthly phone call to check I’m still there, because those services are just so overtaxed. I like that it offers alternatives to talking therapy. My previous experience of talk therapy was phone counselling, which made everything worse, so I knew that I didn’t want that. They recommended CRM. It’s less focused on talking and reliving the experiences. I’ve had lots of health problems and SAND have been really supportive with that. It’s made me feel more supported, legitimised and validated in what I’m going through when I go to see the GP or the consultant. There’s just something so healing in being heard and acknowledged. The first few sessions of CRM were half talking and half CRM, they were very therapeutic, like meditation, and also building up trust. In one session, I got the feeling that I get when I’m having a panic attack. I described the feelings to my therapist, and we used the CRM technique to calm me down. It wasn’t pleasant, but I could see how to calm myself, relax; go back to the safe place of the meditation, in just one minute!
Usually, if I have a panic attack it takes me an hour to get back to myself. We used the breathing techniques and the eye movements of CRM. I know now that I can do that for myself. It’s really exciting! I get night terrors and sleep paralysis; SAND has given me lots of coping mechanisms to cope with those. I’ve lived with these things for a couple of years now without proper support. I now realise that there are all these techniques that I could have been using……. It’s great!
I moved here from somewhere where I had a lot support, but I had none here. I paid a private counsellor while I was floating around the NHS mental health team. I was on their waiting lists, but never saw anyone; I was still on those lists when I went to SAND. I learned a lot, and I still use it. It opened my eyes to things; I began to realise areas where I felt safe and where I could go if I needed to. Before, I couldn’t see what I had in my life that was important. It’s made a massive difference. Before, sex life, personal life was awful. I had no understanding of myself and my feelings. Now I’m in a 5-year relationship, because my behaviour and my actions have changed. I’ve held down a job, my relationship with my family is better and with the adults I work with. The past five years, I’ve been staying in one town, with one job and one relationship – that’s the first time ever. Before SAND, it’d break down in a year, year and a half maximum. I’ve got complex PTSD, which has been diagnosed since and I’m now on a course. How I feel about myself goes up and down, but now I have the grounding from SAND to keep me safe and to carry on; it’s led to that stability. I’d have been dead if I hadn’t seen them. I still get suicidal ideas, but I feel safe with all the tools that SAND has given me and I’ll use the Crisis Team if needed. I don’t self-harm anymore; because I know where to turn now
I came out of (Rehab) treatment and went to Narcotics Anonymous and Momentum (a peer support group for male survivors of sexual abuse). They put me in touch with SAND. There was a lot of violence in my childhood – physical, emotional, sexual. I have big reactions to things, I get physically shocked by things - I’m still expecting something terrible to happen. There are builders next door now, and sometimes they go quiet and then suddenly they make a loud noise, even that sets me off. With a lot of my (therapy) experiences, they were just looking for what’s wrong with you, SAND helped me to see that the way I see everything is a normal reaction to my situation, it’s not that there’s something wrong with me. I felt safe for the first time. It was the first time I spoke about a lot of stuff. I relied on drugs or medication for many years; I don’t need that now. I used to be a violent, hostile person, I’m not now. It’s changed who I am; it’s given me freedom from my trauma. SAND has helped me to breathe. In the past I felt I had to fight the world, I never felt I could have any fun before, I do now. I can express myself better now; it’s allowed me to find out who I am - I’d never explored who I was before. I suffer from nightmares, they haven’t gone, but they’re much better now. I don’t wake up screaming anymore or sweating so much that I have to change the bed. I’d never built trust in friendships and relationships before; I’m able to trust others now and myself too. I have formed a loving relationship with my partner. It’s allowing me to feel that it’s okay; I’m normal based on what I went through; there is nothing wrong with me. I’d never had sex “clean” before – without drink or drugs. I can do that now, because I have a loving relationship with a partner. I’d never kept a job for more than 6 months or so before, I’m able to do that now. It’s given me a life, I never had one before. I was in and out of hostels and prisons. Now I’m able to maintain a quality of life. I pay my bills, my rent; I support others going through the things that I experienced.