At Emerge, group sessions are divided into two stages. Each stage has a different format, both of which are described below.
*GROUP MEMBERS ARE EXPECTED TO BE VIOLENCE-FREE TOWARD THEIR PARTNERS AND CHILDREN WHILE ATTENDING EMERGE*
If you have additional questions about what happens during group sessions at Emerge, ask your orientation leader or call or e-mail our office.
Stage One (8 group sessions)
During the first eight group sessions, Emerge provides an educational group model. We have two group leaders who facilitate group discussions and educational material on eight separate topics relating to domestic violence. Group members are expected to participate and consider how this educational information fits into their own relationships.
Also during this stage, group members participate in “short check-ins” every week describing what went on during their week and taking time to consider and discuss particular arguments or challenging conversations they had in their relationships. The “short check-ins” do not take up as much time during the first stage as they do later in the program, but they are an opportunity to practice being a part of a group and identifying things group members need to work on in their relationships.
There are two occasions during this stage where group members are asked to do a “long check-in.” This “long check-in” consists of a “short check-in” as well as the details of group members’ most recent harmful, abusive or violent behavior toward their partner or family. Group members typically do “long check-ins” on their third and their eighth session.
At the end of eight sessions, we write a report about group members’ participation, attendance, and appropriateness for the Emerge program. Our expectation at Emerge is that all group members will identify ways they have been harmful towards their partner or family by the end of the first stage. Group members who are unable to identify such behavior will not be appropriate for our program.
Stage Two (32 group sessions)
During this stage, group is more interactive. Group members spend much more time discussing their “short check-ins” and give more detail about what is going on in their relationships. These groups are open-ended, so there are typically group members that range in experience from their 9th to 40th group session. Group members become better at giving feedback and talking about what they have learned while at Emerge.
Group members also complete individually focused activities such as a “relationship history” and “goals.” In a relationship history, they answer 14 questions about each significant relationship they have been in, and fellow group members give feedback and ask questions. We look for patterns of behavior that can be changed so that they may become a more respectful partner and parent.
Other individual activities include completing “goals.” The individual writes up goals they know they need to work on in order to stop their harmful behavior and become more respectful. While they do this, the rest of the group comes up with goals for that person based on what they have learned about them over time. Another activity involves a “self-evaluation,” where group leaders ask questions to help group members assess their progress in the program in terms of becoming non-abusive and less alienating and insensitive to their partners and children.