The Cedar programme is a concurrent programme model for children, young people and their mothers. Concurrent means running in parallel and acting in conjunction with; this describes the content and structure of the groups.
For example, typically, mother’s group takes place during the same time frame as their children’s group. In addition, the mother’s group work programme also mirrors the children’s programme and the weekly sessions run in parallel. The concurrent model is a key element of the programme and contributes to the therapeutic and positive outcomes for families.
The children and young person’s group is a structured 12 week programme with sessions taking place once a week and lasting for 1½ hours allowing ample time for group discussion and process. The group aims to help children identify and express emotions surrounding hurting, separation, shame, guilt and loss. The sessions are designed to provide fun, creative, activities to explore intense feelings and create a safe space for children to share their experiences.
Children and young people are encouraged to recognise and understand the importance of their feelings and given opportunities to deal with them constructively. The strengths-based child-centred approach is focused on helping children understand domestic abuse and recognise that it is not their fault, whilst the emphasis on developing safety plans is to minimise risk in the event of further exposure to abuse.
Each week these key themes and topics are reflected in the mother’s session and coordinating the groups so the mother is able to attend her session before the CYP session enables mothers to better support their children. Mothers and children are supported to reflect and develop their shared understanding of their shared experiences.
Co-facilitators deliver the group programme alongside the Cedar co-ordinators. Co-facilitators from partner agencies have baseline knowledge of the programme and necessary group work skills. They bring their own particular skills, knowledge and experience to the group work process. Groups for children are best run with a mix of genders; this can be particularly important with teen groups.
Find out more what happens during a group work session
Just that I’m so glad I stuck with it and braved talking about some of my personal feelings and problems.