Life Span believes that when given correct information, and a safe environment to ask questions and learn about resources, any client can become his/her own best advocate, and develop a safety plan that works. Life Span does not provide therapy. The reason for this distinction is that the word "therapy" is borrowed from a medical model that diagnoses a physical or emotional disease or disorder which requires cure or treatment. We do not consider abused victims to be sick or disabled. In situations where clients may need more intensive addiction or mental health services, we will refer them to other community agencies that have demonstrated expertise in these issues.
The goal of Life Span’s Adult Counseling services is to help victims create a safety plan, to educate them about all available options, and to empower victims to reach their goals. Through individual counseling sessions, experienced counselors provide clients the opportunity to share their experiences, explore their options and develop their potential.
Life Span has also developed time-limited, issue-focused groups to address specific concerns expressed by clients, such as self-esteem, divorce, separation, and parenting issues.
The Teen Counseling Program addresses two needs in the community. First, it offers intervention services to teens experiencing domestic violence at home or dating violence in their own relationships. Secondly, the program addresses the broader issue of prevention of violence in our society by educating teens on how to construct nonviolent solutions to problems.
Life Span's Teen Program is offered in host schools serving the northwest suburban community. The program is staffed by two counselors who work with a teen audience of boys and girls. The counselors have developed an extensive curriculum with experiential activities to reinforce the messages of non-violent conflict resolution, healthy relationships, and positive role models.
Life Span is dedicated to preventing teens from being victimized by abusive relationships. Our prevention work has two goals:
- Teach teens to avoid or escape abusive relationships
- Help teens build healthy relationships
Two staff members are available to come to your school to give a brief presentation in the classroom. These workshops are ideal for health, marriage and family, and self defense PE classes. Within these workshops we cover topics including:
- Myths and Facts
- Defining Abuse and Violence
- Safety Planning
- Orders of Protection
- Assertive Communication
Group Work - Within Schools
One of the best ways that our agency can address the issue of domestic violence is within smaller, long term groups. These groups are run during school, within the school. While the content of these groups is similar to the workshops, this setting gives group members a chance to feel safe and explore the issues listed above in the context of past and current relationships.
Crisis interventions are our agency’s response to serious dating violence situations. Our agency’s focus in crisis interventions is to help restore power and choice to the victim in the relationship. This can include creating a uniquely tailored safety plan that includes getting an order of protection, collaborating with school staff and creating a plan to leave. Restoring power and choice to the victim also means allowing the victim to choose when to leave, and supporting our clients with counseling until they are ready.
Life Span also helps teens who have been exposed to violence between their parents. This can be an extremely terrifying experience for young people and can possibly lead to post traumatic stress disorder. For teens that have experienced domestic violence, Life Span seeks to help them feel safe within counseling sessions so they can begin to address their experiences and come to terms with them. We also seek to help teens safety plan for themselves if they still live in a home where domestic violence is present.
Experienced children’s counselors assist children whose parents are victims of domestic violence and who themselves are engaged with a Life Span counselor. Life Span’s Children’s Counseling promotes nonviolent self expression and conflict resolution skills. The goal of this intervention is to interrupt the inter-generational cycle of violence and victimization. Children's services are provided in both structured counseling group settings, as well as in individual counseling sessions. In some cases, Life Span staff will work jointly with both children and parents in family sessions.