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Women Recovering from Abuse Program marks 20th anniversary

July 9, 2018

By Atifa Hamir

The Women Recovering from Abuse Program (WRAP) at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) celebrated its 20th anniversary on July 6, bringing to light the success of the program along with awareness that such services are still as important as they were when the program first opened.

“As a team, we’re incredibly happy to be celebrating this anniversary and reflecting on the people we’ve helped over the years,” says Eva-Marie Stern, art therapist and one of the original founders of the program. “However, it isn’t lost on us that this anniversary is also a sad reflection of the fact that there are still so many people looking for help and validation.”

WRAP is an intensive group therapy and individual therapy program for women who have experienced physical, emotional, sexual abuse and/or neglect in their childhood. Many of the women are dealing with various trauma-related symptoms including anxiety, numbing, flashbacks, problems with self-esteem, difficulties with relationships and more.

The program’s inter-disciplinary team includes psychiatrists, art therapists, social workers, occupational therapists, psychotherapists, psychologists and nurses, all of whom have specialized training in trauma care. Working with only eight patients at a time, the team serves roughly 100 patients a year. Many have sought help in the past but haven’t found it.

“We established WRAP to decrease misdiagnoses and unhelpful hospitalizations and we have succeeded in that," says Stern. " Many women have come to us without a basic understanding of why they’re suffering so much, or what might help them. We offer survivors a foundation of awareness and safety to build on.”

As movements like Me Too help women feel more comfortable coming forward about their experiences, Stern hopes that the program can continue to provide a safe, restorative place for survivors for many years to come.

“The increase in women speaking out and seeking help just strengthens the need for unique services like WRAP,” reflects Stern. “If we can continue to help women regain hope and develop the tools to deal with their trauma, then we are doing what we have set out to do."

To learn more about the program and its referral process, click here.

 The Women Recovering from Abuse Program (WRAP)


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