Wednesday Evening Open House for Individuals or Group Studio Visits


Support Activities Developed by:
Michael C. Irving, Ph.D., Sculptor/Coach and Counselor



Sculptor, coach and counselor, Michael Irving, worked with project participants during the making of the Monument to employ personal care activities that would be helpful to survivors.

We hope you will be encouraged to use our lists for your own self help. These lists can be printed off the Internet. Even more valuable is to download the lists into a text file and rework them so they are individualized to your needs and personal lifestyle. You are free to make copies of these strategy lists and give them to a friend or one of your support people.


I have become real.
My hand is my face and voice in the world.
The experience of the past has
created lines of care and work
Scars of joy and pain.

I am real. I trust.
I am my true self.
I have been lost,
I was violated,
Now I am healing.

The presence of peace
Spiritual, certainty that
I am meant to be here as I am.

Hope of healing, spark of life
Creating growth, change, love
A star of hope and strength.

Gifts of courage are mine for today.
Reaching out, reaching in,
Quiet strength.

I feel the presence of a healing tear
Not weeping but understanding
and cleansing, joyous, nurturing.

The rose I have been given is
My beauty inside and out.
I do not need to be afraid of beauty.
Like the rose I am strong, delicate, fragrant
All shades of red to pure white.



Visit the

Quilt Square
Meditation Pools





Be still my heart
right from the start
the love I had, left pain
Tears, fear hurt and shame
Which held me there
I was chained and puzzled
Emotionally I couldn’t fly
Now I’m freed with knowing
I’m empowered now and not alone
Alive once again.






The doors slam shut
and I am left in the room.
It is cold and dark.
The sun is shining outside
but I cannot see the light.
I am alone and no one
can help me.
So where are the keys to
unlock the doors?
They are in my pocket
for who else holds
the keys but I,
A traveler on the road of life.






I will bounce back
I am a survivor
Bring back the dreams
I once desired.

Believe in yourself
You have no choice
Speak your mind
And use your voice!







Survivors need a list of normal life activities and self care. During development, the numbing response to the abuse often meant that, though you were physically there, you missed out on the learning skills that other children were experiencing. In addition, neglect is often associated with environments where abuse occurs. A child who is neglected misses out on learning roles and modeling around normal activities.

In shutting down against the trauma and pain, the victim of abuse learns to ignore their body and other needs. It becomes easy to neglect self care, needs and wants. Lists can be quite valuable for reference, particularly when you are under stress or when you anticipate stressful circumstances arising. If you reach a point of crisis, they are a must.

The more difficult a time you are having, the harder it is to remember the things that help you to manage the stress. In effect, the greater your need is, the less you are able to provide for and look after yourself.

Turning to a list that you made when feeling good is a way of using your grounded mind to help you when you are having a difficult time.



Write Down Even the Obvious

Some things on your coping lists may seem obvious when all is going well, but the obvious is not always easily available when you are facing despair or flashbacks. The mind numbs and fogs out as a means of getting through overwhelming feelings.

When you are in a triggered state, it may not occur to you to go for a brisk walk or to ask yourself if you have eaten. If you turn to a list, something is likely to stand out and you can benefit from doing that activity.

Make your list over a period of time rather than all at once. Work on the list at different times of the day, when you are in different moods. Your perceptions, creativity and problem solving abilities change dramatically while feeling good, bad, angry, tired or empowered. The various insights from each of these moods have their own unique strengths.

As stated before, write down the obvious along with your other less obvious strategies for coping.



Vary Between the Novel and the Familiar

When using a stress reduction and coping technique, occasionally vary what you do. The technique you use every time to relax will eventually grow stale and may lose much of the original effect. Conversely, use some of your tried and true responses because as they become habitual, they click on easily due to familiarity.



Four activity lists that are helpful for survivors are:

1. Daily/weekly activities to TAKE CARE of YOURSELF and STAY HEALTHY.
2. What to do to CREATE BOUNDARIES.
3. What to do to RELIEVE STRESS.
4. What to do COPE WITH CRISIS.


This is my recipe for
dealing with stressful
life events, not how to
make zucchini bread!
Julie Atwood



I survived the abuse!
I will survive
the memory!



For Chrys and Melanie:
Hope the rest of your
life is filled with joy -
you deserve it!













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*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)


*All Rights Reserved 2012