Good Hope Garden of Healing
On 10 October 2014, Mental Health Day, the symbolic garden ‘Place of Reflection and Healing’ was opened. This creative garden at the TC Newman District Community Health Clinic, depicts the trauma of rape and the therapeutic healing process. The garden was cultivated by the support group for psychiatric patients in Paarl under the competent guidance of our clinical pastoral counsellor, Sara van Tonder.
This psychiatric support group is a subsection of GHPS. It has 70 members and meets once a month. Eighteen group members work in the garden three Saturdays a month. The Support Group and their carers focus on reaching out to others, raising funds and implementing various projects. TC Newman clinic has given the group part of the garden to develop as a therapeutic garden. The group started a vegetable garden and also helps propagating plants for the therapeutic garden.
The garden has been used in various projects since its opening. Dr Deborah Bedford-Strohm from Germany used the garden in February 2019 when she presented a course in trauma using sand play therapy. A group from Europe, The Executive MBA Health Care Management students have visited the garden, and it was used to train 5th year medical students about rape.
In 2016 the garden, together with two other psychiatric projects, was entered in a competition run by the Department of Health and TC Newman and won the James Claassen integrated Service Award for a holistic and integrated approach to mental health.
A copy of a piece written in our annual report of 2017 portrays the value of the support group:
“Only one of the 54 group members were hospitalized this year. This was an important milestone for the group. The goal of a psycho-social education group such as this one is to foster greater insight into their illness through training. Also, the social cohesion between the group members causes them to look out for one another and notice any behaviour changes. They can then keep each other accountable regarding aspects like the taking of medication. Training comprises half of the group meetings. Subjects covered this year included depression, schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder. Other themes we explored were self-image and personal growth.”
Stories of Hope
Brief aan ander slagoffers
You gave me hope
Nou kan ek weer die lig sien
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Why is naming trauma important
Information for friends, family of rape survivors
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