STORY BY JESSIE SPANGLER
Walking into the Wesley House on a Monday night, Drake students can find the healthy relationships support group talking in a confidential setting about their current and past relationships.
The group is backed by the Crisis Intervention Services and Domestic Violence Services, two local organizations.
The group was created to help students find a safe place to move forward from abusive relationships in the past or learn more about healthy relationships.
The group meets every Monday night and is a resource for students who have questions about relationships, or are looking for support from others who have had similar experiences.
Melissa Ulrickson, a sexual assault advocate with Crisis Intervention Services and a campus outreach specialist, and Stacey Granger, a domestic violence advocate with Children and Families of Iowa, facilitate the group.
“The healthy relationships group offers a safe and comfortable environment for students to discuss healthy and unhealthy relationships,” Ulrickson said.
The idea of this group is to connect students with other students so they do not feel as alone with whatever circumstance they are in or have experienced.
“Learning to interact with group members in healthy ways increases the ability of participants to recognize healthy relational patterns outside of the group,” Ulrickson said. “Groups connect people that may have shared experiences or concerns that might not otherwise have found each other.”
The support group covers physically violent relationships, as well as emotionally and mentally abusive ones.
This group is open to anyone wishing to learn more about how to find healthy relationships, or learn more about ones that are abusive.
“Some people have experienced abuse from a partner, parent or someone else and would like a place to process, heal or move forward,” Ulrickson said. “Others may have had difficulty with a particular person or relationships in general and would like clarity as to why or desire help with choosing healthier relationships. Others may just have questions or want to learn more about this topic.”
The group setting allows for those learning how to create healthy relationships to increase their awareness.
“Groups often normalize experiences or feelings that may have felt isolating or embarrassing,” Ulrickson said. “Groups provide opportunities to learn from others and increase self-awareness.”
The healthy relationships support group meets every Monday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wesley House. The Wesley House is located across the street from Cowles Library.