The key to moving on from the pain and loss is awareness and understanding  

  Counselling Services 

A. Face to face Counselling

P.A.T.H.S. provides trained, empathetic, non-judgemental counselling-support for women and men who have lost a preborn through a recent or past abortion. Counselling is also available for grandparents, other family members and friends who may be struggling with a relative or friend's abortion.

We are in the process of developing a weblist of qualified counsellors associated with P.A.T.H.S. so people can access help directly around the country with someone in their vicinity. Currently we have PCPs (P.A.T.H.S. Counselling Partners) in Northland, Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Rangiora, Dunedin, Napier, Tauranga.

Cost: Until 2010 we had provided free counselling through P.A.T.H.S. This has become untenable. Your counsellor's fee is on the weblist but where there is hardship your counsellor may be open to negotiating a manageable fee or you may be eligible for Disability Allowance. Talk this through with your counsellor.

14 Guidepost Programme: For those who would like to work through issues of loss and trauma we use a proven 14 Guidepost Programme The programme is developed from the former USA Victims of Choice's Abortion Recovery Programme and is a person-centred holistic approach to healing after abortion/termination, or any pregnancy-baby loss experience. The manual is based on the training Carolina Gnad has provided as part of the P.A.T.H.S. Seminars. 

I was so angry

I had become so angry with and at everyone. I had two abortions. They weren't my choice really. The first one was when I was 17. He said he would leave me and he did, after I had the abortion. And then at 24 I became pregnant and again he would not support me. I went ahead again with an abortion. Then it hit me what I had done. My grief is unending and I hate him now for all I've been through. The P.A.T.H.S. programme gave me a way to understand myself more and move on past the anger. It felt like my life was over and now I can see things more clearly and feel more positive about the future. I have reclaimed my babies and named them. No-one can take them from me again. It was so helpful to have someone to talk to who didn't judge me or my situation. It felt scary coming at first, but my counsellor was warm and listened and helped me to come to terms with what happened. (M - 20003)

Outline of the Programme

    Guidepost 1: Engagement and storying
    Therapeutic alliance, assessment, preparation
    Guidepost 2: Pre-pregnancy
    Historical context, development and functioning
    Guidepost 3: The pregnancy
    Relationship, circumstances, emotions and reactions
    Guidepost 4: The decision
    Decision-making process, influences and pressures
    Guidepost 5: The event
    Recollection of the abortion/termination day
    Guidepost 6: Adjustment
    Impacts and coping afterwards
    Guidepost 7: Hurts
    Nature of hurts, addressing hurts
    Guidepost 8: Anger
    Feeling angry and working with anger
    Guidepost 9: Judgements
    Anatomy of a judgement, specific judgments
    Guidepost 10: Possible victimhood
    Victim-like behaviour, invitation to change
    Guidepost 11: Guilt
    Types of guilt, resolving guilt
    Guidepost 12: Forgiveness
    Unforgiveness and a process of forgiveness
    Guidepost 13: Continuing bonds
    Maternal bond and remembrance
    Guidepost 14: Moving forward
    Review, celebrate, and new directions

    The important thing is the process of unpacking what happened, and what that has meant for you. Counselling after an abortion is about discovering what is most significant in the experience for you. It is about confronting the reality of the loss(es). It is about seeing the bigger picture of who was involved and how it came about. Self awareness and tuning into feelings is necessary to journey through the grief. Feeling supported to deal with aspects of trauma is vital. This may seem daunting. However, all that is needed is finding the courage to take the first step.

    Reaching out for help is not easy and opening up to someone about such a personal experience can be painful. Some people just need to share their story and feel heard, others want to go through the in-depth programme of healing. P.A.T.H.S. counsellors aim to respond to your individual needs.

    Reaching out for help - hard but good.

    Making the first step to speak to someone was not an easy one as it meant to me that I was no longer in control of myself as I needed to seek help. Despite this I knew what needed to be done. My GP gave me the contact details for The Family Life Pregnancy Centre where I met a counsellor from P.A.T.H.S., and I am so glad that she did. My counsellor taught me that its ok to feel the way that I did, she helped me to look back at the last 5 years and to see my life as on outsider would. She helped me to put everything into perspective and to create a sense of ownership in that the story that I had just told was in fact my story, and that it is what has helped to make me the person that I am. She helped me to grieve which was something that I had never done and most importantly she encouraged me to acknowledge my babies (for I had aborted twins), to allow thoughts of them through and to think of them as part of me and not something to hide away from myself and others. (L 2007)

    Making Contact for Counselling Help

    If you would like to have some counselling for an abortion experience or termination of pregnancy

    B. Email Support

    P.A.T.H.S. also offers email support. Some people find it easier to make contact or share their stories by writing them. We aim to protect people's privacy and email support is confidential. (Confidentiality applies as with any counselling - except for counsellor supervision where identifying details are omitted, and in cases where there is risk of harm to self or others)

    No one to talk to

    I can't say what it was like. I felt so alone with my terrible secret. I didn't know what to do. This shadow followed me wherever I went. It was such a relief to be able to tell someone about it. Sharing it was painful and brought up lots of feelings. But the woman from P.A.T.H.S. listened to my story and I could finally share my grief. I wasn't alone. I will never forget my poor wee baby. (E - 2008)

    If you would like to seek help by email write to Chrissie at chrissie@postabortionpaths.org.nz

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