Breaking the silence - information, hope and healing after abortion

  Post Abortion Seminar 

UPCOMING SEMINARS - Two day post abortion seminars

“I struggled alone with my pain. I was hounded by guilt, and couldn’t tell anyone. Who would understand? Who would not judge me?”

“I had not realised how much the abortion had affected me and what it was doing to my life or how it had impacted my relationships. Coming for counseling was hard, but I kept coming because it helped me to uncover what happened and make some sense of it and why I was feeling the way I was and acted the way I did.”

“My relationship with my partner ended a few years after the abortion. I felt hopeless and the grief of losing my baby and losing the man in my life was huge. Abortion grief is not like other griefs. It is harder to talk about because I did it. No matter what I tell myself in my head my heart aches for my baby”

Responding to the needs of people affected by abortion/termination is a sensitive matter and requires understanding of many factors to assist one to engage well and support a person to share their story.

Post Abortion Seminars target professionals – counsellors, psychotherapists and social workers, doctors, nurses, midwives… and others in helping caring roles in the community and churches, pastors, and pastoral care people…. and anyone with an interest in the subject.

Participants are invited to take from the seminar what is useful in their practice and roles.

At the end of the seminar participants will

  • explore spectrum of belief and effects on self in helping role

  • identify contexts in which abortion decisions occur and common reasons for abortion
  • identify possible impacts of an abortion experience – physical, psychological and spiritual, relationships

  •  identify risk factors for negative abortion reactions

  • identify role and impacts for men

  • identify stages of foetal development

  • have a step by step framework to use as a guide through a process towards healing / recovery

A Typical Seminar covers the following


        - Stats, views / beliefs

        - Influences in abortion decision-making

        - Reasons for abortion



        - Possible physical complications

        - Women at risk & risk factors for negative abortion reactions

        - Psychological effects including depression, PTSD and associated problems

        - Grief and abortion

        - Spiritual effects and considerations - guilt and shame






When: Thursday 1 and Friday 2nd March 2018
Time: 9.30 to 4 pm each day
Where: The Arahura Centre, 406 Barrington Street, Christchurch
For more details email carolina@postabortionpaths.org.nz


    When: Friday 10th and Saturday 11th August 2018
    Where: Greenstone Doors, Wellington
    For more information contact Wendy 027  254 9222 
        or email  info@greenstonedoors.co.nz

For those who has done the two day seminar before, to gain more insight and experiential learning around post abortion support
    When: Friday 24th August 10am - 2.30pm
    Where: Venue TBA, Hamilton   
    For more information contact Dawn d.dewitt@xtra.co.nz

    When: Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 August 2018, 9.30am - 4.30pm
    Where: Venue TBA, Hamilton   
    For more information contact Dawn d.dewitt@xtra.co.nz

If you are interested in offering this seminar to your local counsellors, doctors, nurses, social workers, pastors and community workers please contact us for more information at 

For more information or to book a seminar

Phone or email admin@postabortionpaths.org.nz

Reflections on Facilitating Seminars

by Carolina Gnad

Facilitating post abortion seminars over the years has been interesting and at times challenging. In the seminars I endeavour to create a safe forum for exploration around pregnancy, abortion and termination related issues in New Zealand, sharing around the possible short or long term impacts of abortion/termination using a holistic approach, and offering and discussing a process for journeying with someone around healing. The seminars also provide opportunities for individuals to share more personally from their personal and professional experiences.

It is important for those attending to come to understand themselves in relation to the issues and to know their “position” before they can hope to assist others who may be affected. This means that these seminars are not merely academic in nature - they are interactive with some self reflective exercises and group processes. The difficulty is having a group of diverse people come together exploring in and around what is traditionally a very sensitive, contentious and divided subject.

Invariably the two day seminars are very intense - there is much material to cover, and it can stir up strong emotions as what people share can trigger reactions amongst participants. The group of participants is like a mix or melting pot of society with a range of views and experiences. Holding the differences and managing the tensions in the room is not always easy. Generally there is a healthy professional acceptance of differences amongst participants as they grapple with what is presented or deal with what emerges from the various dialogues. Sometimes however personal views and feelings spill over, and it takes much effort and energy to keep things on track so that most can benefit from the learnings and experience of the seminar.

The invitation in the seminar is to broaden our perspectives, to become more self aware in the process, to expand our knowledge and gain new insights around the issues that surround abortion and termination for the individuals and health professionals involved. I find that there is multi layered challenges for participants often around balancing personal experiences and responses in relation to professional responsibilities and sometimes workplace culture and constraints.

I am always challenged in myself too, with my own personal beliefs, and what I have come to see and understand through my work with clients post termination. Developing the seminar is an ongoing process as I too learn more and grow in my awareness and knowledge. I cannot always meet everyone’s needs or expectations and that is hard, however for the most part, if people go away with some new insights, something to add to their practice toolkit, and develop a willingness to engage more constructively and fruitfully around the issues then for me it is worthwhile.

Often participants will feed back how grateful they are to have somewhere to talk around pregnancy and abortion related issues without needing to get into wild debates over the issues. Also pastoral and health or counselling professionals find the 10 Step Programme really useful for post abortion recovery but also for use with other losses and trauma issues.

Some participants comments from the Christchurch, Napier and Auckland Seminars this year:

Very informative. …. It was healing for myself

Clear coherent information. Very accepting and gentle style. Well paced, engaging.

Very helpful and relevant. Comfortable and safe to talk about personal stuff. Good handouts.

Very full and excellent content. Non abrasive style, easy to understand.

A lot of information to absorb. Comprehensive handouts and excellent content. The understanding of all the factors involved for women around abortion was very interesting and the 10 Steps to working with post abortion loss and trauma was very helpful. Also the opportunity for networking professionally was good. The whole seminar was a definite plus for professional development. I was definitely challenged in my thinking around abortion issues. Would have liked a bit more info on helping men involved in abortion.

I love Carolina’s down to earth style and gentle approach, though very good in answering difficult questions and bringing people back on track if things get out of hand. At times difficult, but that is due to my own abortion experience and journey. It would be good to do a follow up on the group in about six months. Would definitely recommend seminar to others.

A remarkably safe way of presenting the issue. What was most interesting was seeing the apparent and real voicelessness in the abortion process.

I think Carolina was a really thoughtful, open presenter, very inclusive. What was helpful was Carolina’s take on occupying a professional stance of the middle-ground on the continuum. The ten step model – I will use this. And interesting was the holistic consideration of who else is affected: fathers, families, other children etc. I liked it that it was challenging and I got a lot out of it.

I have gained deeper insights around the decision-making at the time of abortion which is the area that I am involved in. Many women I see have also had previous TOPs and I feel better able to understand some the the likely unresolved issues that they may have experienced since their previous TOPs....

Personally I appreciated hearing the different positions that people held as they were negotiating their own values and beliefs around abortion. There were moments that I even felt angry as I listened to some strong judgemental remarks, but this reminded me that I had to work through my own values and beliefs to find a safe position to enter into working with women in a clinical practice role. This is a difficult topic for people to grapple with and Carolina managed this so respectfully, a wonderful teacher.

I would recommend this seminar to others, and I would love to see this training or an adaptation of this to be accredited by the ASC (Abortion Supervisory Committee) as it was clear to me from the last APGANZ Conference that social workers and counsellors working frontline were expressing a great lack of support around training in this area.


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