The Coastal Community Association has teamed with First United Methodist Church to bring Dr. Pamela Valentine back to lead a series of meetings for Strong Women Supporting Each Other. Dr. Valentine is a Tallahassee therapist and FSU adjunct professor who had already led two meetings here before Christmas for women dealing with the trauma left by Hurricane Michael.

The earlier meetings were focused on learning more about how the “normal progression” of trauma works and how each individual has to deal with it in their own way, based on factors such as their past experiences, own situation, financial and emotional support (or lack of it), and basically how to keep moving forward.

Individuals in the group discussed where they were, how they were trying to cope, and what they needed. Some have lost everything, some very little. Some are not only coping with taking care of themselves, but also helping family and friends. Some discussed being “afraid” for the first time in their lives, while others shared how angry they were at the changes in their lives. Even those who aren’t dealing with the physical damages caused by Michael, noted how they sometimes feel powerless or don’t know how to help their community recover.

Part of each meeting will be a short talk by Dr. Valentine on how to deal with different aspects of living through this time. After this, the group will break up into focus groups to discuss different issues such as: dealing with their anger, being supportive of others, ways to set positive boundaries with family members, how to foster hope and recognizing the positive steps forward.

The next meeting will be held Thursday, January 31, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church’s Great Hall. Pastor Lentz noted, “We want to be a part of the healing and strengthening process for our community and are happy to be able to support this group.” The full schedule of meetings will be available by then.

New participants are welcome.