Unique Life Plan

Unique Life Plan

Unique Life Plan (ULP)

Courage House will provide a comprehensive, holistic, Unique Life Plan (ULP) for each girl at Courage House. These rescued girls will be provided a safe place to heal as their physical, emotional, psychological, psychosocial, spiritual, educational, and reintegration needs are met. The following is a brief synopsis of the needs that will be a part of each girls’ ULP.

Body

Body

Children who have experienced the evil of sex trafficking and complex trauma display intense and often volatile emotions. They have difficulty with self-regulation, experience chronic depressed moods, feel a sense of emptiness or deadness, have chronic suicidal preoccupation, display excessive expressions of anger, and have difficulty communicating wishes and desires. They experience dissociation, amnesia, and numbing out. They have difficulty in controlling impulses, exhibit self-destructive and aggressive behavior, find sleep unattainable, struggle with eating disorders and substance abuse, and have difficulty understanding and complying with rules and respecting those in authority. Some are sexually aggressive and have confusion over their sexual orientation. Many are suspicious and distrustful, have problems with boundaries, and are unable to attach emotionally. Low or no self-esteem is extremely common as are feelings of shame, guilt, and self-hate. They are literally drowning in emotions.

These behaviors and symptoms are common to individuals diagnosed with PTSD, common to those who have experienced complex trauma, and are very normal to our girls. When our girls are in survival mode, living on the streets, they have the ability to stuff their feelings. Many of them have been doing this for years. Identifying and experiencing long-denied emotions is extremely difficult and painful.

After much research and consultation with mental health professionals, each girl’s ULP at Courage House incorporates therapy with a licensed mental health professional who specializes in trauma. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) as well as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) are evidence-based treatment approaches shown to help children, adolescents, and their caretakers overcome trauma-related difficulties as well as symptoms of PTSD. These therapies are designed to reduce negative emotional and behavioral responses. The treatment addresses distorted beliefs and attributions related to the abuse and provides a supportive environment in which children are encouraged to talk about their traumatic experience.

Restoring a child’s emotions is a long and often complicated process. It requires highly trained professional staff members who exhibit their own emotional health and wholeness, who have immense patience and thick skin. At Courage House, we have found that the restoration process is accelerated by having a warm, safe, and loving home environment as well as mental health professionals who have experience working with this population. State funds are available to some extent for our girls. However, mental health professionals agree it takes years of this type of intensive therapy for a child’s emotions to be completely restored to health and wholeness. Most state placements do not take into consideration this length of time or frequency of treatment needed. Private funds must be raised to offset and provide for the costs associated with consistent and frequent mental health services to restore a child a sense of value, wellbeing, and worth.

Mind

Mind

Our girls at Courage House have experienced what mental health professionals call “complex trauma,” which is defined as years of repeated neglect, abuse, and often torture. While this trauma affects all parts of a person, research has proven that it also results in significant damage to the brain. All of our girls at Courage House have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and exhibit symptoms in varying degrees. This makes it extremely difficult for them to maintain concentration, complete tasks, pay attention, learn, and plan and process information—all cognitive functions affecting the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning. When a girl comes to Courage House, she receives an evaluation and assessment by various mental health professionals. Some of these services are covered by insurance and/or state funds. Many of them, however, are not, though they are highly recommended by professionals. In order to provide the services that are not funded, we need to raise private funds or find professionals in the community to donate their time to provide this very important piece of the restoration process.

Each girl’s ULP has an academic focus. It begins with functional literacy, but can proceed up to a university degree. A girl’s academic goals are determined by her desires and aptitude. Included in the educational portion of a girl’s ULP, are assessments for learning disabilities as well as current educational level. Learning disabilities, low grades, and overall poor performance at school are common symptoms in girls who have been exploited. These symptoms lead to low self-esteem and make these children easy targets for manipulation and exploitation by adult perpetrators and traffickers.

Higher Education Opportunities (over 18 years of age)
We at Courage Worldwide believe that each and every person was created on purpose for a purpose—including our girls at Courage House. Further education is required for some of our girls to be and do all God created them to be and do. Whether that is attending medical school for those desiring to be brain surgeons, obtaining a master degree for those with the goal of being a social worker, or going to beauty school for those dreaming of a career in cosmetology, we want to provide these resources to our girls as part of the restoration process.

These donation and restoration opportunities are for Courage Girls who have successfully completed the educational requirements and desire to attend college. Courage Girls are encouraged to visit campuses of various colleges to have a wide range of options if college is their desire. Local junior colleges, state universities, and Christian colleges and universities are all part of the tour process we provide. Courage Worldwide has partnered with William Jessup University (WJU), a Christian-based college in Northern California for girls wanting this type of education. WJU was selected because it is located within the Northern California region of Courage House and offers our girls the ability to easily maintain and sustain the relationships that have built within the Courage House family. However, each Courage Girl may select the college of her choice and we at Courage Worldwide will secure the funds necessary to make their dream a reality. State and federal grants, as well as other scholarship opportunities, are available and pursued for our girls. Depending upon the college selected, however, the entire cost may not be covered and private funds must be raised.

Spirit

Spirit

We model and teach the unconditional love of God, expound on each girl’s identity as a child of God, demonstrate the benefits of forgiveness, show and require relational kindness, offer grace and tolerance for each other’s failings, see the girls as God created them to be, confirm that each girl was created on purpose for a purpose, encourage them to dream big, live large, and laugh loud, and challenge them to have the courage to be and do all God created them be and do. We believe that complete and total restoration is possible. The girls at Courage House will be exposed to various Protestant, Catholic and Jewish methods of prayer and worship, as well as be given the freedom and resources they may need to worship and practice faith rituals as they choose. While participation in services is encouraged, it is not mandatory.

Emotions

Emotions

Children who have experienced the evil of sex trafficking and complex trauma display intense and often volatile emotions. They have difficulty with self-regulation, experience chronic depressed moods, feel a sense of emptiness or deadness, have chronic suicidal preoccupation, display excessive expressions of anger, and have difficulty communicating wishes and desires. They experience dissociation, amnesia, and numbing out. They have difficulty in controlling impulses, exhibit self-destructive and aggressive behavior, find sleep unattainable, struggle with eating disorders and substance abuse, and have difficulty understanding and complying with rules and respecting those in authority. Some are sexually aggressive and have confusion over their sexual orientation. Many are suspicious and distrustful, have problems with boundaries, and are unable to attach emotionally. Low or no self-esteem is extremely common as are feelings of shame, guilt, and self-hate. They are literally drowning in emotions.

These behaviors and symptoms are common to individuals diagnosed with PTSD, common to those who have experienced complex trauma, and are very normal to our girls. When our girls are in survival mode, living on the streets, they have the ability to stuff their feelings. Many of them have been doing this for years. Identifying and experiencing long-denied emotions is extremely difficult and painful.

After much research and consultation with mental health professionals, each girl’s ULP at Courage House incorporates therapy with a licensed mental health professional who specializes in trauma. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) as well as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) are evidence-based treatment approaches shown to help children, adolescents, and their caretakers overcome trauma-related difficulties as well as symptoms of PTSD. These therapies are designed to reduce negative emotional and behavioral responses. The treatment addresses distorted beliefs and attributions related to the abuse and provides a supportive environment in which children are encouraged to talk about their traumatic experience.

Restoring a child’s emotions is a long and often complicated process. It requires highly trained professional staff members who exhibit their own emotional health and wholeness, who have immense patience and thick skin. At Courage House, we have found that the restoration process is accelerated by having a warm, safe, and loving home environment as well as mental health professionals who have experience working with this population. State funds are available to some extent for our girls. However, mental health professionals agree it takes years of this type of intensive therapy for a child’s emotions to be completely restored to health and wholeness. Most state placements do not take into consideration this length of time or frequency of treatment needed. Private funds must be raised to offset and provide for the costs associated with consistent and frequent mental health services to restore a child a sense of value, wellbeing, and worth.