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24-Hour Crisis Line

Counseling Center

We applaud and support your interest, efforts and strength in taking this step towards recovering from the family violence, sexual assault or the abuse that you have experienced. This information is intended to let you know what to expect from our agency. To schedule counseling services, please call the Counseling Center at 206-2100.

All time frames can be reduced or extended based on individual case circumstances.
  • Crisis Intervention: A 24-hour crisis telephone line is operated by professional staff, trained interns and volunteers 365 days-a-year. This crisis service will provide lifesaving information, referrals, and emotional support to help victims escape abuse.
  • Emergency Walk-in Services: Walk-in services are provided as needed and will include crisis counseling for victims who come directly to the counseling center.  Other emergency assistance may include photographing injuries, arranging safe shelter and providing assistance with transportation to a safe location.
  • Crisis Counseling Services for Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): The Family Sunshine Center provides counseling services for victims of domestic violence and their children. These services are provided, both while the family is in crisis, and later, as they adjust to a new lifestyle. This service is provided through individual and group sessions.
  • Length of Service: Our crisis counseling service is designed to meet your immediate needs as a recent victim of intimate partner violence.  Your counselor will work with you to achieve specific goals.
  • Goals: These are the topics that will be the focus of the crisis counseling: Safety: You and your children are in a safe, secure place out of danger or threat of physical harm. Stability: A support system  is in place or in process; legal avenues have been explored and legal steps initiated if appropriate; and basic needs are met—food, clothing, shelter. Education: The dynamics of family violence have been discussed in general and specifically about your family.
  • Crisis Counseling: Counseling is provided to victims of spouse abuse for up to 6 sessions.
  • Assessment Services:  Victims of child abuse are provided with assessment services for up to 8 weeks.
  • Medium-Term Individual Counseling:  Victims of family violence are provided with medium-term individual counseling for up to 26 sessions.
  • Counseling Services for Sexual Assault: Victims of sexual assault can receive individual counseling from Family Sunshine Center for up to 26 sessions (or longer if needed). Individual and group counseling are offered to provide healing, hope and support for victims of sexual assault. Services are available to victims who were assaulted very recently or in the distant past. Counseling for sexual assault addresses the unique and sensitive needs of the victim in a safe and supportive atmosphere.
  • Children’s Counseling Services: Counseling Services for children are provided through individual and group sessions. Children’s therapy is provided through play therapy, art therapy and other techniques that are age-appropriate for the child. In addition, the Family Sunshine Center now offers counseling to children 3 to 18 who have witnessed family violence, or have been abused  through physical or sexual abuse and/or neglect through our C.A.R.E.S. program. The counseling sessions are focused on healing and recovery from trauma and include both child and caregiver participation. Participation in the program usually lasts for 12 to 16 weeks but may be shorter or longer depending on the individual situation. 
  • Advocacy/Consultation Services: These services will be provided to ensure that victims have access to all the services they need to escape victimization and work toward recovery.  This will include court-related services such as assistance in signing warrants and accompanying victims to court.  Other advocacy services will include help in obtaining financial assistance and victim’s compensation.
  • Rural Counseling Services: Crisis counseling will be provided to victims of spouse abuse for up to 6 sessions.  Rural counseling services are available in Autauga, Butler, Chilton, Crenshaw, Elmore and Lowndes counties.
  • Court Advocacy Services: Court-related services such as assistance in signing warrants, court notification, safety planning and support during court will be provided in Municipal and District court.
  • Other Services: Additional counseling is available at this agency. We provide individual and group counseling for continued education and support.

Family Sunshine Center Support Groups

  • S.O.A.R. (Survivors of Abusive Relationships) meets weekly for eight week intervals on Tuesdays from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the Family Sunshine Center. Call the crisis line at 334-263-0218 to enroll.  This group provides support for women who find themselves in an abusive relationship.
  • S.A.G.E. (Survivors of Abuse Gaining Empowerment) meets bi-weekly on Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Family Sunshine Center.  Call the Crisis line at 334-263-0218 for information and prerequisite screening. This group provides therapeutic support for women who have left an abusive relationship or are leaving an abusive relationship and are in need of recovery.
  • Support group for survivors of Sexual Assault is available. The group meets weekly at an off-site location. The group is facilitated by a trained professional and is dedicated to healing and growth. Call the Crisis line at 334-263-0218 for information and screening.
  • Support Group for Mothers of Sexually Abused Children meets bi-weekly 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Family Sunshine Center. Call the Crisis line at 334-263-0218 for information and prerequisite screening. This group provides support and healing for mothers, the often forgotten victims of family sexual abuse.

Special Groups

The Family Sunshine Center Counseling Center plays a vital role in the agency’s efforts to end the cycle of violence in families and sexual violence in the community.  For years we have known that, while it is crucial to have safe shelter for victims, it is also an essential part of their recovery to participate in counseling and/or group therapy sessions.  Further, sexual assault victims often self-isolate and ruminate over the criminal behavior that left them scarred, angry and vulnerable.  “Shelter alone offers safety and a place to rest after years of battering, but an element of our services that leads to long-lasting recovery, including psychological and emotional health, is our Counseling Center, which extends the security and protectiveness a victim feels beyond their shelter experience into the phase where they are rebuilding their lives,” said Karen Sellers.  

In an individual counseling session, victims can continue where they began in shelter learning about the dynamics of domestic violence, and the factors we know that keep families in bondage to their abuser:  fear of the abuser, fear of the unknown, fear of losing their children, fear of rejection by anyone other than the abuser, etc.  They further learn how to set and achieve personal goals, how to develop coping strategies for overcoming trauma and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and, overall, how to live life after abuse. 

An important factor to recovery—moving from victim to victor—is understanding you are not alone.  That is why many survivors find that group therapy makes a huge difference in their ability to move on and to move up!  “Few things are as affirming as knowing others have had similar experiences to your own, and are left with similar feelings of hurt, inadequacy, uncertainty and fear,” said Counseling Center Supervisor Evania Norman. 

To help victims cope with the feelings that may interfere with their abilities to carry on after a traumatic experience such as rape, sexual assault and/or family violence, achieve gainful employment, be effective parents, etc., the Family Sunshine Center Counseling Center offers:

 A Group for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse aimed at reducing feelings of isolation; learning how abuse effects one’s life; dispelling myths about sexual abuse, getting free from the power of the abuser; resolving issues of responsibility; and rebuilding self-worth.  Meetings are held every other Monday from 10:00 a.m. to noon.  Call the Counseling Center at 334.206.2100 to confirm time and location. 

A Group of Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse addresses the issues outlined above.  To sign up, call Dr. Carolyn Thomas at 334.244.3437 for an initial screening and to confirm date, time and location.   The  group currently meets every other Monday from 10:00 a.m. until noon.     

STRENGTH, Strength Through Resilience, Encouragement, Nurturing, Growth, Teaching and Hope, is designed for children who have experienced or witnessed family violence.  The groups are held every 3rd Thursday of the month, and allow children an opportunity to engage with others who have had similar experiences and release some of their pent up fear, anger and uncertainty.  Call the Counseling Center at 334.206.2100 to participate.   

PO Box 5160, Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5160      334.206.2100