by Danielle Uhran, VSC Social Work Intern
The Passion Flower Project is a holistic healing gardening group for primary survivors of trauma. A famous actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn stated,
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”Audrey Hepburn
Likewise, the Passion Flower Projects overall goal is to help survivors of trauma to move towards healing and grow through what you go through.
Many survivors at the Victim Service Center experience feelings linked to how they feel about themselves as well as the perpetrator such as shame, self-blame as well as anger and sadness. Throughout the stages of The Passion Flower Project metaphors will be used in the garden to relate it back to the topic of healing and trauma using several theories. Ground breaking is referred to metaphorically as promoting healing through prepping the soil to encourage members to have an outlet to express anger as well as other trauma work with the goal of preparing for more future trauma work. Many benefits are associated with garden therapy such as igniting the survivors sensory, psychological and physical cognition and sensations that merely comes from the experience of gardening. The group is open to current VSC clients and interested people who are not VSC clients are encourage to call our office to learn more and get screen in order to participate, (407) 254-9415. This group will have a total of eight sessions with meetings held on the first and third Monday of each month. Sessions will be from 6-8pm starting March 12, 2021.
Gardening and Community Healing
Since ancient times plants have had the power to mend the spirit through tending to the earth. Gardening the soil, the pants, digging, watering, and sunlight brings a greater understanding to life. Much like a plant our lives start like a seed planted in the soil that with time can grow into something beautiful. Gardening connects survivors to the simple pleasures of life and can remind them that the elements of nature can be a part of their healing journey. Gardening connects us to the community, nature and being at peace with ourselves through escaping the stress and pain of life. Gardening provides a place of peace, tranquility and healing. Gardening helps us become aware of the cycle of life and to work through difficult emotions. The garden connects individuals to the soil, plants, shared experiences and establishes a togetherness through connecting to common goals.
Gardening, community and mental health are intertwined in that all need each other and can heal and benefit from each other. Plants provide humans oxygen, comfort and peace. Humans can uplift the environment through taking care of the earth and planting. The community allows interaction, social connection and valued relationship. A gardening group brings a sense of responsibility to the plants, connects survivors to developing a growth mindset and to the community around them by connecting with others and releasing stress.
The garden, plants, and nature connects survivors to all realms of existence and can be used to recognize an imbalance and pain in one’s life and how to use gardening as a mechanism to ease symptoms linked to trauma and pain. Plant therapy can help survivors and the community at large to ease symptoms of mental illness and assist with long term success and well-being by connecting the community and individuals to nature. In this fast paced busy world sometimes we simply need to “Slow down and take some time to smell the roses.” Connect to the simple pleasures in life because life is short and the simple pleasures should be appreciated and utilized to develop self-reflection, self-compassion, healing and connection to our selves and the community. Likewise, the Passionflower project will consist of coping with emotions in a healthy manner and as the garden grows and blooms the members of the Passion Flower Project will bloom, grow and move towards healing.
More about VSC and the Passion Flower Project
VSC provides free counseling, advocacy, therapy and more to victims of violent crime, sexual assault, and trauma to Central Florida. To participate in our groups people are required to be a current VSC client and discuss the group with their advocate/therapist. If someone is not a VSC client they are encouraged to set up an intake session by calling our offices (407) 254-9415 and contacting the specific VSC staff member who runs a specific group ,which is usually on the group flyer, to discuss a pre-screening.
VSC also runs a 24/7 crisis helpline, 407-500-HEAL which is for those experiencing an immediate need to speak to an advocate and/or immediately following a sexual assault seeking information about a forensic exam and other options.
Support the Passion Flower Project
The Passion Flower Project is in need of supplies to provide to our group members and plants to beautify our garden. If you are able to donate supplies or would like to purchase some for this group, please visit our wishlist:
Thank you for your support!
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. Your gift is tax deductible as allowed by law; Victim Service Center is registered with the state under the Solicitation of Contributions Act, 1992 under Florida Registration Number CH18390 and Federal Tax Identification Number 75-2978885. For registration information contact the Division of Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or visit their website at www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com.