Resocialization of Bahamian Society through The Family Group Therapy
In recent years, Bahamian society has experienced severe social fragmentation and rising gang membership. Tackling these problems head-on, The Family Group has developed interventions to promote prosocial behavior in the Bahamas. In particular, it empowers those communities most affected by violent crime.
The program comprises weekly group therapy sessions that encourage participants to share their feelings, develop empathy, and practice forgiveness. Its primary strengths lie in its cost-effectiveness and wide-reaching impact. Under the supervision of therapists, trained volunteers lead group therapy sessions. Held at venues provided free of charge, sessions take place at a small fraction of the cost of conventional therapy. This allows The Family to reach people of all backgrounds.
The current program exceeded initial expectations of establishing five groups. Instead, it established over 25 weekly groups, with a combined average attendance of over 350 participants per week. To date, the success of The Family has been monitored by six biannual participant surveys, which report increased forgiveness as well as decreased hostility, shame, and depression.
Having proved The Family’s power to effect change, this project seeks to build sustainability and scalability. This grant expands the work of The Family with the aim of garnering a weekly average of 1,000 participants by the end of three years. To achieve this goal, the project will train and supervise more volunteers and establish new groups in low-income areas, schools, and prisons. The team will also adapt the program for antisocial youths by collaborating with former gang leaders.