Communication is the key to enhancing most all situations. Sometimes there is a need to talk about difficult topics or intimate issues. That need was apparent for individuals within the mental health program at Aid to the Developmentally Disabled (ADD). Cherita Massenburg, mental health program coordinator, knew it would be beneficial to initiate group sessions focused on discussing intimate relationships. Ms. Massenburg sought the expertise of professional Emily Chappell, LCSW-R, and certified sexual treatment specialist. A group was formed and individuals were asked to attend via invitations mailed to them.

The first meeting was held in June of 2017. Participants were eager to meet and talk. They felt they needed an outlet where it was safe to share their insecurities, traumatic experiences, and deep emotions. They needed an environment of people they could trust and they found it in this new group.

Emily Chappell had a positive impact on the individuals that had issues with acting out. She was able to help them to understand what is appropriate. Ms. Chappell defines types of relationships, problems that can arise, and explores practicing mindfulness while in a relationship. She also addresses how mental illness can impact intimate relationships, and methods of support to handle these outcomes.

These monthly sessions, titled Exploring Intimate Relationships, provide a special opportunity for those who take part. It is discreet, specific individuals are personally invited and the current group of ten, a combination of both men and women, is supportive of each other. It has been a successful program hosted by ADD and made free to attendees.

To learn more about the ADD organization, residential housing, job opportunities and special ADD hosted groups, browse our website or call 631-727-6220.