Significance of the Laurel Tree

In Greek mythology, there is the story of a wood nymph named Daphne who is much like the Greek goddess Diana – independent, athletic – a huntress. In the myth, the god Apollo pursued Daphne in what would be interpreted today as a sexual attack. Daphne called to the river god for help and was transformed into a laurel tree – a symbol of victory and triumph.

The Laurel Centre represents the transformation and triumph of its clients. The laurel leaf is a symbol featured in the Centre's logo.

History of The Laurel Centre

In the early 1980's those working in the addictions field realized that many addicted women – up to 80% – were also struggling to overcome the trauma resulting from childhood sexual abuse. Many were unable to deal with their addictions because their lives were too painful.

At the time there were no services for women that treated addictions and abuse together. To meet this need, the Women's Post Treatment Centre was founded in 1985. In 1997 the centre changed its name to The Laurel Centre.

The Centre has evolved and grown into one of the most respected organizations of its kind and has gained recognition across the country for its unique contribution to women's health.

Who is eligible for this service?

Any woman who is experiencing the traumatic effects of childhood sexual abuse.

Effects of unresolved trauma

The Centre recognizes compulsive coping behaviours, including addictions as being some of the long-term consequences of unresolved trauma.

Many adult women have mixed feelings about talking to anyone about their childhood – because it hurts too much. Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuses often experience difficulties in later life, including: depression, anxiety, drug and / or alcohol problems, gambling, feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, isolation of being 'different', 'bad' or 'evil'.

Nightmares and flashbacks may be experienced. Problems related to anger and sexuality are common, as are negative feelings about men and women.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse may find it difficult to trust others. When the abuse occurred within the family as it often does, or when the abuser was a trusted friend or baby-sitter, extreme shame is felt and the victim may feel responsible for the abuse.

The Voice Of Pain

Alcohol also becomes a part of my life – a great stress reliever. But the pills, especially the straight codeine tablets are my main source of help for some sort of peace. I stop from time to time, but when I stop, there is so much anger and fear inside me I feel crazy. I need pills so I will feel normal.

Megan