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January 2021

An Update From Our Khunsi Onikan Treatment Program

Khunsi Onikan (Grandmother’s Arms) Outpatient Treatment Program for Native women opened its doors last spring, just as Covid-19 caused all programming to be virtual. It was really an experiment in effectiveness for our brand new program.

Most of the women who attend have small children, and most virtual treatment programs do not allow for small children to be present when mom is in group. We made an exception and found that we are able to still effectively have group interaction and processing for most moms. It has created a feeling of family among the group members that goes beyond involvement in our program and they are becoming each other’s support system.

Most of the women we work with come into the program at very low points in their lives. In addition to the negative physical aspects of addiction, the women typically are struggling with homelessness, separation from children, legal issues, unemployment and many layers of unresolved trauma and grief. What we’ve witnessed is a great positive response to the culture, the curriculum and group work as they build trust in the group. Because we are able to work with the women for longer periods of time and have access to so many support services at the AIFC, we have been able to help them build stability and achieve their highest priority goals, like finding housing, getting visitation and then eventually custody of their children, finding employment and getting a good start on deep trauma work for relapse prevention.

Our first two graduates are a wonderful example of this and we have also recently been able to celebrate a 9-month and a 1-year sobriety for two of the women in group. It has been a great team effort at Khunsi Onikan and we are so pleased to see our services helping women gain their sobriety and lives back, along with reuniting and keeping families together.

Sharyl WhiteHawk, ADC-III/LADC, Lead Counselor for Khunsi Onikan

If you or anyone you know is interested in finding out more about Khunsi Onikan, please visit the program page for more information.

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