The Samaritan Counseling Center’s mission begins and ends with people and our community.

Workshops, Retreats & Circles

Safe Church Workshops

Although our core team is based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we are available to travel to your location for customized training, workshops, consultation or conference keynotes relating to child sexual abuse. Workshops and trainings are facilitated by staff of Samaritan Safe Church, a nationally recognized program on protecting children from sexual abuse.  For additional information, including workshop pricing, contact Deb Helt at 717-560-9969, extension 273 or email at All participating Samaritan Safe Churches listed on our website (participating churches) receive a 50% discount on workshop fees.

Children & Teens with Sexual Behavior Problems:  What We Need to Know

Current statistics indicate that 30-50% of sexually abused children are the victims of other children and teens under the age of 18.  If we truly want to prevent child sexual abuse, we cannot ignore this growing population of children and teens acting in sexually inappropriate ways.

This workshop, developed in consultation with nationally known expert Joan Tabachnick, is intended for any adult in the congregation or community who wants to protect children from doing harm, as well as being harmed.  Natural and healthy, problematic, and sexually abusive behaviors by children and teens are explored. Parents, caregivers, and others can learn how to recognize concerning signs and intervene.

  • Joan is a Department Of Justice Fellow in the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART Office). She was honored by the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center with the Gail Burns-Smith Award in 2016.

Total time: 2 – 2.5 hours

How Sexual Offenders “Groom” Children:  What Every Adult Needs to Know

This workshop, intended for those who want to protect children and teens from sexual harm, provides an overview of the 5-step grooming process offenders often use to engage children in a trusting relationship prior to sexually exploiting the child.  It includes the compelling 18 minute DVD “It’s Not Just Jenna”, based on a true story of a teen sexually abused by a family friend.  Her story illustrates how insidious the grooming process is, and helps viewers to better recognize the “red flags” that Jenna’s parents missed.  Their courage, good counseling, and faith in God allowed Jenna’s family to heal from this tragedy, and now they want to share their wisdom with others. The use of social media for grooming and exploitation is also covered. This workshop is suitable for adults and teens (with parental permission).

Total Time: 1.5 hours

Making the Wounds Visible: Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

This interactive workshop is offered as a resource to help faith communities become more sensitive to survivors, creating safe environments where their stories may be shared and honored. The wounds of child sexual abuse are mostly invisible. Because they cannot be seen, some people do not believe they are real or that the impact can last for decades. This workshop uses the ‘wailing wall’ created by adult survivors at our annual Tamar Speaks retreats to engage participants and help them move into a deeper awareness of trauma, suffering and hope.

Total time:  2 hours

Accompaniment of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

Even with the best of counseling, many survivors need someone to accompany, or walk with them, on the journey of healing. Too often, well intentioned friends or care ministry teams in churches begin such a journey only to find that the intensity and challenges are beyond their capacity. This can result in deep wounding for survivors, who may feel abandoned and not worthy of the care extended. This workshop includes responding to disclosure, the three steps in the accompaniment process, and the impact of childhood sexual trauma on adult physical, emotional and spiritual health, as well as relationships. Stages of healing, helping survivors get grounded, and the issue of vicarious trauma for those who accompany are also discussed.

Total time:  2.5 hours

PA Mandated Reporting in a Church Setting

This workshop provides training on the most significant changes to PA’s Child Protective Services Law in recent years. These laws apply to churches, as well as other youth-serving organizations, and include significant penalties for individuals and institutions for failure to comply. The workshop covers the revisions to how child abuse is defined, new reporting thresholds (i.e. what “triggers” a legal obligation to report suspected abuse), specific certification requirements for all those who care for children, institutional responsibility, mandated reporting and new direct reporting requirements for volunteers and staff.

This workshop is not intended to be a substitute for developing comprehensive policies, institutional practices and ongoing training, nor does any single training create a truly “safe church” or “safe organization”, but it will explain key requirements under the new laws and provide a perspective on the ethical responsibility churches and other youth-serving organizations have to protect children from harm.

Total time:  3 hours


SafeChurch Focus

Building. . .

a faith-based movement to end Child Sexual Abuse

Moving. . .

beyond first generation “safe church policies and training” to shifting culture to inspire and equip adults to protect children from sexual harm in church and community

Connecting. . .

with others sharing a vision where people of faith take leadership to end the conditions that allow one in four girls and one in six boys to be sexually abused

Engaging. . .

survivors as sources of wisdom and leaders

Partnering. . .

with the Just Beginnings Collaborative to End Child Sexual Abuse