Phase 1 – 15 Week Peer Support Group Program – “Out of the Darkness-Into the Light”

The Gatehouse Adult Phase 1 – 15 Week Peer-Support “Out of the Darkness-Into the Light” Program


COVID-19 Update: The health and safety of our group participants, volunteers, placement students, and staff continue to be our priority. We are making ongoing efforts to respond responsibly to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are offering our programs both in person and online using virtual group meetings. An intake appointment is required prior to joining any Phase 1 – 15 week group.

Intakes are conducted over the phone or via Zoom online meetings or in-person. Group participants who register for an online program must have access to the internet, a computer, or a smartphone with a camera and microphone to join an online Zoom meeting. All group rules apply and will be emailed to participants before joining the group. Each participant will be provided with an e-participant guide. A non-refundable program fee of $25.00 applies.

Please indicate your preference for in-person or online to Karen MacKeigan, Program Assistant, at

“The facilitators were fantastic. Sensitive, caring, forthcoming, knowledgeable and held space so sacredly.” – Program Participant

“This program changed my life. I had high expectations even though I was trying to not, and all my expectations were exceeded. I feel like a human again. I know I have a long way to go, but I for the first time since I can remember, I now feel like I can handle the path ahead of me. I will remember this for the rest of my life. Thank you so much.” Program Participant

Required: Registrants must complete an intake (group readiness meeting), be over the age of 18, and be survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Persons who have sexual offenses/sexual offending behavior are not permitted in the group programs. Intakes are conducted over the phone or online using Zoom meetings, or in-person. See “how to apply” below for full details.

Topics Discussed

Program Structure: The 15-week peer-led group offers support for survivors of childhood sexual abuse in a safe and comfortable environment – a place to come together and have their voices heard. Through peer-facilitated, topic-focused discussions, survivors are given the tools to develop and enhance coping skills and to discuss the impact of childhood sexual abuse. The group incorporates social re-connection, education, and information on the effects that sexual abuse can have. The program is led by two Gatehouse-trained volunteer facilitators. This is a closed group process (intake required), and no new participants are added to the group beyond the second week.

Risks/Benefits: Phase 1 engages in discussions that include individuals sharing their experiences with triggers, inner child, addictions, boundaries, shame/guilt, and moving forward. These discussions may include sharing individual perceptions and core beliefs. As with any peer support self-exploration process, such activities may bring up feelings of fear, sadness, and anxiousness in the group. It is strongly recommended that program participants have a support network outside of The Gatehouse, including other peers, therapy, or social work support. To search for additional mental health support resources in your community, check out the e-mental health website: For a list of crisis numbers in Ontario click here For a list of Domestic-Intimate-Partner-Violence-Resources in Ontario click here

Where: The Phase 1 program is available in both in-person at The Gatehouse and online via Zoom meetings. It is facilitated by two trained Gatehouse volunteers. The Phase 1 groups are delivered as separate gender and all gender identities groups throughout the year. The dates are listed below. If you have any questions, please contact

Time/Days Offered: Mondays (all genders), Tuesdays (women), Wednesdays (men) throughout the year. The program is 15 weeks, 7pm to 9pm each session. Day groups may be available 2-3 times per year depending on participant interest and facilitators availability. Day group times 12 pm to 2 pm. If you are interested in Day group only, kindly let Karen know in your initial email.

Fees: As of May 1st 2024, the program fee will be $150 ($10 per session x15 sessions) . (Sliding scale available)You will be invoiced via email. Acceptable forms of payment include VISA/MasterCard/Cheque payable to The Gatehouse or e-transfer. If you prefer e-transfer, please e-transfer the fee to Maria at The fee is due prior to the group start date and is not refundable. If you are mailing your materials fee by cheque, kindly make the cheque payable to The Gatehouse. and mail to The Gatehouse 3101 Lakeshore Blvd W., Toronto, ON, M8V3W8 

How to apply?

Intake form and intake meeting required. Intake meetings are being conducted over Zoom or phone or in-person. When emailing Karen, please indicate your preference.

  1. Click here to download the intake form as a Fillable PDF File 
  2. Complete the intake form and email it to Karen MacKeigan, Program Assistant, 
  3. The purpose of the intake meeting is to determine your readiness to commit to the full 15 weeks of the program, including a willingness to engage with the weekly discussions, exercises, and your self-care plan/practices.
  4. Registration is on a first come first served basis and participants who have previously completed a phase 1 program may be wait-listed.
  5. Please note it may take up to two weeks for an intake meeting to be scheduled.

New to online meetings? Check out Participants – Tips to enhance Peer Support Group Meetings 

Main office Desk: Intake scheduling x222. please note, it may take us up to two weeks to return your call. Many of our staff continue to work remotely and Email communication is preferred.

Next group dates are as follows (these may change slightly due to volunteer facilitator availability. Group dates will be confirmed via email to registrants)

Next 15 weeks Women’s Groups start

  • April 9, 2024 – July 23, 2024, 7pm to 9pm, Tuesdays, Online
  • May 21, 2024 – August 27, 2024, 7pm to 9pm, Tuesdays, In-person
  • June 11, 2024 – September 17, 2024, 7pm to 9pm, Tuesdays, Online
  • July 23, 2024 – October 29, 2024, 7pm to 9pm, Tuesdays, In-person
  • August 13, 2024 – November 19, 2024, 7pm to 9pm, Tuesdays, Online
  • September 10, 2024 – December 17, 2024, 7pm to 9pm, Tuesdays, In-person
  • October 1, 2024 – January 21, 2025, 7pm to 9pm, Tuesdays, Online

Next 15 weeks Men’s Groups start

  • May 8, 2024 – August 14, 2024, 7pm to 9pm, Wednesdays, Online
  • May 22, 2024 – August 28, 2024, 7pm to 9pm,Wednesdays, In person
  • June 12, 2024 – September 28, 2024, 7pm to 9pm, Wednesdays, Online
  • July 24, 2024 – October 30, 2024, 7pm to 9pm,Wednesdays, In person
  • August 14, 2024 – November 20, 2024, 7pm to 9pm,Wednesdays, Online
  • September 11, 2024 – December 18, 2024 , 7pm to 9pm,Wednesdays, In person
  • October 2, 2024 – January 22, 2025, 7pm to 9pm, Wednesdays, Online
  • November 13, 2024 – March 5, 2025 , 7pm to 9pm, Wednesdays, In person
  • November 13, 2024 – March 5, 2025 , 7pm to 9pm, Wednesdays, Online

All Genders Phase 1 Group

  1. May 27, 2024 – Sept 23, 2024, 7 pm-9 pm Mondays In-person

Registration is on a first come first served basis, and intake meeting is required prior to joining any group. Download intake form,  and send completed via email to Karen MacKeigan, Program Assistant. Please indicate which group you are interested in joining IN-PERSON or ONLINE, and your availability for an intake meeting (e.g. Monday mornings, Mon-Friday evenings etc.).

Referral: No formal referral is required. Participants self-refer

Note: The Gatehouse peer support group programs are for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse [incidents occurring before the age of 18]. If the survivor was 18 years of age at the time of the sexual abuse/sexual assault, the following resources are available in the community:

Resources for Survivors of ADULT sexual assault:

What’s up Walk-In Counselling Services across City of Toronto 

The Canadian Centre for Men and Families – in Toronto (Downtown)Provides counselling and groups for various issues that Men face

Please consider making a donation to help The Gatehouse

The Gatehouse, a community based charitable organization that provides much-needed support, resources, and community to survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Survivors of sexual abuse are in desperate need of our support and services and The Gatehouse relies on the generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to fund and expand our creative programs including peer support groups, art therapy, wellness workshops, conferences, and the investigation support program.

Please consider making an online donation, one time or you can also donate monthly. Your donation helps to transform the lives of those victimized by childhood sexual abuse.
Use the form below donate. Thank you for your support.