Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the ASCA program and The Morris Center.


“ASCA” is the acronym for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, which is The Morris Center’s support group program for survivors of child abuse. There are ASCA support groups in different cities. Often, a group appends the city name to the “ASCA” acronym, such as the group in New York City, “ASCA-NYC.”

ASCA’s purpose is to assist adult survivors of child abuse in moving on with their lives. In the program, gentle encouragement and support are used to transform an individual’s self-identity from victim to survivor to thriver.

ASCA was created with the intention that all members of the survivor community, irrespective of their financial situation, would have access to a superior program for recovery.

The Morris Center does not charge a fee for individual participation or for downloading program materials. ASCA is supported solely through private donations, receiving no government funding.

While ASCA is a self-help program that incorporates “steps,” the psychological model used for healing was developed specifically for child abuse survivors. This model utilizes a three-stage recovery framework containing 21 steps.

The ASCA recovery framework is a three-stage model for healing that contains 21 steps, which are:

Stage One – Remembering
  1. I am in a breakthrough crisis, having gained some sense of my abuse.
  2. I have determined that I was physically, sexually or emotionally abused as a child.
  3. I have made a commitment to recovery from my childhood abuse.
  4. I shall re-experience each set of memories as they surface in my mind.
  5. I accept that I was powerless over my abusers' actions which holds them responsible.
  6. I can respect my shame and anger as a consequence of my abuse, but shall try not to turn it against myself or others.
  7. I can sense my inner child whose efforts to survive now can be appreciated.
Stage Two – Mourning
  1. I have made an inventory of the problem areas in my adult life.
  2. I have identified the parts of myself connected to self-sabotage.
  3. I can control my anger and find healthy outlets for my aggression.
  4. I can identify faulty beliefs and distorted perceptions in myself and others.
  5. I am facing my shame and developing self-compassion.
  6. I accept that I have the right to be who I want to be and live the way I want to live.
  7. I am able to grieve my childhood and mourn the loss of those who failed me.
Stage Three – Healing
  1. I am entitled to take the initiative to share in life's riches.
  2. I am strengthening the healthy parts of myself, adding to my self-esteem.
  3. I can make necessary changes in my behavior and relationships at home and work.
  4. I have resolved the abuse with my offenders to the extent acceptable to me.
  5. I hold my own meaning about the abuse that releases me from the legacy of the past.
  6. I see myself as a thriver in all aspects of life - love, work, parenting, and play.
  7. I am resolved in the reunion of my new self and eternal soul.

  1. Individuals privately working ASCA through the Survivor to Thriver manual and our online ASCA meetings
  2. Individuals working ASCA in support group meetings
  3. Those who use parts of ASCA in their individual or group psychotherapy process
  4. Dual-diagnosis survivors who work the ASCA program in conjunction with a 12-step program
  5. Therapists
  6. Mental health services and organizations looking to initiate a support group program for adult survivors of child abuse
  7. Spouses, friends, children, and employers of survivors who work the ASCA program

Currently, it is not. The ASCA program was specifically designed for adults.

ASCA began with an advertisement in the San Francisco Recovery Journal (no longer published) in February 1993. The ad asked for volunteers from the survivor community to work with Dr. Patrick Gannon in developing a new, psychologically-based, self-help program for adult survivors of child abuse.

Approximately 30 survivor volunteers responded to the ad. Program development meetings were held regularly over the next 3 months. The first-ever ASCA meeting was held at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) in May 1993, with more than 85 people in attendance.

ASCA has been constantly evolving since its inception. Research and participant feedback have allowed ASCA to become increasingly more powerful and effective for the individuals, groups, and organizations that utilize the program.

The Morris Center

The Morris Center is the not-for-profit organization that developed the ASCA program. The center provides support through co-facilitator training, new group development, website maintenance, and dissemination of program materials.

No, The Morris Center does not. Originally, the center did offer low-cost therapy. Unfortunately, it no longer has the resources to offer this service.

Yes, The Morris Center does accept contributions. Contributions are the only source of funding for the ASCA program. You can make a contribution online via the link and information on our contribute to ASCA page.

ASCA Meetings

ASCA groups can be found thoughout the U.S. and in other parts of the world. You can find a list of active meetings in our meetings list.

There are several online (virtual) meetings available. If you prefer in-person meetings, the United Way keeps a good list of local resources, including meetings that may be helpful, such as Survivors of Incest Anonymous and Incest Survivors Anonymous. Or consider starting an ASCA meeting in your area!

Yes, you can. ASCA meetings have been started by people who could not find one in their area.

The Morris Center offers free online (virtual) co-facilitator training. Please contact us. In addition, all of the materials you will need may be downloaded from our materials page.

No, you do not. Most ASCA meetings are community-based and are run by a pair of survivors who have gone through training to become co-facilitators. None of the participants, even if they are also therapists, serve in a professional capacity during these meetings.

A meeting script is used to ensure a safe sharing environment. No one is allowed to offer any analysis, diagnosis, or advice to other participants.

ASCA meetings are designed to provide a safe vehicle where people come to share their feelings and thoughts about their journey to recovery.

You can begin by viewing our starting an ASCA group page. It provides a quick overview of starting ASCA group meetings.

You can also start by going directly to our materials page. All of the materials you will need are there.

The Survivor to Thriver manual is an essential workbook in the ASCA program. It is used independently and in step meetings. The manual can be downloaded from the materials page.