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


ASCA is an acronym for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse. ASCA is the Morris Center’s support group program for survivors of child abuse.

Note: ASCA support groups in different cities often append their city name to the ASCA acronym. For example, the ASCA group in New York City is called 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 is 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, have access to a superior program for recovery.

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

While ASCA is a self-help program that does incorporate “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 3-stage model for healing, containing 21 steps. The stages and steps 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 that is 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 utilizing parts of ASCA with 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 designed specifically for adults.

ASCA began with an advertisement in the San Francisco Recovery Journal (no longer published) in February of 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 thirty survivor volunteers responded to the ad. Program development meetings were held regularly over the the next 3 months. The first-ever ASCA meeting was held at University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) in May of 1993 with more than 85 people in attendance.

ASCA has been constantly evolving since its inception. Research and participant feedback has allowed ASCA to become increasingly more powerful and effective for the individuals, groups and organizations who 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 meeting 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 or by mail 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 on our meetings list page.

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.

Note: The Morris Center offers co-facilitator training in both San Francisco and New York City. This service is also provided by telephone if necessary. All of the materials you will need may be downloaded from our materials page.

No, you do not. ASCA meetings were designed to be run by either professionals or co-facilitators. Most ASCA meetings are community-based and are run by a pair of co-facilitators. None of the participants 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.

Note: 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 for 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.