Voices: A Program of Self-Discovery and Empowerment for Girls

About This Program

Target Population: Females 12 - 24 years old with substance abuse and/or trauma

For children/adolescents ages: 12 – 24

Program Overview

Voices: A Program of Self-Discovery and Empowerment for Girls addresses the unique needs of adolescent girls and young women. This is the girls’ version of the Helping Women Recover curricula, which is highlighted on the CEBC as part of a combined intervention, Helping Women Recover & Beyond Trauma. The program includes modules on self, connecting with others, healthy living, and the journey ahead. Revised in 2017, the new topics include and bullying, the pressures of social media, early puberty, gender exploration, human sex trafficking, and binge drinking. Texting, social media, and online or “in real life” (IRL) friends also new additions. It was originally designed for those struggling with substance misuse and experiences of trauma and can be used in many settings (e.g., outpatient and residential substance use disorder treatment, schools, juvenile justice, and private practice).

The facilitator’s guide includes background information about young women, gender-responsive principles, and the theoretical foundation of the program. It provides information about conducting the eighteen group sessions that are the core of the program (the structure and content for each topic and activity), as well as a program overview and lists of materials needed for the sessions. The program materials also can be used to train staff members in working with girls.

The participant’s journal utilizes an established process called Interactive Journaling®. In the context of girls’ lives, structured journaling provides an outlet for creativity, personal expression, exploration, and application of new concepts and skills.

Program Goals

The goals of Voices: A Program of Self-Discovery and Empowerment for Girls are:

  • Decrease in substance use disorders
  • Decrease in depression
  • Decrease in trauma symptoms
  • Decrease posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Increase in self-efficacy
  • Stabilize recovery
  • Increase in prevention of substance use

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Voices: A Program of Self-Discovery and Empowerment for Girls.

Essential Components

The essential components of Voices: A Program of Self-Discovery and Empowerment for Girls include:

  • As a group intervention, it can have 6-12 girls per group with one facilitator and consists of four modules with specific topic areas for each of the 18 sessions. It can also be used in individual work.
    • Module A - Self (5 sessions with a total of 30 activities):
      • Session 1: Who Am I?
      • Session 2: My Life Story
      • Session 3: Breaking the Silence
      • Session 4: The World Girls Live In
      • Session 5: Support and Inspiration
    • Module B - Connecting with Others (7 sessions with a total of 40 activities):
      • Session 6: Communication
      • Session 7: My Family
      • Session 8: Mothers and Daughters
      • Session 9: Friendship
      • Session 10: Dating and Sexuality
      • Session 11: Supportive Relationships
      • Session 12: Abusive Relationships
    • Module C - Healthy Living [Body, Mind and Spirit] (4 sessions with a total of 28 activities):
      • Session 13: Our Bodies
      • Session 14: Emotional Wellness
      • Session 15: Alcohol and Other Drugs
      • Session 16: Spirituality
    • Module D - The Journey Ahead (2 sessions with a total of 9 activities):
      • Session 17: Crossroads
      • Session 18: Packing for My Journey

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Voices: A Program of Self-Discovery and Empowerment for Girls directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Female 12-24 years old who may have experienced substance misuse and/or trauma as a result of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; physical neglect, or exposure to domestic violence

Recommended Intensity:

One or two 90-minute sessions per week

Recommended Duration:

18 sessions - approximately 2-5 months

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care
  • Justice Setting (Juvenile Detention, Jail, Prison, Courtroom, etc.)
  • Other
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


Voices: A Program of Self-Discovery and Empowerment for Girls includes a homework component:

Girls have a journal to process their group experience and practice skills.


Voices: A Program of Self-Discovery and Empowerment for Girls has materials available in languages other than English:

Portuguese, Spanish

For information on which materials are available in these languages, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • Facilitator's guide
  • Flip chart
  • Journals
  • Room with chairs in a circle
  • A group facilitator
  • Art supplies

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Counselor with experience in the field and with group work or a college graduate

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

Manual information:

  • Covington. S., Covington, K., & Covington, M. (2017). Voices: A program of self-discovery and empowerment for girls (2nd ed.). Change Companies.

The facilitator guides and journals can be purchased online, please contact kim@stephaniecovington.com or go to www.stephaniecovington.com and select “Bookstore.”

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Training can be provided onsite or virtually. There are also trainings available at various sites in California and other parts of the U.S.

For more information see, www.stephaniecovington.com and www.centerforgenderandjustice.org.

Number of days/hours:

Generally, 2 days onsite or 4 days (4 hours per day) virtually

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Voices: A Program of Self-Discovery and Empowerment for Girls.

Additional References

Covington, S. (2012). Curricula to support trauma-informed practice with women. In N. Poole, & L. Greaves (Eds). Becoming trauma informed. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Covington, S. (2004, October/November). Self-discovery and empowerment: The Voices program for girls. Women, Girls & Criminal Justice, 5(6), 71–79. Article available here.

Covington, S. (2005, December/January). The Voices program for girls: Theoretical foundations and program overview. Women, Girls & Criminal Justice, 6(1), 3–11. Article available here.

Contact Information

Stephanie S. Covington, PhD, LCSW
Agency/Affiliation: Center for Gender and Justice
Website: stephaniecovington.com/books/bookstore/voices-a-program-of-self-discovery-and-empowerment-for-girls-2nd-edition
Phone: (858) 454-8528

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: May 2022

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: February 2023

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: May 2012