Why Join a Support Group?
Support groups are made up of people with common interests and experiences. People who have been through, or are going through, a similar circumstance can do more than sympathize with you — they can relate to what you are going through and keep you from feeling like you are alone. Joining a support group is an excellent part of living well and regaining your balance after a set back or personal crisis. By becoming an active part of a group, you can have access to information, other people's experiences, and, most importantly, an open line to people who are going through the same struggles as you. However, support groups have their own personalities and you need to find one that works with your needs. Here are four things to consider when choosing a support group:
You want to choose a group that truly supports you in the way that you need now. Some groups involve a lot of interaction and sharing of ones feelings while other groups can be more educationally driven.
There are many support groups out there. Being clear ahead of time about the group objectives, format and demographics can be very important to your overall enjoyment of a group experience. For instance, Yu may benefit far more from a group that is gender specific, depending on the issue stat you are currently grappling with.
It is helpful to pick a group that meets at a time and location that works for your schedule. This may not always be possible, but is can greatly enhance your willingness to follow through with the group and allows you to be of service to others that benefit from your consistent participation.
Depending on your needs, it is important to pick a group that provides what you need right now. You may want to explore and reinvigorate your creativity in a drama therapy group, or you may be in the early stages of grief and loss and need gentle support and guidance. To the extent that you can, it is helpful to ask yourself what it is you are wanting from a group experience and then finding the group that best fits that for you.
What Makes a Good Support Group?
I have facilitated and co-facilitated many group experiences, from children with special needs to incarcerated women. I believe that identifying the unique culture of a group is important, while striking a balance between the ventilation of painful feelings and collaboration on here and now tools. I believe that balance is key to a positive group experience. I am directive and create safety through leadership and consistent boundary setting.