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If you are feeling overwhelmed by a crisis then a support group may be able to help you through it.

A support group lets you know that you are not alone, that there are others who understand what you are going through. A group can also give you hope that you can get through whats going on, a place to start working through your emotions and feelings. You may be able to develop some skills that will assist you. It may be easier to express exactly how you feel in a support group than it is with family and/or friends.

How long  you remains in a support group depends on you and the issues you are grappling with. It is up to you and there are no set rules stating how long you need to attend. By sharing your own experiences with others you can contribute to the well-being of the whole group.

Guidelines for a good support group:

  • Confidentiality – protects the privacy of its participants by not disclosing what members share during the meetings to those outside of the group. Group members do not disclose who attends meetings to people outside the group
  • Avoids counseling or offering unsolicited advice
  • Everyone gets a chance to share
  • Encourages and provides a medium for honest sharing of personal experiences and feelings
  • Provides a safe non-judgemental environment to enable participants to explore and talk about their feelings
  • Encourages an environment of positive reinforcement and hopefulness
  • Has an experienced, stable facilitator(s) who can steer the session and ensure the meeting is not dominated by a few individuals
  • Meetings have a defined format that is adhered to

It is a big step the first time you attend a meeting. You may feel like an outsider and feel a bit anxious. It is recommended you attend at least three meetings before deciding whether or not the group is for you. You should be able to feel comfortable with the group and with the facilitator. If you have any concerns or fears about joining a group please discuss this with the facilitator.

February 2008
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