Life is hard to juggle by yourself. Bottling your emotions and secrets inside comes out eventually, and not the way you expect. Release the pressure by joining a support group.
Support groups are a group of strangers who meet periodically to discuss topics relating to your situation. You can view it as a comfortable outlet to express your concerns and fears.
With so many support groups forming in non-profits, clinics and organizations, what components contribute to a good, positive support group?
Before you can join one, you need to know of the various types of support groups, so here are brief descriptions of each one.
Types of Support Groups
Peer Support Groups
This is also called member-only or self-help groups, and it contains members of a club, organization, or association.
The members decide on meeting times and days, start a discussion, switch topics, and end the meeting. To decrease embarrassment, all members probably have similar situations to yours.
Professional Support Groups
Unlike peer groups, professional support groups allow an outsider to control the meeting. This outsider can be a social worker, psychologist, religious official or someone similar.
Participants take turns speaking, follow guidelines, and lead discussions. As a result, the group has structure and order.
Online Support Groups
Take some time away from social media and join an online support group. Through email, forums, and/or chat rooms, online communication allows users to discuss problems anonymously without having that awkward face-to-face confrontation.
Social Support Groups
For uncomfortable communicators, building a support group filled with friends and family you trust and love is a great alternative to anonymous ones. Use the components of a strong support group to establish which friends and family fit the requirements.
Components of a Strong Support Group
Selecting the right support group is difficult, so visit more than one. Additionally, attend support groups three times minimum before choosing. What does a great support group contain?
#1. A Reason
Be aware of why you are at this meeting and why you decided to join.
#2. Common Ground
Being expressive is easier when everyone has a similar struggle.
#3. A Good Amount of People
It’s easier to assist and encourage people in a small and controlled environment. If you feel like a number instead of a person, it’s too many people.
#4. Presence of Positive Energy
A support group needs members who will encourage you to succeed. The members will listen, respect, and provide help, and you will do the same for them. No one should say negative things or encourage negative and counterproductive behavior.
Is it similar to Las Vegas, where everything said in the group stays in the group? If you hear anyone gossip about you in at work, at home, or online, think twice before returning.
Trust your gut. Are you comfortable? Are you eager to return?
Some support groups are free; others come with a fee.
#8. No Agenda
No support group should pressure you to purchase anything, forgo medical treatment, promise instant answers, or force you to give.
It’s okay to join more than one support group but be sure to keep private information from one group separate from another.
After you listen to similar situations from your peers in the support group, you’ll discover that you are not alone. In turn, it may be able to motivate you to grow and heal infinitely.
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