Any Newcomers to Support Groups?

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On my previous post I discussed some of the different types of support groups. But there are many other facts and questions to ask about support groups. One aspect that is essential is what do you do if you are a newcomer?

Regardless of the type of support group you decide to participate in, be sure it is CONFIDENTIAL! You should feel everything you say stays within the group and is not shared outside. What you share will probably be intimate and you need to be assured that you and your information will be shared with respect.

If the privacy and confidentiality is violated then the group needs to discuss this and resolve it within the group. If there is a facilitator they can help. Members of the group could get together between meetings for coffee and share more about themselves but not about other members.

It is best to have ground rules in support groups and to tell each new member what they are. For example: 1) Everyone has the right to be heard, 2) Everyone should listen carefully when 1 person is speaking, 3) Only 1 person should speak at a time, 4) Everything is condifential.

If you find you are being upset by things discussed in the support group, you may want to try a different type of support group. If there is a group leader or facilitator, their style may differ. So you may want to assess their role and be sure that it is what you need. For instance, the group leader should help get the group back on track if they move into a nonproductive area. If you repeatedly feel like you have to be the leader but do not want to be, then make that clear to the group.

As a newcomer, go with an open mind. Try the same group twice and ask members of that group if there are other groups you should visit.
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About the Author


BA, MPH

Steve shares what he learned from his personal experience with cancer.

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