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DRB Alternatives, Inc.
Individual, Marital & Family Counseling & Mediation

Starting Your Face-to-Face Support Group

Do you need more than an online support group provides?

So you've been to our online support group, and you like the feeling and support you've been getting here. Yet the help you are getting is not enough. Why? This online community is not a substitute for a face-to-face self-help support group.

Have you thought about starting your own self-help support group in your community?

If so, here are some tips to getting started.

1. First of all, let's look at why self-help support groups work.

Here are some facts about the benefits of support groups (SG):

  • Research indicates that SG s decrease your feelings of isolation and aloneness.
  • SG s can help you solve your problems and get input from others.
  • SG's help you see how others are coping and moving forward.

2. Next, you will need to do the following research:

  • Does this type of support group exist currently in your community?
  • When and where do they meet?
  • Is there a need for another support group? Perhaps at a different time?
  • Do you know of anyone who shares the same concern that you have?
  • Do you know anyone dealing with the same problem?

3. Now you ll need to get more information:

  • You can contact your local hospital, or mental health agencies in your community and ask them to help you get started.
  • Would they be willing to donate a meeting place for your group?
  • Would they be willing to help advertise the support group for you?
  • Do they know of others who share the same problem?
  • Organize committees that can help you make decisions.

4. Next you must ask the following questions as you design your group.

  • What is your purpose?
  • Do you have guidelines? And norms?
  • Will you have speakers come in to speak in your group?
  • Will you serve refreshments?
  • How long will you have before your meeting gets started?
  • Will you develop a 12-step model?
  • How will your meeting begin and end?
  • What date and time will you meet again?

5. You may want to invite a health care professional to serve as a consultant at the beginning.

6. Your committee can start a telephone tree or contact prospective members by email.

7. Advertise your support group in your local newspaper.

8. Once you get started you will be amazed of how many people are willing to help you!

My best to you as you continue on your journey!

Donna Bellafiore

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