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Support Groups


Lindamomof7
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I am not in a support group but my therapist continues to gently suggest that it might be helpful. I would be interested in hearing others experiences. I can't imagine ever being able to be in a group and share my story. I can barely speak it aloud to my therapist, and no one else knows it/

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I'm actually looking into finding a support group that could help me CBT. I'm finding it challenging on my own and I think I could profit from the learning and experience ofothers.

When my husband and I split I was 30 years old with two young kids. I was isolated and quite shaken emotionally by the experience. A kind social worker I knew at the time suggested a support group and I accepted because it was just too challenging on my own.

I cannot say enough for a good support group. I would compare it to what and how we share in this forum, but the presence of living compassion beside you is quite powerful in a different way. It is also easier to share as in a conversation, so that subjects can be explored in a different way. I participated in a number of different types of groups after that, when I was looking to look deeper into something. It is very therapeutic, as we all know because I suspect we come back to this forum for just that type of interpersonal therapy.

Only thing is that you have to feel safe there, and a good facilitator is key to setting the tone and ground rules. But when they work they are wonderfully soothing and a great place to regain trust in yourself and in others. I too was very shy when I oririgally participated, but there is no requirement to do what you don't want to do. Eventually you get into the flow and things sort of just start happening. It was such a healing experience for me that I feel it is perhaps something I should look into again...

So yes, I recommend them, and it is something you can at least look into, and if does not work for you then you just move on...

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Guest ASchwartz

Hello

In my opinion one of the nicest things about support groups is that they help people understand that they are not the only ones with a particular type of problem. They may not be perfect and they really aren't psychotherapy but they are very helpful in their own way. But I also like about them is that you don't have to stay forever. You can attend as long as you find it helpful and then stop going.

Allan:)

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Symora ;) Did you mean to type:

... the bling leading the blind things though :D
? That made me laugh!

I go to a monthly depression support group, the girl who began it is also BP. It's quite new and very small (mostly just 3-4 of us) and I have got into the helper role there (both good and bad). She is now 6 mths pregnant with her first and may step down. I have been weighing up for months and months whether I should take over her role. I really want to see this group work. I'd like some kind of facilitator training, even just a book to read will do (does anyone know of anything online I could read?) We have been limping along as the stigma is still huge here, even for something as common as depression, and people just don't want to 'come out' about their depression by appearing at a public group. So everyone suffers alone.

I hesitate because it would mean I need to hold back a little on my own stuff, not totally as I would want to be there as a sufferer not a caregiver, but to some extent. Can I manage this?

It's been good for me to join, as I've found people right here in my town I can relate to. And they have become friends. Online groups work well for me, but I must admit, it's nice to meet others f2f too. But we don't have a facilitator and I feel this would make the group work so much better and I'd feel more confident about advertising more widely than we have been, and enlarging the group.

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That made me laugh too ... :(

Perhaps you can lead it like an AA meeting. Have you ever been to one? It's all about letting people share, but nobody can comment on what the other person shared. I'm sure there are books out there, but I don't have a suggestion I'm afraid...

Edited by Symora
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  • 2 months later...

I had a rather unfortunate experience with an insomnia support group. It was run by a psychiatrist with a very pro-drugs mentality. The group seemed to reinforce a victim mentality, that the participants were damaged people who could not get better, but needed to accept that they were incapable and that they needed help (from the psychiatrist of course).

I had concerns about the psychiatrist's ethics. He would try to guilt-trip participants into taking part in his drug trials (for free, although of course he would profit) and act like they were being fools if they declined. He claimed that the medication was already on the market in Europe and it was just a matter of getting it approved in our country, but when I checked the pharmaceutical website, it was still in the trial stage in Europe as well. There was one participant who was on very high doses of sleeping pills (prescribed by the psychiatrist), and her usual concerns were her lack of energy and being "out of it". I strongly suspect that it was the high levels of sleeping pills that were causing many of her problems.

The psychiatrist was also a professor and was primarily involved in research and teaching. To be frank, he didn't seem to understand people very well, or have good social skills.

For me, it was a bad experience because it seemed to encourage my negative tendencies to just give up and be passive. I can't blame the group, as I am an adult and should take responsibility for my decisions, but I feel that it played a role by influencing me to make some unfortunate choices (one in particular) that continue to have a major negative impact on my life.

The group seemed to embody the criticism that psychiatry tends to be invested in continuing and even encouraging mental illness rather than actually "curing" it, or truly helping the patients.

This is all to say that, although I am sure that group therapy can be very beneficial, it's important to consider that the group is a good fit, and that it is actually helpful. I had my doubts from the start but I was so desperate for help that I went along with it for longer than I should have.

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