Support Group Guidelines
Our group discussions are a supplement to – not a substitute for – professional treatment. The group does not offer quick fixes or cures and is inclusive of people living with any mental health diagnosis – whether professionally or self-proclaimed. Our group is also for parents, spouses, family members, friends, students and anyone who has a true interest in learning about these mental health issues. We focus on personal recovery; we are not a therapy group. The goal is for members to listen and learn, to share and trust, to be kind and supportive of one another. Through our sharing of our feelings and experiences we provide hope to one another. Through our continual attendance we gain the tools of recovery; and we know that this is a journey that we are here to provide support to one another.
Our Guiding Values
- Confidentiality is our priority. Members may not discuss anything outside the group about what is discussed here or who is here. To do so would discourage people’s willingness to share very personal and confidential feelings and experiences which is necessary for a support group. Members can, but should be cautious in contacting each other outside the group. This is in order to respect boundaries’, to be cautious of co-dependency, and to be aware that people in the group are at various levels of managing their mental health issues.
- Using “I” statements enables us to own our own issues. Try to keep focused on yourself, your wellness or your illness rather than talking about other people. Using the names of others is a violation of confidentiality.
- It may take extraordinary courage for some members to reveal personal feelings. Please be sensitive to this and refrain from interrupting another person speaking or by cross talking.
- We are all simply peers, and therefore, no one should question, judge or advise anyone.
- We are responsible for our own recovery. Sharing behavior patterns and actions that we have found to be effective – or not effective – in coping with our mental health issues can be of great help for others. Sharing issues and experiences in common, lets each other know that they are not alone.
- We share our own personal feelings, experiences, joys, triumphs and problems during difficult times. It is not necessary to share the specific names of people, or places in your life; (including jobs or residence, etc.) simply express how those things impact you and your feelings.
- Listening helps us learn from other peer’s experiences.
- Recommending a particular course of action, physician, treatment or medication is NOT our purpose. Members can and do express their own personal experiences in these matters.
- Kindness and support is our aim. Members treat each other as they would want to be treated, respectfully and without judgment. We practice safe boundaries and are cautious of co-dependency.
- If you become a threat to yourself or to the group, experiencing problematic symptoms, the group facilitator may ask that you seek the help from your support system, the Diagnostic Evaluation Center (DEC), and/or hospital services and security, and or 911. You will not be alone during this dark period. Our goal is to maintain a safe environment for you and for all of the group members.
- If your behavior poses a threat to any member of the group, you may be banned from attending future meetings until your behavior is under better control.
- Feel free to take a break outside the meeting room if needed, to attend to your personal needs.
- Please turn cell phones to vibrate or off during the group.
- We simply go in order, around the room to each person; this gives everyone an opportunity to share. Please limit your comments to a time sufficient for everyone to have time to share. No one is required to speak, and anyone can simply “pass” when it comes to their time to share.