Through weekly support meetings, members of a women's support group in Post Falls, Idaho can find comfort in the knowledge that they are not alone in their struggles. There is no cost to participate or attend a meeting. To ensure consistency and safety, group facilitators should use specific behaviors. For instance, they should always sit in the same spot in the group and respond consistently to certain behaviors.
They must also maintain clear and consistent boundaries, such as specific start and end times, behavioral norms, and basic rules for speaking. The type of clothing worn by the group leader should be appropriate for the environment and type of group. However, it is desirable that there be some predictability throughout the group experience. The leader should not come dressed in a suit and tie one day and wearing blue jeans the next day. If there are potential subgroups within the group, this should be taken into consideration when forming it. In a support group, members can talk to other people who are like them and understand what they are going through.
It is the responsibility of the group facilitator to question the group's conclusions or recommendations when they deny individual autonomy or may have serious negative consequences. Sequential interventions should be used to support experiential change and build authentic and supportive interpersonal relationships. Spirituality and faith can offer hope, encouragement, sense of purpose and meaning, and support necessary to move toward recovery. However, it is important to recognize that people interpret spiritual matters in a variety of ways. The leader must also recognize that group members have a high level of vulnerability and need support, especially in the early stages of treatment. With relatively low effort and cost, a support group can have a significant impact on the lives of people who are faced with a problem.
Group leaders must modify their styles to meet customer needs at different times. Facilitation is about being aware of what happens when people come together to achieve a common goal and to direct their attention and concentration in ways that serve the group itself. For example, a patient who is in the initial phase of treatment and who performs well and is used to working in groups will usually need a less active and less structured therapist. If a member makes an openly hostile comment, the leader's response must clearly state what has happened and set a firm limit for the group that makes it clear that group members should not be attacked. Encourage the group to learn the skills needed to support and encourage each other, as too much or too frequent support from the doctor can lead to seeking approval, impeding growth and independence. In support groups and interpersonal processes, the leader's main task is to stimulate communication between group members, and not between individual members and the leader. You've put a lot of effort into getting ready for your support group to start, and now the day has come.
The Ohio metropolitan area branch of the Lupus Foundation of America supports people living with lupus and lupus advocates in Ohio.