When trying anything new, we are commonly faced with anxiety and fear about the outcome or turnout. Attending a support group for the first time is no different. However, overcoming your unease and attending a support group, in whatever area you seek support, can be a valuable step toward healing.
As humans, we all go through trying times where additional support is extremely helpful. Sometimes our inner circle may sympathize with us, however, they do not always know the best things to say or how to help. This is why support groups are so powerful. They were developed to bring people, who are facing similar situations, together. Whatever issues you are facing, sometimes the voice of someone who is walking alongside you can be the most healing and helpful.
A support group is a place where people can receive constructive information, feel encouraged to overcome problems, and feel less alone when surrounded by individuals with shared experiences.
Community – Connect with like-minded people to grow through shared experiences
Coaching & Mentorship – Opportunity to get guidance from Support Group Leader and attendees
Broadened Horizons – Gain exposure to extensive communities to learn diverse perspectives
Although it is perfectly normal to feel apprehensive about joining a support group, we have addressed some misconceptions about support groups and how they work below.
|Myth: There are no support groups available in my area
|Fact: Nationally and regionally, there are various support groups that operate online via a HIPAA-protected platform, to increase access to those in smaller areas or with fewer options.
|Myth: My answers will not be answered at a support group
|Fact: Although support groups are not promising a solution to all your problems, most individuals feel encouraged and supported when working through these issues or thoughts.
|Myth: I will be required to share my experience
|Fact: Most support groups are based on voluntary participation, meaning it is okay to share and it is okay not to share. Most people choose to share because this is what they have found to be the most helpful to them. However, it is very common for people to ease into the discussion over the course of attending a couple sessions.
|Myth: The other participants in the group will judge me or criticize the things I say
Are you interested in joining a support group? See what’s available at The Costello Center by clicking here.
Nicole Wang received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Florida. She has worked in the Emergency Department as a Medical Scribe, volunteered in various medical specialties, and has assisted in Melanoma research at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. In addition to working at The Costello Center as a Psychology Intern, Mental Health Course Developer and Researcher, she also leads Postpartum Support International’s Pregnancy Mood Support Groups. Ms. Wang is starting a Doctoral program in Clinical Psychology in the Fall of 2023.