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What Is So Special About Support Groups?

There is some kind of magic that happens when people are brought together in a group. When you think about it, teams are groups, families are groups, and friends are groups. Human beings are built to thrive in groups. So, why does being part of a support group seem like a bad idea to a lot of people?

Support Group Myths and Facts:

Myth: It's the same as therapy

Fact: A group is not designed to offer professional counseling or psychological therapy. It's a place for people experiencing similar things to come together and discuss with each other how they have been impacted and share what has worked for them.

Myth: I'll have to bear my soul to strangers

Fact: It's up to you how much you decide to share. There are ground rules set up by the group leader, but no one is ever forced to speak. Group members are carefully chosen to promote the best possible group dynamic.

Myth: Joining a group will just make me feel worse

Fact: Sharing your experience with others that have had similar experiences in an extremely healing process. You will be surprised by how much more "normal" you feel once you've participated in a group.

Myth: People just sit around and complain

Fact: The talk in a group is monitored by the group leader who is a mental health professional. Sometimes the group has a predetermined topic to discuss and at other times participants foster their own topics. You will have a chance to learn about things you didn't know about before from people that have the life experience to tell you how it impacted them; treatments, medications, coping skills, programs, etc.

Myth: My personal and confidential information be shared in a way I cannot control

Fact: Confidentiality is essential to any therapeutic experience. Confidentiality is protected not only by the policies of Pacific MFT Network, but by law, and each group member must sign a confidentiality agreement which specifies the civil and criminal penalties that can result from breaches of confidentiality.

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