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Support Groups 101

Questions To Ask Before Joining A Support Group

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If you are thinking about joining a support group, here are some questions you may want to ask the group's contact person:

  • Who attends? For instance:
    • Survivors, caregivers, family members.
    • Where are they on the illness continuum (For example, newly diagnosed? In treatment?)
    • Age range
  • Who leads the meetings: a professional or a survivor? If a professional leads the group:
    • Is he or she a medical professional, social worker, or psychologist?
    • What are his or her credentials?
    • Experience?
  • How large is the group?
  • Are there any fees involved?  (If there is a fee, check your health insurance to see if it will pay the fees).
  • How long are the meetings?
  • How often does the group meet?
  • How long does the group meet: does it meet for a set number of weeks (say 8 - 12 weeks) or is it open ended?
  • Where does the group meet?
  • How long has the group been together?
  • What is the format of the meetings?
  • Is the main purpose to share feelings, or do people also offer tips to solve common problems?
  • If I attend a meeting, can I just sit and listen?
  • What are the group's rules? For instance, in some groups, people are encouraged to speak with each other between sessions. In others, such dialogue outside of the group is discouraged.

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