In order to use the power of support groups for personal growth, you must understand the ways that members contribute to the discussions. Whether a person is naturally talkative or prefers to be quiet, allowing everyone the opportunity to contribute to the group is essential. You should also emphasize the confidentiality of the group to protect everyone's privacy. Once the members are aware of this rule, you should let them know how to use it to their advantage.
As a facilitator, you may want to consider different methods of communication to help group members communicate. One of the most effective approaches is to encourage group members to ask questions and share their thoughts. It helps if the members of the group are supportive and encouraging, and it can help them make decisions in a better way. For instance, group members can help each other identify possible solutions for their problems and offer valuable input.
In order to use support groups effectively, you should consider the length of the sessions. Depending on the situation, support groups can be either long-term or limited in time. A six-week suicide loss support group, for example, is better than one that meets year-round. The latter type of format is best suited for crisis situations, but it may not be available when you need it. A longer-term support group, on the other hand, is better for chronic illness.
The size of the group is also a factor. Small groups with a small number of participants, such as five to fifteen members, are more effective than large ones, which can become impersonal. Small groups may benefit from the combined methods of advertising, networking, and referrals. One of the most popular methods of recruiting new members is through a "people chain" - when one member tells a friend about the group.
When it comes to the size of support groups, there are many types. Small, medium, and large-sized groups can be grouped together for various purposes. Some groups are strictly for those with specific problems, while others are designed to help people with different problems cope. Oftentimes, a support group can be beneficial for the community as a whole, as well as for individuals suffering from a specific problem.
While it can be frightening to discuss personal problems with strangers, you should try it for a few weeks. You may find that you can work out a new group format that is more conducive to your needs and interests. However, you need to consider the safety of your group before you commit yourself to one. If you are uncomfortable sharing your feelings in a support group, you may want to find another one.