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I think there is a need for support groups in my community but I keep bumping up against a series of walls. I have put out feelers to see if there is any interest but just informally . I am not a professional counselor or social worker and don't know how to connect with them .In the past , I was very roughly treated by the very people whose assistance I need .In fact it was extreme sabotage. Any ideas ?

Thank you for your question. I’m sorry to hear that you feel there aren’t sufficient resources to support you in your community (and especially that you haven’t been treated well when reaching out for support).
I wasn’t able to tell from your question if you were interested in starting a support group, but if so, here are some general steps you could follow to make that happen (from You don’t need to be a professional counselor or social worker to bring people together to talk about the things you have in common and support one another in your journey.

  1. Evaluate the need- are there already relevant resources in your area? (which it seems like you have been doing by putting out feelers)
  2. Evaluate yourself (Do you have the time necessary to plan and publicize the meetings, coordinate special events, and talk with individual members who call with problems? Are you committed to attending the meetings, even if you’re having a bad day? Do you feel comfortable in front of a group? Are you able to be assertive enough (in a kind way) to keep the meeting on track? Do you maintain a positive, encouraging and hopeful attitude? Are you a good listener?)
  3. Find a co-leader (or two). Starting a group is a big lift for one person.
  4. Start with the basics (who should be included in the group? What are you going to call the group? Where are you going to meet? Why are you forming this group?
  5. Create a comfortable meeting format (a standard format is 15 minutes for welcome and announcements, 45 minutes for a speaker or program, and 30 minutes for Q & A)
  6. Spread the word!

I would also recommend that you check out Chapter 16 of the Community Toolbox: Group Facilitation and Problem solving. There you will find information and resources for developing facilitation skills and leading group discussions.
If you are more interested in joining an existing support group, but haven’t been able to find them in your community, I would suggest looking for support/interest groups online. There are some wonderful online groups out there that come together around a variety of needs, issues, and topics. It may not be in-person, but it could be a good start and could even help you to find others in your area to connect with.
I hope this response answers your question. Thank you for using Ask an Advisor. I wish you all the best in finding the support that you need!

Question Date: Tue, 04/11/2017