What is a support group?
A support group brings together people facing the same challenge or going through the same phase of life. It allows its members to share experiences, feelings, information and resources, in an atmosphere of acceptance, understanding and encouragement. The goal is for members to normalize their experience and provide mutual encouragement, and/or to get motivated and supported in taking actions that will help them deal with the difficulty they face. A professional psychologist or counselor, with training in groups, usually facilitates the smooth and effective progression of the group.
Interacting with people sharing the same area of concern as yours has many emotional benefits to offer, such as reduce in feelings of loneliness, facilitation of emotional expression, improvement in coping skills and better psychological adjustment. The group provides the environment of acceptance and support needed for healing, while group members get to learn from one another being provided with different avenues for development. At the same time, every group can provide its members with valuable information about themselves and their interpersonal behaviors.
Does it replace individual therapy/counseling?
No, the support group cannot replace the work done in individual therapy/counseling. The reason is simply that they don’t serve the same purpose.
Support groups bring together people facing the same difficulty, allowing them to normalize their experience, get emotional support and, if needed, receive encouragement to take action. Individual Therapy/Counseling is highly personal; it takes place in an one-in-one basis and is tailor-made to each person’s unique needs. The issue at hand is tackled at a deeper level and in a systematic way, while the broader picture of the individual is and all the factors involved are thoroughly explored.
For many people the support group complements individual therapy/counseling.
*Support groups are offered in Cyprus, either in English or Greek.
*Support groups usually last 8 weeks. The group meets once a week for 1-1.5 hours.
*Each group is composed by 4-8 participants.
*All group members are to follow certain ground rules (i.e. Maintaining confidentiality, showing respect to other group members etc.) which are established at the beginning of each group.