Don't face life's battles on your own: Consider a support group
2/18/2013 1:29 PM
Facing a difficult circumstance alone can be a hard pill to swallow. That’s why so many have tapped into the advantages of getting involved with a support group. When it comes to asking for help of any kind, taking the first step presents major hurdle for many. It is normal to feel some anxiety or level of discomfort when reaching out for help, but remember that on the other end of that scenario are people waiting with open arms to welcome you.
Seeking help is a choice only you can make. Choice, the first guiding principle of the CREATION Health Lifestyle, is the first step of improving one's wellbeing.
"Conscious decision-making is key to experiencing the positive impact of good choices," according to information on the CREATION Health website.
THE BIG PICTURE
Besides alleviating the feeling of isolation that one may feel when they believe they are alone in their struggles, there are several other advantages that extend beyond meeting with a support group.
The coping skills that are learned in a support group will naturally extend to other parts of life, benefitting future difficult situations that may arise. The social aspect can benefit relationships outside of the group as well. Getting involved in a support group will promote interpersonal relationships, one of the CREATION Health principles.
"These connections will not be the same in every respect for any two people, although ideally these connections should generate a similar sense of openness, generosity, and good will," the CREATION Health website explains. " Although they take work, good relationships are one of our greatest blessings."
Meeting regularly with a group also tends to make a person feel a sense of accountability, which can lead to better decision-making when facing problems.
Asking for help can be intimidating whether it’s psychological or otherwise. That’s part of the reason why support groups have gained in popularity. The idea of a group of people versus one-on-one therapy sessions may seem much less awkward. However, leaders of support groups often recognize when a person would benefit from personal counseling. If this is suggested, be open to the idea. Chances are, since the first step of seeking help through a support group has already been taken, making the transition into a more personal and individualized therapy session won’t be so difficult.
After experienceing sessions with a support group, a person's outlook will likely change. Outlook is the seventh CREATION Health principle, and research shows that a person's attitude can affect their health, as well as the progression of disease.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR A SUPPORT GROUP?
Support groups can benefit people who suffer with depression or other mental ailments. They can also help people with family or relationship problems, chronic illness or addictions. Some support groups exist to help people who face common challenges, such as divorce, motherhood or weight management, just to name a few. Some support groups contain people with the same issues, but others can be mixed. The typical support group model is relatively small (including 10 or less members) but they can vary in size.
WHERE TO TURN
It’s usually safe to expect everything that is revealed in a support group to be kept confidential. Some support groups have costs attached to them, which is covered by insurance companies in some cases. Contact your insurance provider to see if support group services are included in your plan. Does your employer have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? EAP’s often provide counseling services at no charge. Doing an online search for support groups in your area may also help you to narrow your search. Many support groups are offered through community non-profits and hospitals, including Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcos.
At CTMC, there are a variety of different types of support groups, including:
For more information, on the support groups offered to the Hays County community, visit www.ctmc.org and click on the “Events & Classes” tab.
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