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Features of Support Groups

  • The individual participant is responsible for welfare of self. If the group is overwhelming, it is the individual’s responsibility to seek outside treatment.
  • Participants can expect information, coping strategies and peer support in a warm, non-judgmental environment.
  • The focus is more on meeting the general needs of the group around a common theme (e.g. binge eating).
  • The facilitator’s role in a support group is to maintain the safety of group members, assist them to give and receive support to each other and to draw attention to commonalities in group members’ experiences.
  • Support groups complement or supplement existing outpatient and hospital-based programs.
  • Groups serve as a place where gains made in treatment can be consolidated and maintained through peer support and by providing information.
  • Support groups can encourage treatment where needed, and can act as a first step towards treatment.