By Tosha Begley Orr, Support Group Advocate
The thought of joining a support group can be intimidating. Meeting with a group of people you’ve never met and being expected to talk about something very private is scary. Especially for those who have experienced trauma. However, if you can overcome your initial fear and attend just one group, you’ll find it extremely beneficial.
Support groups provide a safe place to talk. They’re a place to express a part of your life experience that is typically hidden from others. Maybe that part has been kept secret for years and eating away at your soul. The ability to share those feelings or experiences with someone who understands is invaluable. This can be a very powerful experience. Support groups provide a place where you can develop trust in a no-pressure environment. No one will force you to talk until you’re ready. Once you are ready to share about your experience you will be met with nothing but understanding, compassion and support.
A recent group attendee had this to say about the experience: “I have experienced group to be a safe place for women where women can share their story, give and receive support, encouragement and hope.”
You’ll have the opportunity to be heard and validated in your experiences. In a support group setting you can learn to find and develop your voice. You no longer need to remain silent. In a support group, you can support others as well. You develop bonds with the group members and encourage each other on your journey towards healing.
A support group member who is well on the journey to healing, said, “This group has saved me! Because of abuse, I have depression. I had no one to help me until I found this group. Because of this support I am starting to be happy and live life.”
Families First offers several different Indianapolis support groups and Greenfield support groups. There are support groups for those who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. We also have groups for families who have experienced domestic violence. Groups are offered at various times and locations. All groups are offered free of charge.
Many support group members go on to lead support groups themselves. This is encouraged once a member has reached a certain point in their healing process and feels ready.
A former support group member who is now leading groups, shared, “Families First Support Groups were a life line for me that grew to a support system that I use to this day. Helping with groups now is my way of giving back. Others helped me so I am helping others.”
There are many opportunities to volunteer for Families First support groups. You do not need to have attended a support group to volunteer for one.