An example of a Support Group Format

By November 15, 2019Blog

Following on from the blog on 12-11-19 about how to run a successful support group – here is an example of one of my eating disorder groups from a while ago. You can see how structured they are as a guide, but with flexibility built in in case you need it.

A Support Group Example – Topic: Overcoming the Numb Zone

1. Distribute name tags
2. Enquire as to how everyone’s week went – allow 5-10 minutes “diffusing time”
3. Brief overview of this week’s workshop

Materials Required
1. Handouts provided

1. Ask participants to describe in one word how they feel right now

Discussion of the following points:

Common feelings in sufferers of eating disorders tend to be the more negative mood states (depression). Depression is a particular problem in its own right, but is often precipitated in eating disorders sufferers because of electrolyte imbalances (due to periods of starvation and/or bingeing and purging behaviours). There are different ways of dealing with negative mood states.

Step 1 Dealing with and changing your thinking (last week’s session) – become aware of self-defeating thought patterns and challenge yourself with more rationale ones

Step 2 Awareness – recognising your feelings.

Discuss the following in some depth:

• Paying attention to your mood states and changes – when you start to feel sad, gloomy, angry, bored, lonely, tune into what’s happening and how you’re feeling

• Own your feelings – starting to talk about your feelings will help you to own them

• Be alert to your body – this is a clue to your emotions!

• Label your avoidance – keep a lookout for the places, people, activities you used to do but avoid now. Forget about WHY you avoid them – think about WHEN you avoid them

• Think about the times when your confidence disappears – certain times and places?

Homework / Closing

1. Provide participants with the sheet on identifying feelings and instruct them to look at the dictionary meaning of the word listed over the next few weeks
2. Finish with a motivational story

I used to design 12 at a time and have them available to choose from as I went (all groups are different so work out what is important for yours)! Enjoy the journey supporting others and remember you can always ask for supervision from a mentor if you need it.