Support Groups...Who Needs Them?

by Jerry Tamburino, staff

We all do! "No man is an island". Many of us have heard that phrase but how many of us realize how interdependent we truly are? Think of the activities that make up your average day. In order to accomplish the simplest of tasks, we often need the cooperation or support of others. When we experience a trauma in our life, we need even more support. Think of a time when you felt the pain of a great loss or the frustration of a decision too important for you to make alone. At times of stress, the natural thing to do is to reach out for someone who understands, a friend, family member or someone who has had a similar problem or experience. Sharing our grief, frustration, and difficult decisions with others is a great way to get through tough times. Sharing with others also acts as a glue that bonds us together.

For the last three months, I have co-facilitated a support group at the Milford facility. The participants come together monthly to discuss life's frustrations, but also to share accomplishments and achievements. Members bring a pot-luck dish or dessert to get the meeting started. The discussion begins with each of us telling something about ourselves of which the group is not aware. This can be difficult since many in the group have known each other for a couple of years. Usually, in the course of conversation, the "hot" topic will emerge. In this way, the control and responsibility for the group's success lies with the group. Through this joint decision-making and sharing of responsibility, new bonds and friendships form.

As a result of these new relationships, members have shown interest in recreational activities as well. Suggestions for group outings are discussed and plans made for interested members. Most recently, the group gathered for a night of socializing and dancing at a local establishment.

So think about your "support group". With whom do you share life's highs and lows? Isn't it time for a get together?

Revised: Saturday, February 23, 2002 08:42 AM