Support groups bring together people facing similar issues, whether that's illness, relationship problems or major life changes. Members of support groups often share experiences and advice. It can be helpful just getting to talk with other people who are in the same boat. While not everyone wants or needs support beyond that offered by family and friends, you may find it helpful to turn to others outside your immediate circle. A support group can help you cope better and feel less isolated as you make connections with others facing similar challenges. A support group shouldn't replace your standard medical care, but it can be a valuable resource to help you cope (Staff, 2013). Examples of support groups include those who have similar illnesses, diseases, or chronic conditions, such as cancers and addiction. Also support groups help people with relationship problems, such as divorce and adoption, as well as those with major life changes, such as the death of a partner or child, caring for an elderly parent, divorce, or job loss (Corey, 1997). Members of support groups typically share their own personal experiences and provide each other with helpful advice. It can be extremely therapeutic to actively communicate with others who face the same types of life challenges. Generally, support group members are not judgmental. Being negatively judged sometimes happens when an individual discusses their problems with close family members and friends. Additionally, a support group can help people feel much less isolated or alone as they make valuable “connections” with other “like-minded” people (Yalom, I. 1995). While a support group should never replace professional medical or psychiatric care, it can be a valuable resource to assist individuals in effectively coping with their problems. Support groups occur in a variety of different formats or settings, including in-person group discussions, telephone conversations, and online groups. Groups are often...
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