How to determine when it's a good time for you to join a support group?

Written by: The Circles Team

Jan 02, 2021

Have you been told that you should join a support group by your doctor or your family members? Are you trying to figure out when you should join a support group? These are signs that it may be time to start looking for a support group today.

You are isolating yourself One of the first experiences for many people that are struggling in isolation. You may be spending more time in your room, avoiding your friends, and creating excuses for family gatherings. This can become an easy pattern for avoiding your negative emotions and people trying to assist you. At a certain point, you might even find yourself feeling comfortable with being alone.

Research has found isolation to have adverse health effects, including insomnia, memory issues, impairments in decision making, cardiovascular health issues, and a decline in the immune system(1). If you find yourself feeling more lonely and isolated, it’s time to find you the support that you need today.

No one seems to understand what you are going through There is a wide range of responses to your hardships and difficulties from family members and friends. Some reactions are helpful, and others might not be as supportive. You might find yourself feeling tired of explaining your situation or your emotions again and again. If you are struggling to find a sense of understanding from others and feeling alone through your process, it’s a sign that you need a different type of support.

Your emotional journey is unique to your situation, and it may seem that the only people that can thoroughly understand are those struggling with the same difficulties. If you are starting to feel your support system’s limitations, there is a community for you. Support groups are a space where you will share a common ground with others.

You need new ways of coping with your situation One of the commonly shared emotions while going through tough times is being out of control. You might find yourself spinning out of control with your emotions as you feel a sense of loss of control over your situation. When this happens, it’s normal to attempt to regain control through different coping mechanisms. Some coping strategies you are using might be helpful and healthy, while other methods might be causing more problems in your life and current situation.

It is essential for you to find a healthy way to cope with your unique situation. It can help you discuss these coping skills with others that are also in the same situation as you are. Don’t be afraid to seek help and find new ways to deal with your situation before things spin out of control.

Here are the top reasons people find it helpful to join a support group:

You are looking for an understanding of your situation: You have questions about yourself, your situation, and the future. If the why’s and how’s of your difficulties are ruminating at night and interrupting your daily activities, it’s time to understand what you are going through. If you are unsure where to ask specific questions about your situation, you will find support groups to be a safe place to find the answers. Support groups are a place where you will gain in-depth knowledge about your emotional process, practical tips for coping, and resources for your situation. The group facilitators are equipped to guide you through your emotional journey, and other group members are present to share their knowledge of the journey.

You want accountability for change: You want improvements in your life and have intentions to feel different; however, if your situation has taken over and you are finding yourself on the same downward spiral, you might need a gentle reminder to move forward towards change. You will find a group of people who desire you to feel better and need your support for their change. Checking in each week and discussing the topics related to the shared emotions can be an effective way to find accountability. Find a support group today to bring about the change that you are looking for.

Circles is a great place to start your journey of healing with others that understand your struggles. With the option to stay completely anonymous and access the support from the comfort of your place, you don’t ever have to feel alone again.

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Is Group Therapy as Effective as Individual Therapy?

Written by: The Circles Team

Jan 04, 2021

You have decided it is time to get support for the challenges you are facing. You have already done the most challenging part by recognizing that you no longer want to face what is challenging you alone. The decision to start therapy can be scary. It can be even more terrifying when you are unsure of what to expect or feel overwhelmed by all the different therapy types out there.

Perhaps, you are new to therapy. Sometimes, it can be challenging to know what type of treatment will work best for you and the issues you are facing. A quick Internet search will show seemingly unlimited options. It can be not easy, not to mention overwhelming, to decide on the right approach for you. You may even be wondering, are my challenges better suited for individual or group therapy? Research shows that both modes of therapy are equally effective. There are, however, significant differences in the focus of these therapies and how they can best help you best navigate your unique life challenges.

It is also essential to recognize that individual therapy and group therapy are not mutually exclusive. It is often a common practice that both therapy modes go hand in hand and can be used as a “two-fold” approach. So just what are the benefits of group therapy?

What is Group Therapy?

First, what exactly is group therapy? In its simplest definition, group therapy gathers like-minded people who meet regularly to offer mutual support and discuss ways they are coping with life challenges. Groups may meet for several weeks, months, or even stay connected for years. Groups may be open - new members are welcome to join at any time or closed, where all members begin at the same time. Groups can also be peer-led or be led by a therapist.

What Will I Gain From Joining a Support Group?

Whatever form of therapy you choose, you are likely to receive a wide range of benefits. Professionally facilitated online support groups are unique in that they rely on the support of the group and the therapists’ input. Here are five additional services associated with joining professionally facilitated support groups.

Group Therapy is Cost-Effective:

Individual therapy can be expensive, and group therapy can be offered at just a fraction of the cost. Individual sessions can cost up to 200.00 per hour, whereas group therapy can cost as little as $15 per hour.

Groups Therapy Provides the Power of Universality:

It is common when you are suffering from feeling alone with your feelings. But when you join a support group, it can be tremendously comforting and a huge relief to learn that you are not the only one facing this problem or the only one who feels a certain way about an issue. At Circles, we have learned the more homogenous the group, the easier it is for members to connect and find hope and comfort together.

Group Therapy Allows You to See Yourself in Others:

Discussing your issues in a group setting can reveal insights about yourself that, in the past, you may have been too close to see. Discussion topics are organically generated by the group allowing for varying perspectives to common problems. Group therapy also allows you to model successful behaviors while reflecting on your own.

Group Therapy Allows You to Tap into a Social Network and Beat Loneliness:

Whether you have recently lost a loved one, are facing a divorce, a cancer diagnosis, or any other life challenge, you may be facing newfound loneliness. Becoming a member of a support group will help you gain a sense of belonging and acceptance. Friendships also develop and extend outside of the formal group meetings, many continuing for years to come.

Group Therapy is More Than Peer Support:

Therapists who lead professionally facilitated group sessions can help group members navigate issues with specialized expertise. Whereas group members and peers are valuable support, professionally facilitated groups offer benefits beyond forums or informal self-help groups.

Group therapy can be a helpful resource no matter the challenges you are facing. The good news is the different types of support groups available are plenty. So, whatever challenges you are facing, there is likely a support group waiting for a valued member, just like you.

The Benefits of Joining a Support Group

Written by: The Circles Team

Dec 01, 2020

Support groups offer a space where people can share common issues, ranging from health concerns to emotional needs. In well-formulated groups, the members can express their honest thoughts and struggles without the fear of judgment. Support groups can be utilized as supplemental to medical treatments or individual therapy services to cultivate healing or personal growth.

Talking to others about our difficulties helps us see our situation clearly by reflecting on our own needs and emotions. At times, our immediate circle of support may not be equipped enough for the amount of emotional pain that we are encountering. Joining a support group can be beneficial in many ways, whether dealing with an emotionally challenging situation or suffering from a mental and physical health issue.

Support groups come in various formats and structures. Some groups may be informative, while others might be emotionally-process-oriented. There are groups for people looking for targeted behavioral changes, specific situational issues, health issues, and groups that serve therapeutic purposes. We are all in need of a support group of a proper shape or style.

Support groups are offered in many different settings, including religious organizations, nonprofits, therapy offices, health clinics, and online platforms. The other locations provide options for diverse support groups to find the necessary care. You will find a sense of comfort in being able to listen and discuss your emotional challenges with others.

These are just a few of the benefits of joining a support group:

  • Fewer feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • Gaining knowledge about the emotional process of your difficult situations
  • Feeling understood by others.
  • Discovering coping skills
  • Gaining resources from others going through similar situations
  • Provides a sense of belonging and validation
  • Empowerment
  • Stimulating new thoughts and feelings about your situations
  • Gaining the ability to manage your emotions
  • Sharing accountability
  • Affordability

We all need a place to share our tears and laughter with a community of people that understand our expressed emotions. Circles support groups offer the opportunity to have a balanced integration of sharing information, building coping skills, and processing emotions.

You will find that Circles offers a unique approach to connect you with your emotional community. Find your support group led by a mental health professional today.