How Support Groups for Parents Benefit Families

What Is A Support Group?

A support group is a meeting or workshop where people gather with others facing similar issues. It provides a safe space where you can talk in a free manner. It also allows you to meet new people who can potentially become a support community once the group is concluded. In addition, support groups provide you with the ability to feel validated in what you might be experiencing within your day to day life. 

What is the difference between a support group and group therapy?

These groups are different from your typical group therapy as they work towards people understanding how to cope within areas in their lives, rather than focusing on helping members of the group change a behaviour. These groups for adults have become popular over the past 40 years with numerous benefits.  

How a support group can benefit the whole family?

One area where support groups hold many of these benefits is in the family system. For example, parents and family members that have attended adult support groups on mental health related subjects have shown that they gained a better understanding of how to care for other family members. This included how to be there when they were struggling with mental health or disorders. Adults learned how to utilize strategies on emotional regulation and coping skills to help their family members and children when they are in need of support.  Support groups even allow adults to recognize coping skills they could use for themselves. An example of this includes going for a walk to allow time to cool off and understand what caused them to feel affected by the interaction involving the mental health of another individual (Heller et al, 1997). Another significant benefit of support groups is that they allow people to gain resources they would otherwise not be aware of. These resources can lead to new activities, clinics or other support programs. 

Benefits of A Support Group

The biggest area that support groups help with most is having a space where you don’t feel alone and are connected to others with similar struggles. It creates a safe space to be heard, understood and to bounce ideas off of each other. It is very powerful to be connected with like minded people where you don’t feel judged or misunderstood.

If you find yourself lacking support and wanting to understand how to better be there for your family members, a support group could be a great resource for you.

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