Is a Support Group Right for Me?
Before joining a support group, you may want to ask yourself if you’re comfortable talking about personal issues. You can also think about what you hope to gain by joining one. A support group may not be right for everyone. Some people don’t like to hear about others’ problems. And some find that their need for a support group changes over time.
If you have a choice of support groups, visit a few and see what they are like. See which ones make sense for you. Although many groups are free, some charge a small fee. Find out if your health insurance pays for support groups.
If you’re thinking about joining a support group, here are some questions you may want to ask the group’s contact person:
- How large is the group?
- Who attends (survivors, family members, types of cancer, age range)?
- How long are the meetings?
- How often does the group meet?
- How long has the group been together?
- Who leads the meetings – a professional or a survivor?
- What is the format of the meetings?
- Is the main purpose to share feelings, or do people also offer tips to solve common problems?
- If I go, can I just sit and listen?
Support groups vary greatly, and if you have one bad experience, it doesn’t mean these groups aren’t a good option for you. You may also want to find another cancer survivor with whom you can discuss your cancer experience. Many organizations can pair you with someone who had your type of cancer and is close to your age and background.
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