The Benefits of In-Person Support Groups & Psychoeducation
As a busy and cash-strapped consumer, it makes sense that you may want to consider what therapy and support services are worth your investment of time and money, and idenify your needs.
Each of your options have their own benefits and limitations, and sometimes clients may benefit from varied services. There are points to ponder and consider as you are trying to find the best support plan for yourself. The options are plenty, and some are more costly and time-consuming then others.
Before offering the potential benefits of in-person group therapy and psychoeducation, I want to first share my own experiences. These experiences are unique, yet share in some of the issues you may face when deciding on pursuing individual therapy versus group therapy, on-line support groups versus in-person support groups, and on-line education and reading pamphlets versus in-person psychoeducation.
As a former full-time caregiver living in NYC, I took to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's on-line bulletin board for some reprieve. My immediate family and my former mother-in-law and local brother-in-law, and the hospital's Social Worker and Nursing staff were my biggest sources of support outside of my late husband. Yet, I wanted to be able to speak and connect with other spousal caregivers who were dealing with similar issues of walking the line of hope and anticipatory grief, walking the line of being a newlywed and a caregiver, and the common roller coaster of this marathon-like experience. Unfortunately, late into my caregiving experience, I finally found the free spousal caregiving support resource of Cancer Care. There was something particularly reassuring about having a group to gather with who were both dealing with being a spouse of a cancer patient and being a FT caregiver. Hearing about other's experiences provided me increased knowledge and perspectives, and a sense of community. There was also something reassuring about having something I did once a week for myself, besides exercising and talking walk breaks each day. This "appointment" became my way to structure my week, as had my Gilda's Club Cancer Bereavement Group a few months later.
Benefits of In-Person Support Groups and Psychoeducation: Self-Efficacy, Community, and Acceptance
There are multiple reasons why in-person psychoeducational classes provides resilience benefits to you, your relationships, and your life roles. Here is a partial list:
Normalizing your experiences.
Increasing your perspective-taking and knowledge of resources.
Providing a sense that "you are not alone" facing your issues, which reduces loneliness and provides a sense of community.
Empowerment and commitment to change through learning and taking this first step.
New coping skills to consider and try out.
Affordable and a low commitment of time.
Allows you to explore your needs in a non-threatening, nonjudgmental, and supportive place.
However, it should be noted that Support Groups and Classes may not take the place of needed individual, couples, and/or crisis counseling. Support Groups and Classes may be helpful as a supplement to your individual and/or couples counseling, and as a way to identify whether you may need further support.
For more information on Young Spousal and Partner Loss, Family Caregiver, and Partners of Sex Addicts Support Groups being offered by myself, please click here.