About Myeloma Support Groups
How to Lead a Cancer Support Group
Facilitating a cancer support group requires the ability to guide and protect group members. Leaders are also responsible for maintaining a safe atmosphere within the group and keeping group discussions flowing in a positive manner.
Contact a national cancer support group.Seek out someone in a leadership role on the national level to gain guidance on how you should manage your local cancer support group.
- Ask for tips about organization of meetings, confidentiality agreements, and typical length and frequency of meetings.
- Discuss the forms of publicity the national support group uses to spread the word about group activities. You may consider contacting the public relations department if your group is affiliated with a hospital or clinic, posting flyers and posters at medical facilities, community centers, and doctors' offices. An advertisement in your local paper and on online cancer support forums will also garner attention for your group.
- Talk with the national contact about ways to fund your group. Some methods your contact may suggest include filing claims with members' insurance companies, applying for grants, conducting fund raising activities, or accessing funds allocated by the hospital your group is affiliated with.
Decide if your support group will provide strictly group support services or cancer counseling.Group support sessions are run by and attended by non-counselors who are cancer survivors, while cancer counseling sessions should be facilitated or co-facilitated by a trained and licensed counselor.
Screen new group members.
- Schedule one-on-one meetings before accepting new members into the support group. Discuss the goals and rules of the group and ask about the potential member's reasons for joining the group. Find out what the new member expects to gain from the support group.
- Ask the new member to complete a pre-evaluation form. The form should allow the prospective member to express goals and expectations for the group. You can compare this form to the post-evaluation form when the member leaves the group to determine if you met the member's goals.
- Have the new member sign a confidentiality agreement stating that information shared in the group is not to be discussed with non-support group members. Inform the new member that signing the agreement is a requirement for joining the group and allows group members to feel safe sharing personal information. You can get copies of confidentiality agreements from your contact at a national cancer support group, the hospital or clinic your group is affiliated with, or you can download a confidentiality agreement template from the Internet and tailor it to your group's needs.
Set the tone for group discussions.
Enforce group rules.
- Encourage group members to follow rules that relate to listening and speaking to each other in a respectful manner. Monitor the mood and emotional tone of the group. Help members to confront feelings and problems in a non-harmful way.
- Add value to the information the members gain from talking about a specific topic by providing articles and reading recommendations that will deepen their knowledge on a subject.
- Contact physicians and other health care workers who provide services to cancer survivors and ask them to speak on a specific topic or to participate in a session in which the group members get to ask questions about issues such as long-term care and alternative treatments.
Summarize each meeting.
- Plan for 10 minutes at the end of each session to summarize the main points that have come out of the discussion. This approach will reinforce the structured nature of your meetings and bring about closure at the end of every session.
What should be the rules of any cancer support group?
Where can I get training for leading a support group?
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Date: 11.12.2018, 12:01 / Views: 85334