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Facili-nightmares!

Facili-nightmares keep you awake? You are ready to facilitate, you’ve created a great agenda and prepped your materials. Then you stop and wonder, “What if no one participates?, What if someone creates an unsafe space or says something inappropriate? What if participants starts arguing with each other? What if they ask you something that you don’t have an answer to? Challenging certain group behaviours can...

Tips for Starting Rural Peer Support Groups

Rural communities are unique, and therefore have unique needs when it comes to support group development. The following are a few insights into rural communities and suggestions that could be helpful in developing self-help groups. Tip 1: Stress Confidentiality Among Group Members Confidentiality is a very important issue in support group development and can be more of a challenge to maintain in rural communities. People in...

Peer and Professional Roles in Peer Support

A committed peer support group member has a responsibility to the group and to the peer support movement to promote the development of effective groups and effective relationships with professionals. In relationships with professionals, peers work to: Understand and explain the benefits and limitations of peer support groups. Promote the value of peer support group participation using specific examples. Describe the benefit...

Six Steps to Starting Peer Support Groups

STEP 1: Do Your Homework Search through your local paper, library and community organizations to see if other groups already exist. Call up several existing groups to find out what is working and not working. Talk to people with resources, such as professionals in the community. These people may have come across others who share a similar challenge or experience and want to participate in your group. You may want to talk to...

Principles of Peer Support

People come together to form peer support groups because they share a common experience or concern. Some groups focus on education and information while others centre on emotional support and sharing. Others offer an opportunity to socialize and form friendships. Each group forms and then changes according to the members’ needs. Many peer-led groups and organizations, whether they focus on community issues or provide...

Conflict Strategies: What Are You Like?

Different people use different strategies for managing conflicts. These strategies are learned, usually in childhood, and they seem to function automatically. Usually we are not aware of how we act in conflict situations. We just do whatever seems to come naturally. But we do have a personal strategy, and because it was learned, we can always change it by learning new and more effective ways of managing conflict. When you...

Group Problem Solving

Being able to come to an equitable decision as efficiently as possible is important for the functioning of any group. Therefore, it is important to take into account the needs and opinions of every group member when solving problems and addressing issues. Following is one basic problem solving model among hundreds. Identify issue, problem, goal, or decision to be made. Analysis Examine the data and resources that you have...

Roles in Stages of Group Development

forming ⇒ storming ⇒ norming ⇒ performing ⇒ adjourning Forming Individual Group Facilitator cautiously optimistic getting acquainted becoming oriented needing direction looking for acceptance   no commitment looking for ways to develop a positive environment   focus on building group   Facilitator Responsibilities give direction set climate clarify roles & expectations define peer support provide structure...

Group Guidelines and Goals

Group guidelines are designed to hold the group together. When a guideline doesn’t seem to be working, ask: Does everyone understand the meaning of the guideline? Does everyone know what to do in order to uphold the guideline? Is everyone willing to agree to the guideline? Does anyone have any ideas on how to improve or adapt the guideline to better meet the needs of the group and its members? Common categories for...

Participatory Group Decision-Making

What is participatory group decision-making? an opportunity for everyone in the group to have a chance to speak their mind, where differences of opinion are valued rather than feared. an environment where group members do their best to understand one another especially in the face of pressure or when contradictions arise. a process that takes time and careful facilitation so that each member of the group feels heard,...