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Characteristics of Peer-Led Groups

Youth Community Health Group

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

Many peer-led groups have these common characteristics:

Sharing Equal Status

Ideally a peer-led group operates with all members committed to equal involvement and a shared responsibility for group tasks and maintenance. Input from each person is valued. People find common ground and connect by sharing similar issues, difficulties or life experiences.

 

Giving and Receiving

Group members have a give and take attitude. Each individual has the opportunity to receive support but also to offer support to others. People benefit just as much from helping as from being helped. This reciprocal approach to support enhances group members’ confidence and self-esteem.

 

Knowing From Experience

The knowledge and understanding people gain from experiencing something is valuable and is different from that gained through study or research. The practical information and emotional insights from shared experiences are both useful and comforting for group members.