By Barbara Cervoni, LMSW, ACSW
Director of Services and Communication
Chances are, you never thought of joining a support group. Maybe you’re not even sure what a support group is. Or maybe you’re worried about how it might feel to participate. It’s not unusual to be hesitant about trying something new.
We understand. That’s why our support groups are designed with your needs in mind. Our support groups provide a safe haven… a place where women can talk openly, share resources, stories, tears and even laughter. There’s no better place to truly connect with other women who know how you feel.
The most powerful way to learn what our support groups can offer is to see how being in a group makes a difference in one person’s life.
So, here are some thoughts from Alison, who’s attended one of our groups since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2014:
“I started going to support group before I began my treatment. I talked with my Peer Counselor and she helped me find a group that worked for me. I really connected with everyone in the group right away. Our facilitator is great. She always makes sure to ask what’s new with everyone who’s there.”
What Group Is Like
“There’s nothing like being in a room full of people who can all relate to what you’re experiencing. Everyone has an open mind, you can share your fears and apprehensions. Everyone really does band together, everyone chimes in. Group gives me a different perspective that I wouldn’t get anyplace else. It’s other women who have been in your shoes. Being in a support group is so reassuring, so comforting. You can say anything. Or you can just listen.”
Sharing and Learning
“It’s so helpful to talk about what you’re experiencing and learn that other people are going through it too, like side effects from medication as one example. Statistics are one thing, but hearing it from another person who is dealing with the same thing, or a whole group of people, is so much better.”
How Group Has Helped Me
“Before I went to group I was a wreck. I was so anxious, so worried about dealing with hair loss and everything else. Seeing a room full of other women who had gone through the same things, or were going through the same things, at different phases, was so helpful. They talked to me about wigs, hats, how to talk to my children, how much time to take off from work. I would have been clueless about so many things if it weren’t for the group.”
Exceeded My Expectations
“I never expected to get so much out of it. My first time there everyone spent so much time making me feel at ease. They asked me so many questions about myself. When I got home my husband said ‘You are in such a good mood!’ It’s like that every time I come home from group; I always feel so much better than I did before. I almost never miss a session.”
My Advice: Give It A Try
“For anyone who’s not sure about group: Give it a try. It’s so helpful no matter where you are in the process: before, during or after treatment. It’s a place where everyone else has been through what you’re going through. Friends and family haven’t been in your shoes, these women have. Being in group makes me feel like it isn’t just me, I’m not alone. The women in my support group make me feel like I can get through this. They give me the message ‘We will do this with you.’ They are my lifeline.”
You can learn more about our support groups (including when and where they meet, and how to participate) on this page.