The Functions of a Support Group
A support group is a gathering of people facing a common problem. These groups are usually led by a professional trained in coping with the problem or by a knowledgeable survivor of the problem. No matter what the type, support groups serve a variety of functions.
A support group allows its members to express their feelings and frustrations in a safe environment. Groups typically offer a level of confidentiality to its members that makes them free to be candid in expressing their experiences.
Support groups allow for those suffering from a particular problem to hear their experiences validated through the accounts of others. This allows them to feel a commonality, reducing the feeling of isolation they may otherwise suffer.
Removal of shame
The commonality of experiences allows group members to get past any shame that their problem may impart upon them. Support groups allow members to recognize their role in a problem without blame.
Support group members benefit from the experience of others and the wisdom of experts or professionals. They are given valuable information about coping strategies and ways to deal with or face their problems.
Support groups allow for the building of a support network in a person's life that extends beyond the group setting. The friendships and contacts made in a support group can continue to help a person even after the conclusion of the support group or the end to their problem.
Source: Hayley Harrison, eHow