Evaluating Peer Support Groups

Once you’ve joined a group, or if you’re leading a group and have had a couple of meetings, it’s helpful to evaluate your experience. Every group and every individual is unique. No group will offer everything, but it is worthwhile to consider what you like best, and what you would like to change in a group (this evaluation can be an individual and/or a group process). Depending on your conclusions, you might work to make improvements within the group, or look for support elsewhere.

Here’s a simple checklist that each person in a group can use to evaluate the experience:

☐ I feel safe to open up and talk.
☐ I feel supported.
☐ I learn, give, and receive.
☐ I make friends.
☐ I can be a leader too.
☐ I can leave the group or rejoin when I want to.
☐ I feel safe to address feelings of tension or conflict when they arise.
☐ There is discussion of conflict (when it arises).
☐ There is change and laughter.
☐ Members graduate and celebrate.
☐ Membership goes up and down.
☐ It feels right for me.

* And remember: if there are challenges, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should just walk away from the group. Be open about what needs to change. Sometimes it’s a healthy change we need to make in ourselves, and other times it’s a healthy change we need to make in the group that will benefit all of the other members.

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