How to Start a Women's Support Group

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Start your own women's support group.
Start your own women's support group. (Image: sicx/stock.xchng)

A women's support group is an ideal way for a group of women to help one another through a trying time. The topic of your support group must be something that other people can relate to, and it should be something important to you or you won't give the group the TLC it needs to function. As you learn how to start a women's support group, you'll discover ways to build trust among the group so the women feel open to share their feelings and ultimately find healing.

Determine your niche. Support groups work because it's an intimate setting where women can talk about a specific issue. If you have a bunch of women in the room with nothing in common, it's hard to find support. However, knowing that you all have something in common increases the chances of a woman plugging into your group.

Find a neutral location. Church halls and community rooms make great locations for a women's support group. Some women may feel intimidated to attend a meeting at a coffee house, because it's too public, or at a home, because it's too intimate. However, a neutral location provides a wonderful backdrop for women to open up.

Invite people to come to your first meeting. You can control who comes to your first meeting by inviting everyone, or you can allow each invitee to bring a friend.

Keep the first meeting for women only. Even if your support group deals with sensitive issues that might affect a husband, many women feel uneasy talking about their problems in front of other men. As the group progresses, if the group feels there is a place for men to participate, you can always change the rules later. However, in the beginning, protect privacy and encourage support by keeping the group female.

Welcome people as they arrive. Walking into a support group is intimidating for some women, but a greeting by a warm, friendly face can make a big difference. You should also direct women to the seats and inform them of any refreshments available to help them acclimate to the environment.

Run the meeting. When you run your own women's support group, you should start on time, end on time and always stress the importance of confidentiality. Not only will you not share personal information learned during the group, but you should encourage all of the women to keep that information confidential as well. To provide a formal focus to the evening, you might consider bringing in a guest speaker.

Cap the group at 12 women. If more than 12 women are involved, it's more likely that women will become overwhelmed and blend in without finding the support they need.

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