Support group & Network changing routine

If you have been attending a support group, or if you belong to a support network – over time you may be feeling like you might like to make a change to the routine.

Obtaining support through others is an important aspect of brain injury recovery, and can take shape in many ways.  At the same time, it provides social contact as well as an opportunity for you to encourage others.

Regardless of what your situation is, just as it is important to carefully consider your reasons for wanting to join a support group – it is also important to consider your reasons for wanting to change this routine.

It may be helpful to develop a pros and cons list, and to think about some of the factors that may be leading you to want this change.  Some of these factors may include for example:

  • Why did you join this group initially?
  • Have any of the original conditions changed for you?
  • Do you believe you have talked as much as you are able to about your situation at this stage?
  • Does it seem that you are repeating yourself?
  • Do you need some time away from the group to process what you are learning?
  • Are you finding the schedule is too demanding?
  • Are you learning new things?
  • Are you hearing new information?
  • Are you finding that you are leaving feeling drained and/or down?
  • Are you wondering if your energy/effort might be re-directed elsewhere at the moment?
  • Are you beginning to feel that you do not want or need to attend any longer?
  • Have you reached a point where you are talking about goals and hope for the future, versus having the time and energy to practice and apply what you have been learning?
  • Has attending become a habit?
  • Perhaps someone else can benefit from your spot.
  • The social contact is positive for you.
  • It’s valuable for you to have a routine and a reason to get up and out to attend
  • Do you feel you are genuinely offering support and encouragement to others?
  • Have you been connecting with others who are sharing similar experiences?
  • Some in the group have moved on, others have remained
  • Overall, are you receiving positive messages that are moving you forward?
  • Is there an opportunity to apply any new strategies you are learning, and bring this information and awareness back to the group to debrief and/or discuss?
  • Are there other options available for you to obtain support that you might like to explore?
  • Are the people leading your group/network trusted sources?
  • If applicable, have you discussed this decision with your medical/other team?

If you are thinking about changing your routine:

  • How might you approach this?
  • Must it be all in or nothing?
  • Can your attendance, and/or time invested be modified to better suit your situation or schedule?
  • Who should you talk to about this?
  • Can you take some time to carefully consider your options before making a decision?
  • Can you test out/have a trial period to implement a modified schedule?
  • If you stop attending, should you find you are missing and needing the contact and support, can you re-join or reach out to someone?

There are a range of considerations involved in joining a support group and eventually in deciding whether to change up your routine.

Be sure to take the time necessary to consider your options carefully.  Talk to the right people, and on balance decide if attending this group brings you positive reinforcement.