Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists

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Leading A Support Group For the First Time

May 26, 2015

Recently, I was asked to be a speaker at a diabetes support group at one of our local libraries. The only problem was...that I had never conducted a support group! I reluctantly accepted and immediately set out learn the main purpose of a support group and how to conduct one.

Of course, I Googled it and here are three things I learned right away:

--The purpose of support groups is to allow individuals with common interests, conditions, or experiences to share and learn from one another.

--Support groups for individuals with diabetes provide a venue for sharing emotions, barriers, solutions, and for building new friendships. Many times individuals with diabetes might feel frustrated or alone. Perhaps they feel no one in the family understands the intricate amount of time, energy, and dedication needed to manage diabetes on a daily basis. Support groups are full of people dealing with the same issues and emotions.

--Support groups can be conducted in a multitude of ways; in person at local locations or on-line where one can connect with many individuals.

I am glad to report that I have now officially participated in my first support group and it was a wonderful experience! Some individuals were experienced with diabetes management and some were not. I took the “Take Charge of Your Diabetes” Prompt Deck and it helped guide the discussions. The discussions were productive and reinforced the notion that no two people with diabetes respond the same to physical activity, nutrition or medication.

Have you conducted or been part of support group? What advice or ideas can you share regarding how to get the most of a meeting? What are some ideas on how to find support groups?

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