The benefits of group support
Anyone with an eating disorder will tell you how much courage it can take to confide in somebody about their difficulty.
Such complex struggles are often so hard to explain and there’s always a fear it might not come across properly or that someone won’t understand.
It can be massively daunting to tell just one person – let alone a room full!
So why is group support so successful in aiding and maintaining recovery?
What is it that brings people back time after time to benefit both themselves and the others in the room?
Maybe it’s the diverse mix of people that attend – both sufferers and carers each getting specialist help that is relevant to them.
No matter what stage of your recovery journey you are at, the door is always open for you to attend at any time to either support your current situation or prevent future relapse. That’s the beauty of it – there is no cut-off date, you are welcome whenever you please.
Even if you feel you have achieved recovery (and well done to you if you have), it can be so beneficial to continue to stay in the group setting if that association and supportive environment assists you to not relapse.
Similarly, if you currently care for someone with an eating disorder, groups are the ideal place to receive guidance and support both for the individual you’re caring for and also self-care for yourselves at this challenging and uncertain time.
Feeling integrated in a network of like-minded people who are experiencing the same challenges and achievements as you can be priceless. And if you have a wobble you know they will be there to catch you – like a big security blanket.
As well as those people attending the groups, there are also the amazing staff and volunteers that run them. They often have first-hand experience of eating disorders as sufferers or carers, or want to support their chosen professional path by gaining knowledge not available elsewhere. Most can then take that unique insight forward in their careers as an expert by experience and benefit society in the future.
First Steps run regular support groups for both young people under 19, and all ages. They provide a non-clinical and non-judgemental environment where all are welcome regardless of diagnosis, weight or symptoms.
The staff create a warm, inclusive atmosphere and effectively utilise service user feedback to make sure the group topics are relevant and beneficial to all in the room.
They ensure the mood is light and whilst each topic is delivered sensitively, they appreciate that everyone needs some light relief from their difficulties sometimes. Everyone listens to each other without judgement, offering tips and advice and always leave on a positive note, feeling motivated to try something new and really glad that we came.
It’s a very uplifting and beneficial experience.
If you think you could benefit from support groups at First Steps ED please visit our website