What Is It like to Be in a Support Group?

The Story of a High-School Club
Nikoleta and Anna as Guests at Evrokom TV

The Safe Space of the Group and the Feeling of Sharing

When we experience or have experienced something traumatic or related to our close ones, sometimes the only thing that could make us feel better is to share with someone who has been through the same experience. When this sharing takes place in a safe environment together with more people like us, then we talk about a Support Group. The sense of support by people like us and a facilitator, who helps keep certain boundaries and rules of communication in the group, definitely improves the emotional and mental state of the participants. What is certainly of greatest value of such groups is the feeling that we are part of a community and that we are not alone.

That is why the most logical and natural development of Single Step’s social services is to launch support groups for LGBT youth as well as for their parents. The purpose of such support groups is to create an accepting environment for the participants, as they themselves are responsible for the rules and are assisted by a person who has been through and experienced similar stages of self-awareness, internal conflicts, self-assertion of his / her personal identity and position in a heteronormative society. The facilitator helps young LGBT people feel comfortable enough to share their personal experiences and find information based on the group's needs, addressing effectively current challenges in order to develop a sense of unity and connection among the participants.

Feeling better in a group happens thanks to: “self-revealing” – of emotions and experiences; overcoming isolation – the realization that there are others with similar problems; by sharing of common stigma, under the condition of equality and lack of judgment. The example of the members who have successfully gone through similar difficulties is motivating and, as it comes from someone of “my kind”, carries the message: “I can do it, too”.

Main Rules of the Group

Listening! Anyone can talk (only if he/she wants to); it is not required.

All feelings are accepted. There are no wrong feelings.

• We treat each other the way we want to be treated.

• What is shared in the group remains in the group. Confidentiality is a fundamental rule!

• Respect for the subject in focus

• Respect for the facilitator