This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
groups support groups

are they for you? by Jacolyn Witkowski

As a support group facilitator, I am often asked two very important questions.

First: What exactly is a support group? Second: How do I know if a support group is for me?

Usually the people asking these questions are searching for some answers or education related to their problem. In most cases they are not sure what to expect, but sometimes are confused, scared, or uncertain as to what exactly they require from a support group. So, from my perspective, here’s what a support group is and isn’t.

What a Support Group is Not

A support group is not a place for airing your dirty laundry or being disrespectful of others - be it doctors, peers, modalities, or treatments. That’s not a cool thing to do, nor is it acceptable behavior. Members who chronically complain, who are less than cordial, and resist growth are not good candidates for support groups.

Next, the information learned at a group session should not be used to diagnose or treat your illness. The support group is not a replacement for medical care with your physician, therapist, or clinic.

What a Support Group Is

A support group should be a safe place for people to turn to in a time of need. This should be a special place where people walk away with a new experience that enriches their lives. Friendships should be made. No one should feel alone or isolated. Support should be abundant.

Education materials and contacts should be available. There should be a network available to help you build better coping skills. There should be people willing to put forth their time to help make the group all these things and more. But most of all, a support group should never be scary.

Support groups come in all shapes and sizes. They cover a wide range of topics, from cancer and arthritis to the loss of a pet. They are often part of national non-profit organizations and they receive funding to support their group. Many of these organizations have large local offices with trained staff.

Support groups are

typically run by everyday people, usually patients, without professional experience, but with the will to reach others and make a difference in their lives. They may meet in a church, restaurant, or elsewhere and socialize. Sometimes they have a speaker if the location allows it. Either is fine, as long as a connection is built and you get something out of it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie Witkowski is the founder and facilitator of The New Fibromyalgia Support Group, a unique group for people with Fibromyalgia. The group meets the 4th Tuesday of each month from 6:50-8:30 PM at the Westside YMCA, 920 Elmgrove Road, in Gates. Their one-year anniversary is on May 24. For more information call Brenda Lind at (585) 341-3290.


Local doctors are currently conducting the Glacial study evaluating an investigational medication for chronic hives.

To qualify for this study, you must: • Be 12-75 years of age, AND • Have experienced itching and have hives:

• on an almost daily basis for more than 6 weeks continuously

• even though you are using antihistimine treatment, AND • Have been diagnosed with CIU for at least six months, AND

• MUST be willing and able to complete an electronic study diary twice daily at home for the duration of the study. The diary asks questions about your hives and itch.

Qualified participants will receive study medication as well as study-related medical evaluations and tests at no cost. Reimbursement for time and travel may also be provided.

AAIR Research Center It should always make you want

to come back again for another visit. It should make you feel like family.


300 Meridian Centre Suite 305 Rochester, NY 14618

] Phone: 585-442-1980 Email: research@aair.info1.0 ROCHESTER HEALTHY LIVING | APRIL 2011 | 13

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24