Support Groups: The Top 5 Benefits

Research has documented a group’s counseling power in helping people with many types of issues. The top 5 benefits of groups include helping you to:

    • Overcome isolation – Groups provide emotional connections when people feel isolated from friends and family in relation to their issues. Participants enjoy communicating with like-minded people.


    • Build resilience, which is defined as the capacity to adapt to difficulties; and to try new opportunities for personal growth and change. According to the American Psychological Association “Nothing helps more with adversity and stress than to feel the support and understanding of other people. Creating connections is the number one way to build resilience.”


    • Learn something new, perhaps a new resource or a coping tip.


    • Feel validated which enhances self-esteem – Discussing issues and being understood and supported provides group members with a greater sense of perspective and control.


    • Feel better – These benefits usually result in mood improvement and the decrease of emotional distress.


  • The most important time to join a group is in the first few months of a new situation, when the reality begins to set in. This is a time when you may be keeping everything confidential and/or feeling more sensitive to other people’s reactions or comments, or especially anxious about your situation. Find a group that is right for you, where you feel comfortable.

The basic types of counseling groups and their benefits are outlined below.

Benefits of Infertility Groups:

“For me, group is the only place I can share a laugh about our difficulties.” K.A., infertility patient

    • While we find that many infertility patients are inconsistent group members or prefer the privacy of individual counseling, those that do attend groups enjoy the connections with others going through similar experiences.


    • Provides freedom to express negative emotions and prevents feelings of overburdening loved ones


    • Develop or regain effective coping skills


    • Couples having difficulty communicating about their infertility problems may benefit by talking to other couples


    • Enhanced self-esteem – discussing issues with others provides the members with a greater sense of perspective


  • One study suggested increased rates of conception for women who participated in support groups vs. those who did not (54% vs. 22%).

Benefits of Pre-Adoptive Parent Groups:

“We were stuck and unable to complete the paperwork for our adoption until one night at group when we realized it was our grief about our losses that was holding us back.” J.S., adoptive parent and Former Pre-Adopt Group Member

“When I began to attend the pre-adopt group I was still feeling very alone and depressed. It was relieving immediately to be with like-minded people. Once we made the decision to adopt it made it real for me. The group made a difficult journey hopeful, healing. During the 9 months it took to complete the adoption, I was pregnant intellectually and emotionally. Now I wake up in the morning and look at my son. It feels like we were meant 3 for each other. I am elated by motherhood, closer to being whole.” S.G., adoptive parent and Former Pre-Adopt Group Member

    • Many who are waiting to adopt come to the groups looking for education as a supplement to their home studies. In addition, they report feeling more open about their emotions and able to relax in the neutral setting of a Counseling Center.


    • Members can voice their experiences about the positives (excitement, family growth) and the negatives (frustrating delays, fears of a complicated transitions or relationships, concerns about their referrals or matches).


    • Groups give pre-adoptive parents a place to be expectant parents and to focus on preparation for parenting.


    • Learn skills to help in the transition to parenthood; to communicate effectively with birth parents; and/or to transition children home from orphanages or foster care.


  • Many of our pre-adopt group members form their own Parent/Baby groups after they have adopted.

Benefits of Groups for Adoptive Parents:

I don’t usually think a lot about adoption so I really appreciate that my adoptive parents group gives me a time and place to do that.” K.M. adoptive parent

Other parents think they understand but they have no idea of some of the issues my child has or how I feel.” P.B. adoptive parent

    • Camaraderie is the most often-cited benefit of adoptive parent groups – parents can share their experiences of raising children whose ethnicities, special needs or personal histories are adoption related.


    • An opportunity to distinguish adoption-related behaviors from general developmental behaviors and personality factors in understanding and planning for their children’s needs.


    • Education and support on adoption life cycle tasks and dealing with schools and social issues; and often on general parenting concerns as well.


    • A chance to learn parenting strategies uniquely designed for children who have had foster and/or orphanage care where applicable


    • A chance to discuss open adoption issues where applicable


  • Sharing of information and resources

Benefits of Groups for Adopted Kids:

    • Children’s Groups are designed to encourage the exploration and sharing of the adoption experience within a fun and structured environment.


    • Adopted children find that peer groups provide a comfortable place to identify, and that increases self esteem.


    • They have a chance to articulate their own concerns and to get feedback from peers which they really appreciate.


    • They can explore adoption without the fear of hurting anyone’s feelings, saying something inappropriate, being considered different, or feeling disloyal to their parents.


  • Children learn that it’s OK to talk about adoption, that their feelings and thoughts are normal and that it’s OK to bring up adoption issues with their parents.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *