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MoxieMoth
03-08-2014, 11:43 PM
Hello!

I have a main character who is begrudgingly attending a support group after they were in a car accident that left them with visible scaring, disorientation, and sporadic amnesia.

Does anyone have a sense of how these are organized? Where they might be held? Ideally, I'd like the group to be attended by people with traumas of all sorts. Amputation and disease count, although mental sickness is more in line with my MC's ailments.

He's just recovering, too, if that makes a difference. He'll be attending exactly one meeting.

Thanks so much! Feel free to PM me any responses if you don't want to post personal accounts here. I'm very private myself. :)


EDIT: I forgot to mention that whatever the support group is, it must be applicable to two other minor characters who attend out of a recent onset of positive schizophrenic tendencies.

Moxie

Maryn
03-08-2014, 11:53 PM
MoxieMoth, you live in a veritable hotbed of support groups (http://groups.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_results.php?city=Boston&spec=19). Surely you have some weakness, issue, or concern that will let you attend one without it being a lie.

That's the surest way to know how they go.

I find it unlikely that someone who's attending a support group as someone recovering and adjusting to the results of a bad accident is going to be in the same group with others whose issue is schizophrenic tendencies. Maybe if her main issue is disorientation and amnesia, the scarring being the least of her worries, she might fall into a catch-all group for those with mental health issues.

Maryn, who loves Boston

Arcadia Divine
03-08-2014, 11:55 PM
I forgot to mention that whatever the support group is, it must be applicable to two other minor characters who attend out of a recent onset of positive schizophrenic tendencies.

I'm really curious what you mean by positive schizophrenic tendencies. The schizophrenic tendencies I've had in the past were always negative and never positive. I've witnessed a lot of peers having these schizophrenic tendencies and they weren't positive to them either, trust me. You could tell the mental health professionals didn't think them as positive either.

MoxieMoth
03-09-2014, 12:14 AM
I'm really curious what you mean by positive schizophrenic tendencies. The schizophrenic tendencies I've had in the past were always negative and never positive. I've witnessed a lot of peers having these schizophrenic tendencies and they weren't positive to them either, trust me. You could tell the mental health professionals didn't think them as positive either.

Hi Arcadia!

Positive symptoms of schizophrenia refer to symptoms that are displayed outwardly, such as delusions, disordered thoughts/speech, sensory hallucinations. They are symptoms not normally present in people without a disorder. They are an excess of behavior. These symptoms generally respond to medication.

Negative symptoms, or deficit symptoms, refer to things like poverty of speech, flat affect, lack of emotion. They refer to a lack of behavior that is found in non-disordered individuals. These are less responsive to medication.

Please don't think that I'm trying to paint schizophrenia or mental illness in a cute, idiosyncratic, or romantic light! I'm definitely not. Positive/Negative descriptors mean something else when applied to symptoms than they do with, say, feedback.

I hope this made sense!

Arcadia Divine
03-09-2014, 12:15 AM
Oh ok. That makes sense now! Whew, it's good thing you cleared that up!

MoxieMoth
03-09-2014, 12:16 AM
MoxieMoth, you live in a veritable hotbed of support groups (http://groups.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_results.php?city=Boston&spec=19). Surely you have some weakness, issue, or concern that will let you attend one without it being a lie.

That's the surest way to know how they go.

I find it unlikely that someone who's attending a support group as someone recovering and adjusting to the results of a bad accident is going to be in the same group with others whose issue is schizophrenic tendencies. Maybe if her main issue is disorientation and amnesia, the scarring being the least of her worries, she might fall into a catch-all group for those with mental health issues.

Maryn, who loves Boston

I actually just got off the phone with a local hospital, asking about their schedule.

I'm thinking the group will be more aimed at mental health issues. That seems the most topical/rational.

Thanks so much for the tips!

MoxieMoth
03-09-2014, 12:30 AM
Oh ok. That makes sense now! Whew, it's good thing you cleared that up!

Gladly! Thank you for asking! :)

Orianna2000
03-09-2014, 02:02 AM
A few years ago, I attended a support group for women with chronic pain. Meetings were held at the house of the woman who organized it, although sometimes there were other meetings at a local hospital or even a restaurant. Mostly, we took turns talking about our experiences with chronic pain. The sharing was very cathartic, especially knowing that everyone else understood what we were going through.

Mental health support groups are generally run by a therapist, who can make sure everyone gets the help they need, that no one takes advantage of anyone, and that no one gets traumatized or triggered by the discussions.

MDSchafer
03-09-2014, 03:31 AM
Groups are all different size and shapes. Some are peer-to-peer, others are organized by a therapist or nurse. If you're not using AA, and I would suggest that you don't, you can use whatever you want as a model. I'd recommend finding an open group meeting and attend. I do on occasion because of career obligations and continuing education requirements.

Arcadia Divine
03-09-2014, 03:57 AM
If you're not using AA, and I would suggest that you don't, you can use whatever you want as a model.

Out of curiosity, is there any particular reason you don't recommend using AA?

MDSchafer
03-09-2014, 06:49 AM
Out of curiosity, is there any particular reason you don't recommend using AA?

Just a respect thing. I think you shouldn't use an actual organization in a story unless you're familiar with it. AA is something that is dramatically important to many people's daily living, and it's the sort of thing that shouldn't have misinformation spread about it. Even if you're well meaning and you get something wrong you never know how that could be interpreted.

If however AA is something you're familiar with I say go with it. It appears in fiction enough.

jaus tail
03-10-2014, 12:42 PM
I've been to a support group. We had general discussions on how biology works, different chemicals in brain, sertonin levels and other hormones. We even had a moderator who'd defend new comers from bullies/self proclaimed experts. The main advice was 'look after small issue, the big issue will look after itself.' We(men) had to shave, groom well. We were also told, that 'try to reach a stage where you accept yourself for what you are.' That there isn't any great trophy you'll get after you die for being all virtuous, try to be healthy and accept yourself for what you are or what you become, some residue will always be left and other stuff.

If you have any other specific question, you can ask/pm me.

MagicWriter
03-10-2014, 07:29 PM
Please be careful using a support group in your work, many of these practices are highly confidential, and that confidentiality is extremely important to the people attending them.

One public support group that would be easy to attend would be a weight watchers meeting, if they have it in your area.

NateSean
03-10-2014, 08:19 PM
Please be careful using a support group in your work, many of these practices are highly confidential, and that confidentiality is extremely important to the people attending them.

I'm sure the OP isn't planning to record the sessions. And support groups tend to follow a fairly interchangeable format depending on what you're looking for. They're essentially the low bandwidth versions of a forum or chat room.

They also don't have to be super formal. A support group by definition is a group of people you're comfortable sharing with

At the moment, the closest thing I have to a support group is three other adults who used to live on my floor. We used to have dinner once or twice a week and just talk about things. We called it "The Third Floor Gang" and we still get together for meals on special occasions.

Sometimes those get-togethers are the thing that gets me through my own issues.

Arcadia Divine
03-10-2014, 09:14 PM
I should note that there are some cases where people attend and participate in a support group even though they clearly have no related issue. An example would be my attendance of anger management. I had no anger problems at all but I attended for the sole purpose of learning how to better control myself should the problem arise in the future.

Debbie V
03-10-2014, 11:17 PM
I've been in two. The formal group was run by a social worker using the conference room of the fertility specialist at the associated hospital. It was couple's group. We talked about everything from anxiety and depression to the latest miscarrage and finally continuing pregnancies. We have at least 8 kids between us now. (One couple hasn't stayed in touch.)

The other is a less formal group run by the special Ed PTA in my district. It is hosted by individual parent volunteers. We offer advice and support about everything from dealing with teachers to managing your child's severe anxiety and tantrums.

I also interviewed two children whose father died of cancer about their support group experience. Their mother was present for the interview. This material is in my unpublished MG novel. Some groups will not allow this, but the director of this group asked for volunteers on my behalf. I was not allowed to visit the group in progress. The interview gave me specific activities to use in my work. This is more valuable than generic info about support groups. The interview occurred prior to HIPPA regulations and may not be possible today. A few phone calls may help you. You may also be able to interview a professional who runs groups about what they do.

AHunter3
03-11-2014, 06:36 PM
I've been in a user-run self-help group composed of folks diagnosed mentally ill and involuntarily incarcerated at some point prior to our participation in the self-help group.

We were very much oriented around the rights of mental patients, not just "working on ourselves".

One of my own diagnoses was paranoid schizophrenic. Don't know if this situation is kin to what you're trying to write about but I'll answer any questions you may have.

MoxieMoth
03-12-2014, 07:29 PM
Thank you, everyone one! These are all great, very helpful responses. I'm not planning on invading any of these groups for the purpose of research, but hearing about how they are organized, how they feel, and what they do is essential to crafting my scene.

You're all the best!