Hello blog readers (and I hope you are out there!)
So, for a variety of reasons, I will admit to my personal skeptism about support groups. However, from the exploration of resources for people with Pain, I came to the understanding they can indeed have value.
Why do I say that? I very recently had my first experience as part of a support group (and I didn’t even know it was happening!). To make a long story short, to prepare for the possibility of being directly involved with a group on campus, I attended a facilitators workshop for group leaders and a conference for health care professionals. I am still trying to digest what I learned and the stories that I heard!! One thing stood out – it was a community effort. As the contributors were sharing, I could see a vision for a working support group unfold.
The support group leaders came from different backgrounds, experiences and geographic locations. Their individual and collective journeys of Chronic Pain filled with heartbreak and triumph, anger and frustration, gratitude and humor. This strong group of leaders talked of issues with treatments, wait times, sleep, injury, relationships, careers, quality of life, stigma and more. Some had great successes with their groups, some less so. But I personally felt overwhelming support, warmth and welcome in the most non-judgmental way. (Hmmm, maybe they are on to something here??)
After much careful thought and consideration and as a follow-up to the events taking place in November, we (Dalhousie HR) are launching a support group for Chronic Pain. The group will be shaped much like the one that’s on-campus for Caregivers (See Today@Dal: http://www.dal.ca/news/2016/05/25/dal-recognizes-caregivers-with-appreciation-day.html ). A portion of the group’s time together will be sharing for constructive support, with the remainder allotted to a guest speaker to present on a relevant topic. Much of how the sessions evolve will depend on the group’s interests. Confidentiality is expected by all – a support group is a safe space.
Learn more and register at: https://events-tm.dal.ca/workshop.php?id=1901.
PS Check out the Enviromental Health and Safety Expo https://www.dal.ca/news/today/2016/10/24/2nd_annual_environmental_health___safety_expo.html.