If you are suffering from grief, trauma, anxiety or any other mental health issue, support groups are an incredible tool. You can find lots of free groups to join in your community, but it probably feels scary to start talking to a group of strangers about something very personal and difficult in your life.
If you want the support and the group aspect without the pressure of sitting in a circle and talking about intense feelings, you can try a support group based around an activity instead!
Here are some ideas for unique support groups that you may be able to find in your area. All it usually takes is a quick Google search and a phone call to get signed up!
Art Therapy Support Group
This excerpt was written by Kendra Cherry at Very Well Mind.
The American Art Therapy Association characterizes art therapy as an approach to mental health that utilizes the process of creating art to improve mental, physical, and emotional wellness.2 The goal of art therapy is to utilize the creative process to help people explore self-expression and, in doing so, find new ways to gain personal insight and develop new coping skills.
Techniques used in art therapy can include drawing, painting, coloring, sculpting, or collage. As clients create art, they may analyze what they have made and how it makes them feel. Through exploring their art, people can look for themes and conflicts that may be affecting their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
People do not need to have artistic ability or special talent to participate in art therapy, and people of all ages including children, teens, and adults can benefit from it. Some research suggests that just the presence of art can play a part in boosting mental health.
READ MORE: How Art Therapy Is Used to Help People Heal
Trauma Sensitive Yoga
This excerpt was written by Azriel ReShel at Uplift.
Trauma Sensitive Yoga is vital in helping people who have experienced trauma to learn how to calm the mind and regain safety in their body by noticing and learning to tolerate physical sensations. But this is not a yoga style to be used in the ordinary practice of yoga or employed at your local yoga studio. Emerson: “It’s a serious clinical intervention and an adjunctive aspect of a broader psychodynamic therapy.” Trauma Sensitive Yoga brings back a sense of empowerment and choice for people who may have felt choiceless and powerless.
Imagine a setting that is clear, light, simple, spacious, free of any props or objects that may cause distress, or hyperarousal, such as religious objects, candles, straps, incense and the like. The space is very important and is usually a secure, private, very held and safe space. No latecomers are allowed, and there are no drop-ins.
A trauma aware yoga class is invitational, the teacher doesn’t issue orders. There is a sense of equality and a feeling that everyone is in this together. Often practised in a circle, the language is simple, inviting and gentle. There are no physical assists, and in each pose, you are given a choice as to certain alterations you can make, if you so choose.
READ MORE: The Power of Trauma Sensitive Yoga
Creative Writing Group Therapy
This excerpt was written by Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn.
Whatever you have written, whether it’s a memory that makes you smile, or a jagged little poem that shares your brokenness with the world, the point is not the form or the punctuation or anything else. The point is that you wrote it. The point is how you felt when you wrote it, and when you read it out loud. The process is more important than the outcome.
Sharing something that feels authentic can make you feel powerful or vulnerable, but the point of the group is to be your audience and support you in your writing journey. Not to suggest that you use a different simile.
Writing for wellbeing is about connection and exploration. You will still use the craft of writing, metaphors and colour and structure, but it is not in the way we usually use them as writers – to delight or shock or create something pretty. You use your craft to express the truest version of yourself.
READ MORE: Why Writing For Therapy Can Change Your Life