FORMAT

Membership

Our group is a gathering of peers joined together to provide information and support in sharing our experiences, feelings and coping strategies. We value and respect each others’ contributions. We help to make our meetings successful and productive by participating according to our capabilities, needs and interests.

Leadership

Our meetings are led by peer facilitators who share our experiences. They are not mental health professionals, experts or authorities. They have received training in group facilitation skills and use these to keep meetings on track. Our meetings follow a set format. Katherine Lerer is our chief facilitator.

Before the Meeting

  • Meetings start at 6:30 and end at 8:30
  • We don’t take a break but restrooms are nearby
  • Early arrivals help set up tables
  • Designated members distribute name tags

Coming Together

  • Facilitator introduces herself and starts the meeting by welcoming everyone
  • Facilitator explains her role as peer leader
  • Facilitator reviews the group process guidelines
  • Facilitator asks if anyone is in crisis or needing immediate help
  • Check-in –We go around the circle and introduce ourselves by first name and a brief description of our situation
  • Facilitator presents chapter business issues
  • Facilitator calls for announcements by members

Group discussion

  • We circulate a Question Bag to collect member questions for discussion
  • Facilitator presents the questions and facilitates the members’ comments
  • Some meetings we break up into groups of 6-8 to discuss specific questions or to share individual concerns
  • Recap or special topics

Speakers

  • Dr. Po Wang, MD, our professional advisor, speaks to us once a quarter.
  • We invite guest speakers from time to time

Closing

  • We ask for optional donations for chapter expenses (membership and participation is free)
  • Ending – We go around the group circle and share one good or neutral thing from past week. It’s OK to pass and say nothing.
  • Facilitator thanks the participants and adjourns the meeting at 8:30

After the Meeting

  • Volunteers help with putting away tables and chairs
  • Individuals connect with each other to answer questions or sharing
  • We sometimes go for coffee and socializing after the group meeting