How do I start a support group?

Support groups offer the opportunity for people to meet and share information about their experiences with cult involvement. It is a place where one can speak freely about their feelings, and know that others, no doubt, have had the same feelings at some point in time. Support groups provide a means of relating strategies for recovering from the cult experience and understanding how you got recruited. Here are some specific things to do to begin a support group:

  • Choose a location: homes, meeting rooms, civic centers, etc.
  • Advertise: post notices at the library, churches, barber shops, beauty shops and newspapers. Word of mouth is also beneficial. Sign guestbooks on websites.
  • Choose topics: at your first meeting, have a brain-storming session to think of possible topics or use this time to get to know each other and share your story.
  • Choose meeting frequency: at the first meeting you should decide how often the group will meet. If it is a large group, you might want to set up a buddy system where willing participants include their names and phone numbers on a list to be circulated at the meetings.
  • Plan your meeting: the content of your meetings is up to you and your group members. If you subscribe to a ex-cult newsletter, information in it may be shared. Sometimes Bible study could be included, or information obtained from the internet. Handouts could be made available or you may prefer a simple group discussion. A guest speaker may be invited. Keep it simple and uplifting and avoid an all-out gripe session. Everyone has had a negative cult experience, but it is more important to relay what has helped rather than dwell on the negatives.

You are making a wonderful commitment to yourself and the people you will soon be helping! The whole point of a support group is to educate ourselves and others about cults and find positive ways of learning to deal with this negative experience. May God bless you.

Contributed by CEPA Inc

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