The Best Support Group Topics – A Comprehensive List For 2020

Looking for the best support group topics? Want to get into some great conversations with your support group? If this sounds like you, we have got you covered in the article below!

Sean Galla

Written by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder, and mental health advocate, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.

Why should you listen to me about support group topics? My name is Sean Galla and I’ve been around the block when it comes to men’s support groups. I’ve been providing men’s support groups for 11 years and these meetings and topics discussed have impacted thousands of guy’s lives. 

Let’s start at the top. What actually is a support group? According to Wikipedia, a support group is a small group of people that meet in order to help each other with challenges and to get help with navigating these topics in a positive way. 

Every successful support group needs a starting topic. It doesn’t mean the group meeting won’t chat about other concerns besides the starting topic, but having a topic that all group members can relate to will unite the group and keep the discussions on track.

Most common support group topics

Support group topics vary from meeting to meeting. Two group meetings are never the same. 

The most popular format for a support group is to have group members discuss whatever is pressing in their lives. 

Overall, these are the most common support group topics that come up in conversation:

  • Divorce
  • Parenting challenges
  • Marriage problems
  • Death / Grief / Loss 
  • Communication issues
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Work-life balance
  • Loneliness
  • Eating disorders
  • Disease/illness
  • Romantic relationships
  • Family dramas
  • Loss of a job
  • Depression
  • Burnout
  • Career and purpose confusion
  • Managing emotions
  • Sexual challenges

The First Topic: What Support Group Members Want?

Here are the questions you will need to ask your group to see what is best for everyone:

  • How often and where should the group meet?
  • Are your meetings in-person or online?
  • If online, what is the best way to communicate? Facetime, Zoom, etc.
  • What are the age requirements of the group?
  • Who is going to be the group meeting facilitator
  • How long will the meetings take place?
  • Are the meetings open or closed?
  • How many people are welcome to join?

Once these questions are figured out, now you can learn how to start your support group

Not every answer to these questions might work for each group member, but figure out what is best for the majority of the group.

support group topics

Support Group Activities and Exercises

Getting creative and having activities in support groups can help the group open up. Here are some ice-breaker activities and exercises to help with that:

Introductions

Support groups can start small on the sharing aspect. This can help group members feel comfortable and not thrown into sharing deep challenges. Even just going around and sharing why each group member is here is a great start. The next step can be going around and sharing their number 1 challenge in their life.

Writing a Letter

This activity encourages group members to write a letter to their future selves. They could write to their future selves on what they hope they will get out of the support group. Or they could write about how they are currently feeling. This activity can be done at the beginning of the support group and can be read at the last meeting. This can help members see their growth and accomplishments. 

Two Truths and a Lie

This icebreaker can be done on the first day of the support group. Each group member will tell two things that are truthful in their lives and one that is a lie. The rest of the group will determine what is a lie. This can help the group members get to know each other and can bring some humor and laughter into the group.

Share Music

Music can be a powerful healing tool. Group members can share a song with their group that helps the rest of the group understand what they are going through. This could be a song they have written or heard. After the song is played, the group members can discuss how they can relate to the song or how the song made them feel.

Journaling 

Group members can write down three things they are grateful for. The three things can be big or small, it doesn’t matter. Reading these things out loud to the group can bring a positive light to group members. 

Getting outside

Having a group session in a secure and confidential place outside can help group members feel more relaxed. Even going for a walk and giving some reflection time to the group can be beneficial. 

Benefits of discussing support group topics

Benefits from support groups vary from person to person. When you partake in a support group discussion, the research on support groups and support group benefits shows you can most likely expect the following:

  • Become a better parent and partner
  • Have a safe place to vent and get things off your chest
  • Create healthier relationships through peer support
  • Finding support & motivation in a substance abuse recovery
  • Get through a divorce in a positive way
  • Help with anger management
  • Become more successful in your career and everyday life
  • Have more happiness in your life
  • Improving well-being and self-esteem
  • Become a better communicator
  • Help others

How To Keep A Support Group Going

Make Notes on your group’s progress

Everyone’s progress will be different in the group. Keeping track of how the group members are doing is a large part of the group leader’ job. 

Share responsibility

If the support group facilitator is overwhelmed with the responsibility of the group, they need to ask for help. Or better yet, assign tasks to group members right off the bat. Most people like getting involved and helping. This will take some of the heat off of the support group facilitator. 

Give everyone a chance to talk

Some people like to talk more than others. Make sure everyone’s voices are in the room and have the chance to open up when appropriate, but do not force. If someone is talking everyone’s ears off, kindly explain that you appreciate that they are chatting but other people will want to do the same. 

Confidentiality

This is crucial. Tell your group members right away that everything that is said in the support group, stays in the support group. Then group members will feel more comfortable when talking about their challenges. 

Keep recruiting

If the support group is open, keep telling people about it. Put up fliers, talk to your coworkers, give handouts, and keep putting the feelers out. This can keep the group going in case some people leave for whatever reason and is helpful for recruiting new members to the group discussion. 

support group topic ideas questions

Topic Specific Support Groups

Grief Support Groups

Most of us have experienced the loss of a loved one and gone through a grieving period in some way or another. Whether it is going through the death of a loved one or a breakup, it can be difficult to cope. The situation could have you feeling denial, angry, hopeless, confused; whatever emotions you are feeling, support groups can help you through it. 

Grief support group topics: 

  • How to handle holidays without the loved one
  • Handling the distribution of the possessions
  • Stress management through handling all aspects of life
  • Coping with everyday life without them
  • Understanding the grief process and the emotions that can come with it
  • Navigating depression and feeling lonely
  • Handling family members and other people grieving

Divorce Support Groups

It’s no secret that divorce is one of the most biggest challenges a person can face. It’s emotionally difficult, financially challenging and hard for children if there are any involved. It makes sense then that some of the most popular support groups are divorce support groups.

Divorce group topics: 

  • How to process the loss of your partner
  • Taking better care of yourself. Self-care during a divorce
  • Child custody
  • Legal challenges
  • Conflict with your ex romantic partner
  • How to date again after a divorce

Weight Loss Support Groups

It would be nearly impossible to walk into a grocery store and not read a headline from a magazine that is talking about weight loss. “Lose 10 pounds in 10 days!” “Buy this pill and you’ll lose 30 pounds in a year!” Weight loss help is everywhere, but what actually works? Weight-loss support groups can help group members lose weight without buying things that are supposed to help but most likely won’t. 

Weight loss support group topics:

  • What time of day do you overeat the most?
  • How to tell if you are hungry or emotionally eating
  • Best ways to avoid unhealthy cravings
  • Do you eat more when you are with people or by yourself?
  • What effect do some of your friendships have on your weight?
  • Positive activities that take place of overeating
  • How do you think being at your ideal weight will change your life?
  • In what ways has your weight affected your everyday life?

Cancer Support Groups

The unfortunate reality of cancer is that most people in the world have been affected by it. Whether it is the death of a loved one or someone you are close to losing a loved one from cancer, it’s hard to deal with emotions that come along with it. Cancer support groups are common and can help cope. 

Cancer support group topics:

  • What have other group members done/or doing for treatment?
  • What food helps give energy while going through treatment?
  • How to deal with your hair falling out
  • How to find the best doctor for you
  • How to choose if natural medicine or western medicine is best
  • How to keep a positive outlook
  • How to cope with the fear of death
  • How to support your mental health
  • How to cope with a loved one that is battling cancer

A Final Word On Topics For Support Groups

Every support group has support group topics to keep the group on track. Every meeting will be different but having some topics in place is beneficial. As the APA says, there’s power in numbers and that’s true for support group discussions. 

Support groups are an effective way to give back to the community as a facilitator. As a group member, support groups will help change things in your life that are holding you down. Support groups are low in cost but make a huge impact on the members involved. The risks are little to none to joining. What other reasons do you need to start one or to join a support group?

There are lots of different support groups out there for you to try. You can give out of our online support groups for men a try for free and see what kinds of discussion topics are brought up. We hope to see you in Men’s Group soon!

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