Guidelines for group behavior

Guidelines are important to let members know what to expect and to avoid negative behavior. You can publish the guidelines in a newsletter, have them on display near the sign-up sheet, and/or read them at the beginning of each meeting.

Here are guidelines that we use in our group:

  1. The mission/purpose of the group is to provide a safe place where people with chronic pain can support one another, develop friendships, share ideas and thoughts, obtain information about their conditions form professionals and each other, and learn coping skills in a nonjudgmental and caring atmosphere.
  2. All members are expected to show courtesy toward other members. This means that members do not interrupt or talk while someone else is expressing his or her views.
  3. Members are encouraged to discuss their problems and situation, but not to dwell on them. The goal of the group is to offer support and to focus on finding solutions and ways of coping with problems.
  4. Everything spoken at the meeting is confidential.
  5. The group does not take the place of medical and/or other professional health care. Members do not prescribe treatment or diagnose symptoms. Each member is responsible for assessing information provided at meetings for himself or herself.
  6. Information that is provided during group time is not necessarily endorsed or recommended by the group or its leaders.
  7. The group does not promote goods or services, nor does it allow sales people to pitch their products to the group.
  8. Group members respect others' feelings and do not attack, criticize, or judge another member's views.
  9. No one is coerced into talking; all who wish to talk are given a turn. No one member is allowed to monopolize the meeting.
  10. The group leader is not the expert; all members are experts in chronic pain and are encouraged to take part in the meeting.
  11. The group belongs to all the members, and everyone is responsible for its success.
  12. We help others as we ourselves have been helped.
  13. Meetings begin on time and end on time.