Healing Series: Support Groups

Jeanette Yoffe, MFT shares about what inspired her to begin a support group for adoptees. We cover how to start your own group and best practices for peer-facilitated groups. If starting or joining a support group feels too intimidating, don’t worry! Jeanette has a great idea for free support: find a listening partner.

Show Notes

Topics We Discussed

  • Celia Center
  • The Adoption Constellation: New Ways of Thinking About and Practicing Adoption by Michael Phillip Grand
  • Using the term adoption constellation vs adoption triad
  • Adopt Salon constellation groups can include: adoptees, adoptive parents, first parents, foster youth, foster alumni, foster families, social workers, spouses, siblings
  • Suggested Support Group Rules:
    • We support each other here, we don’t fix each other - no unsolicited advice
    • Everyone gets a turn to share (5 minutes). What’s your name, what are you here for - do you have a question, do you want support for something in particular? You can share briefly about your story. You can ask questions if you do want advice.
    • You can be here and not share: OWL (Observe, Watch and Listen)
    • Keep everything confidential that is shared in the group
  • We need firm and safe group rules so we don’t experience secondary trauma
  • Constellation groups help us examine adoption from multiple angles; helps in growing compassion and acknowledging it is a shared experience.
  • Celia Center support groups have been featured on OWN’s Television Show, “Raising Whitley” and TLC’s “Long Lost Family”
  • If you can’t find a group, don’t feel comfortable going to a group, don’t want to start your own… Find a listening partner! Book a regular call that is to someone who will just listen. Listen, receive and acknowledge.
  • Support groups to listen, share and support; you can also have guests come in and present, maybe for 15 minutes on different topics - mindfulness, an education piece about trauma, sharing their story… but leave space for the group to still share and discuss.
  • If a group has different members of the adoption constellation present, it’s best to have a licensed therapist to facilitate. For peer-led support, just having adult adoptees (for example) is safer.
  • Celia Center Arts Festival | Adopting Resilience, Fostering the Spirit of Creativity next event in November 2018
  • Celia Center Arts Festival 2016 Summary Video
  • Check out adopteesconnect.com for new peer-led groups starting in the United States (started by Pamela Karanova of How Does it Feel to be Adopted)
  • If you have another resource of places to find in-person adoptee support groups, please get in touch so I can list it here.

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