Peer support groups like Living Room are special. They offer what isn’t available from groups facilitated by those who haven’t experienced mental illness.

When the facilitator hasn’t had lived experience, there’s a danger that they will give messages of Christian platitudes like: “Pray, and you’ll be okay.” or, “Stay close to God and he will help you get well.” Those messages only make suffering people feel worse. They might start feeling they’re to blame – that there’s something wrong with them spiritually.

Members of the group need to be able to feel they can be honest about what they’re going through – without shame. They need to feel accepted, no matter where they are emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main purpose of the group is to offer those who suffer a place where their pain can be heard with compassion. That, together with prayer and the loving presence of God, will bring a measure of healing. We have to trust that God will heal, not us.

Humility and honesty is of utmost importance, especially for the facilitator. It’s by modelling vulnerability that their group will see they’re not alone in their struggles. They’ll be encouraged and realize there is no need for shame.

marja

NOW AVAILABLE:  Sixty Interactive devotionals written by Marja Bergen for group use. Free and ready to download.  http://marjabergen.com/resources