Text Size
Support Groups & Classes

We strongly recommend that you meet other people who have CFS or FM. Such relationships can provide information about coping strategies, counteract isolation, and offer an opportunity to feel understood, comforted, and inspired.

Support groups, can connect you with others who have CFS or FM, and provide information, such as names of doctors and other professionals who treat people with CFS and fibromyalgia. 

Groups also offer a way to be helpful, thus counteracting the loss of self-esteem that often results from serious illness. And, finally, they can offer models of successful coping, thus dispelling fear. Similar experiences are available now on the Internet, in online chat rooms and forums.
While support groups can be helpful, not all provide a positive experience. Some groups are negative in tone, reinforcing a sense of victimhood. Some groups are dominated by one or a few people. Others focus on responding positively to illness and insure participation from all members who wish to speak.
Contact with fellow patients in a group setting can be very powerful and may leave you feeling upset at times. When such contact is negative, it can reinforce isolation and powerlessness. 

In a supportive group, however, the discomfort should be followed by a new perspective on your situation and increased confidence about your ability to manage the illness.
We suggest you evaluate support groups based on the effects they have on you. A helpful group is one in which you feel a sense of belonging, which gives you something positive to take home, either inspiration or practical tips, and which offers models of living successfully with illness.
For more on support groups, including how to find them, see the article Finding Support Groups and Doctors on the self-help program website. For information on the program's self-help classes, see the online courses page on the site.


Next >>