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 CFS  Holistic-online.com

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Support Groups

A support group can be very helpful for chronic fatigue syndrome patients. It must be led by a professional therapist, otherwise such a group may not be worth expending effort upon or may actually be harmful. In a support group, patients have a chance to deal with the stress of being affected by a chronic illness. Support groups are also helpful in overcoming the isolation and lack of social support which so many people with CFS experience. And they can be a source of reinforcement for continuing on your path of self-empowerment. Patients learn how to:

Recognize and avoid situations that lead to exacerbation of symptoms
Seek help from other people
Relate better to their loved ones and understand the effects of the illness on their entire support system
Attempt to enjoy life even while having this disabling condition. 

Patients will sometimes listen more closely to the comments of another patient rather than a physician because the other patient has "been in the same shoes" and can make suggestions about lifestyle based on personal experience. 

Pitfalls of Support Groups

In support groups you tend to see people all suffering from CFS. The picture of these ailing people week after week can give you the false belief that no one recovers or heals from CFS. Some groups can reinforce the "victim" role. That is, they can become a place where your identity as a "victim of CFS" is actually strengthened, and this can subtly work against your sense of hope and positive expectancy about recovery .The risks of this happening are especially high in those few groups where the emphasis seems to be on exchanging horror stories about symptoms. This may not bad in the beginning of your illness. You know that this is not unique about you. Others go through the same symptoms, pain and problem. This definitely can be a relief. But later on, you feel bad in dwelling on the negative. If this happens, quit the group and find another one that meets your needs - where the positives are accentuated rather than the negatives.

Related Topics:

Individual counseling for CFS

Group Therapy for CFS

Next Topic:

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