In-Person Support Group Meeting Script
Script Section 1
LEADER #1: Welcome everyone. I’m [first name], and I’m one of the group leaders tonight. Before we get started, I want to remind everyone that this is a closed meeting for survivors only. If you are not a survivor, we ask you to please wait outside until the meeting is over. My role will be to lead the meeting and make sure that our meeting stays on track. You are welcome to spend time talking after, but we ask that you refrain from giving advice during the group meeting.
LEADER #2: I’m [first name], and I’m the other group leader tonight. My role is to provide support and help maintain a safe environment.
LEADER #1: I’d like to welcome any new members or visitors that are here. Our meeting will go in this order: we’ll read the purpose statement together, I’ll ask for volunteers to read our meeting guidelines, and from there we’ll ask that everyone participate in the check-in. Please make sure you received a worksheet, and have it filled out. Now, let’s read our purpose statement together.
We are survivors. We share our courage, hope, and experience through this safe community of support. Understanding our trauma and the impact of abuse provides a foundation to apply healing tools and strategies. We use this meeting to strengthen ourselves through practicing the 5 Strategies to Reclaim Hope. We use the power of this safe community to move forward on our healing journeys and help others find their way. We will learn from each other and reclaim hope.
LEADER #1: Thank you. Now we’re going to read the meeting guidelines. We read these every week to remind ourselves how we can get the most out of our time together and ensure everyone feels safe. Could I get a few volunteers to read our meeting guidelines?
- We maintain confidentiality by using only our first names and not divulging what happens during our meetings, even to our families or significant others.
- We turn off cell phones when the meeting begins.
- We use appropriate language and don’t raise our voices, no matter the emotions.
- We don’t give advice, only support.
- We use “I” statements.
- We don’t share details of our trauma; we give “headlines, not details.”
- We accept all participants regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, background, or ability.
- We don’t interrupt. We are quiet while someone else speaks and don’t engage in side conversations.
- We don’t make solicitations or assumptions related to religion, business, or politics.
- We ask everyone to check in, but we don’t require participants to share; sharing is always voluntary.
- We hold ourselves and each other accountable and enforce the guidelines of the group.
- We follow the script as it’s laid out without deviating. In this way we are able to maintain a safe, predictable meeting.
LEADER #1: Thank you so much for reading those. Next, we’ll move on to the check-in. Let’s take a minute to make sure everyone had time to fill out their worksheet.
LEADER #1: I’ll go first to give those of you who are new an idea of how to do it. Make sure to keep your answers short, and we ask that everyone here participate in the check-in. When someone finishes, you are welcome to say thank you or offer a few words of support.
- State your first name for the group.
- How are you doing physically right now? (Think about where your muscles are tight or if you’re feeling pain anywhere in your body.)
- How are you doing emotionally right now? (Reference the Emotion Wheel for help if you are having trouble pinning down your emotional state.)
- What was your Self-Care Practice last week? (Skip this question if this is your first week.)
- Did you notice any triggers this week? y/n What tools did you use to manage them? (It’s okay if you weren’t able to manage them.)
- In one sentence, share a Triumph Moment from last week.
LEADER #1: Thank you all for checking in. Now we’ll remind you about last week’s strategy.
In order to manage group safety, do not deviate from the Meeting Guidelines. Use these guidelines to help create a safe and consistent culture within the group.
Strategy Review—Previous Week
LEADER #1: Now that we’ve reminded ourselves about last week’s strategy, we’ll spend some time sharing about our last week. We’ll each have about 3—5 minutes to share. Please be respectful of the others here and share your thoughts within the time frame.
LEADER #2: Keep in mind this is not a discussion. In this setting, listening is healing. Allow each person to feel listened to as she speaks. This is not the time or place to offer advice. Again, you are welcome to offer a few words of support after each person finishes. These can include saying things like: “Thank you so much,” “I appreciate you sharing,” “We’re here for you,” “You’re amazing,” or “That resonates with me.”
LEADER #1: If you hear something that resonates with you, write it down. We’ll have time after sharing when you can mention it, or you can speak directly with the person after the meeting. I’ll go first to give you an idea of how we do it. We’ll then go around the room clockwise. If you don’t feel like sharing, just pass and we’ll move on to the next person.
LEADER #1: Would anyone who passed earlier like a chance to share now?
LEADER #1: Let’s take just a minute to gather our thoughts. (Pause.) Thank you so much for being here, for supporting, and for sharing. By raise of hands, who heard something they can relate to? Are there a couple of you that would like to take a minute to share about what resonated with you?
LEADER #1: Now let’s move on to our strategy for this week.
Strategy for This Week
LEADER #1: We’re going to focus on [strategy] in the book. I encourage you to read the full chapter in the book this week. Tonight, let’s watch a video about it. [Watch video.] Let’s talk about what we’ve just watched for the next 3—5 minutes. How can you see this strategy helping you on your healing journey?
LEADER #1: Let’s choose one of the workbook activities to do together. You’ll notice in your script there are a few for each strategy listed. Let’s take the next 5—10 minutes to begin working on one that we choose.
Script Section 2
Trauma and the Brain: (Exercises 2 or 3)
Strategy 1: Awareness (Exercises 2 or 3)
Strategy 2: Acknowledgement (Exercises 1, 4, or 5)
Strategy 3: Power Through Surrender (Exercises 1, 4, or 5)
Strategy 4: Mindfulness (Exercises 1 or 2)
Strategy 5: Faith (Exercises 1, 2, or 4)
LEADER #1: Now let’s all take a minute to decide what you want your self-care practice to be this week, with the strategy in mind. There’s a place at the back of your script to write it down as well as further instructions. Would anyone like to share what you have chosen for your self-care practice?
LEADER #2: Now let’s move into a group grounding exercise. This will help us all be in a present and grounded state before we leave. We can have the option to choose between a video or a group technique.
5-4-3-2-1: This is a sensory-awareness grounding exercise that can help us relax or work through some difficult emotions. Feel free to say your responses to yourself.
- Describe 5 things you see in the room.
- Name 4 things you can feel (i.e., the paper in your hand, the socks on your feet, etc.).
- Name 3 things you hear right now (i.e., the clock ticking, traffic outside, etc.).
- Name 2 things you can smell right now, or think of 2 smells you like.
- Name 1 good thing about yourself.
At the end of this you should feel calmer and more present. Feel free to repeat these steps again if needed.
Script Section 3
LEADER #2: Thank you for being here and for participating. You are invited to spend time talking when we’re finished, if you’d like to. Please come back next week. It can sometimes take a few weeks to begin to see progress. Let’s close by saying our power statement together.
LEADER #1: This completes our group for the night. Thanks again for coming.