Online Support Group Meeting Script
Script Section 1
LEADER #1: Welcome everyone. I’m [first name], and I’m one of the group leaders. Before we get started, I want to remind everyone that this is a closed meeting for survivors only. If you are not a survivor of child sexual abuse, you will need to leave the meeting now. [pause] We recommend that you find a private space and use headphones to ensure you are the only one participating. Please mute your audio unless you are speaking. My role will be to lead the meeting and make sure that we stay on track. We will be participating in a check-in shortly. If you haven’t had a chance to fill out the worksheet, you can find it at www.findinghope.org. Select “Group Materials” and then “Participant” to find everything you will need.
LEADER #2: I’m [first name], and I’m the other group leader. My role is to provide support by moderating the chat and helping maintain a safe environment. If you are feeling triggered, you can contact me in the chat. Throughout the meeting, feel free to ask questions or make comments aloud or in the chat. If you would like to share anything aloud, please be sure to unmute before speaking.
LEADER #1: I’d like to welcome any new members or visitors that are here. Our meeting will go in this order: I’ll ask for someone to read the purpose statement aloud while we all do the same with our audio muted. I’ll ask for volunteers to take turns reading our meeting guidelines, and from there we’ll ask that everyone participate in the check-in. After check-In we will review last week’s strategy, have an opportunity to share, and then focus on the strategy for this week. We will finish the meeting with a grounding exercise and a power statement. Now, let’s read our purpose statement together—remember to keep your audio muted.
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 do not engage in other activities like texting or emailing while in the meeting.
- 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.
If you are here with us, please make sure that you are the only one viewing and listening to our group today. If you are in a space with other people, please use headphones and tip the screen of your device so that you’re the only one who can see it. Thank you for being mindful and making this a safe and private online setting where we can all share openly and honestly.
We also encourage you to share your camera. Two of the main goals of support groups are building community and safety. Everyone sharing their camera helps achieve both of these goals. However, if you are unable or uncomfortable sharing your camera, it should not stop you from participating. It’s better to participate without a camera than to not participate at all.
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 you an idea of how to do it. Please select three of the six questions to answer. You can choose different options each week. Make sure to keep your answers short, and we ask that everyone here participate in the check-in. After I share my responses, I’ll invite each of you to do the same.
- 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.
[If you have downloaded the video in advance, you should be able to watch it in your online meeting. If not, make sure you post it on your Facebook page or share the link for your group to watch it outside of the meeting.]
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 from the workbook.
Script Section 2
Trauma and the Brain: (Exercise 2 or 3)
Strategy 1: Awareness (Exercise 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 #1: 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.
This movement and breathing exercise can assist with anchoring you in the here and now. This can be done sitting or standing. Take a deep breath in while raising your arms above your head and looking up while saying, “Right here.” Then exhale deeply while lowering your arms and chin while saying, “Right now.” Repeat this for at least 5–10 breaths to allow for a deeper connection with the present.
Pretend you are texting or speaking to your most trusted friend/family member. Imagine they are going through a similar experience as you, and you want them to know they are not alone and are safe to feel their feelings just as they are. Think of the words you want to say to them. Repeat the message to yourself, directing the empathy and love you feel towards that person also towards you.
Our goal in this activity is to increase the connection between our minds and our bodies. One way we can do that is by moving in an intentional and mindful way. As we do this activity, please do what feels comfortable for you. Everyone’s body is different, and what feels right for one person might not feel right for you. Be kind to yourself, and don’t feel any pressure to do anything that doesn’t feel good for you.
- Throughout this activity I encourage you to notice the sensations and information your body is giving to you.
- I want to invite you to stand up, but feel free to remain seated if that feels right for you.
- Pick up your left foot and wiggle your toes. Now stop wiggling your toes move your ankle in circles. Next swing your leg forwards and backwards at your knee. And finally swing your left leg forward and backwards at your hip.
- Now let’s move to your right leg. Pick up your right foot and wiggle your toes. Now stop wiggling your toes move your ankle in circles. Next swing your leg forwards and backwards at your knee. And finally swing your right leg forwards and backwards at your hip.
- Now let’s engage your arms, starting with your left arm. Begin by stretching and wiggling your fingers. Now stop wiggling your fingers and make a few circles with your wrist. Next swing your arm back and forth at the elbow. And finally swing your arm forwards and backwards at the shoulder.
- Let’s move on to your right arm. Begin by stretching and wiggling your fingers. Now stop wiggling your fingers and make a few circles with your wrist. Next swing your arm back and forth at the elbow. And finally swing your arm forwards and backwards at the shoulder.
- Describe 5 things you see in the room.
- Now put your hands on your hips and stretch your whole upper body to the left. Now to the right. Now forward. Now backward. And now reach your hands up over your head and stretch for a few seconds.
- Let’s finish our practice together with some shoulder and neck rolls. Let’s begin by rolling our shoulders forward in circles. Stretch your shoulders back then up and then forward. Do that a couple of times. And then let’s reverse directions and roll our shoulders back in circles.
- And now drop your neck forward and make clockwise circles a couple of times. Now reverse directions and make a couple of circles.
- Now we’re going to put everything together. I want you to shake every part of your body at the same time—your hands, your arms, your feet, your legs. Just shake things out to get any remaining tension out of your body. Be mindful of the sensations you’re experiencing in your body right now.
Start with wiggling your toes to feel the ground beneath you. If you feel uncomfortable at any time in today’s group, you can always come back to this sensation of your feet connecting to the ground.Inhale and stretch your arms out and up to bring your hands together. Exhale while you pull your hands down to rest in front of your heart. Reverse the movement and push your hands upward on an inhale. Exhale as you release your arms and bring your hands back to rest in front of your heart.
[Inhale] Take your left arm and stretch it over to your right side. Exhale and come back to center. [Inhale] Take your right arm and stretch it over to your left side. Exhale and come back to center.
[Inhale] Place your right hand on your left knee and look over your left shoulder for a twist. Exhale and come back to center. [Inhale] Place your left hand on your right knee and look over your right shoulder for a twist. Exhale and come back to center.
[Inhale] Straighten your left leg out in front of you and flex your toes towards you as you feel the muscles of your left leg, then return to center as you exhale. Straighten your right leg out in front of you and flex your toes towards you, feeling the muscles of the right leg, then return to center as you exhale.
[Inhale] With knees bent, lift both feet off the floor to feel your core activate, then exhale as you release and come back to center.
One more time inhale and stretch your arms out and up to bring your hands together. Exhale as you pull them to rest in front of your heart. Reverse the movement to push your hands upward as you inhale, and exhale as you release your arms and come back to center.
Again, wiggle your toes to feel the ground beneath you. You are here now.
LEADER #1: Thank you for being here and for participating. Please come back next week. It can sometimes take a few weeks to begin to see progress. Let’s close our meeting by saying our power statement together—keep your microphone muted but say the words aloud with me.
LEADER #1: This completes our group for the night. Thanks again for coming.