Support Group for Shubharthis

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Is it true that you don't permit even shubhankars as observers at the shubharthis' support group meetings? If yes, why so?

Yes, it is true. Presence of any non-participant observer breaks the secure and confidential atmosphere of the meetings. The moment shubharthis know they are being watched and heard by some outsider, they become conscious and it alters what and how they share. So we request them not to be present.

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Is there is any code of conduct or restrictions on members of your support groups? Yes, what are the restrictions and why so?

These are not restrictions only an effort to inculcate discipline amongst the shubharthi's
Important aspects of self-imposed discipline:

  • I share my experiences in the structured way so that I know my strengths and successes.
  • I will not interrupt with comments or questions when some other member shares his experience.
  • When another member shares, I will attentively listen to him and give him the same courtesy, understanding and acceptance I myself need.
  • Opinion expressed by a member is strictly his personal view and therefore I simply accept what I need or agree with and leave the rest.
  • Everyone gets an opportunity to say what he wants and so I will patiently wait for my turn to talk.
  • I realize there is no compulsion to share and also that, at times, just listening to others also can be useful.
  • I shall not give any advice or tell others what they should do. Each member simply shares what has been useful to him.
  • I shall respect the right to privacy of every member. Therefore, I shall not disclose what others narrate outside our group. I too expect that my sharing is treated as confidential.
  • I shall seriously consider following any suggestions made by our group facilitator as he/she has genuine welfare of the members at heart.
  • I suppose now it is clear to you what everyone in the group is committed to is in the interest of the entire group.

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In Recovery weekly meetings why is discussion of diagnosis, medication and doctors not permitted?

We are not a professional guidance centre but offer a method which is simple, non-technical, tested and tried. Since the support group is run by and for shubharthis, all lay persons, we leave those topics for discussion by professionals. Recovery helps a shubharthi to cope with his symptoms through self-help. Yet he seeks professional help as and when required.

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What kind of backing do your shubharthis' support groups have from the professionals?

Over the years we have received backing by support and encouragement from the professionals. We have made presentations to them on the Recovery method and after seeing changes in their shubharthis they started sending more of them to our SHSGs.

More and more professionals in the US and elsewhere have acknowledged the efficacious results obtained from use of the Recovery method by their patients.

Further, considering the extraordinary contributions Recovery Inc. was making to the field of psychiatric rehabilitation, the American Psychiatric Association awarded the Arnold L. van Ameringen Award to Recovery Inc. in 2000. This was preceded by APA's 1991 Significant Achievement Award to Recovery Inc. Further, former President of Recovery Inc., Celinda Jungheim was also honoured with Psychology Today magazine's PSI Award-Survivor of Mental Illness-2000..

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Is your shubharthis' support group affiliated to the original Recovery Inc., of the USA? What are their criteria for affiliation or approval for running the weekly group meeting?

Yes we are very proud to say that we are officially affiliated to the original Recovery Inc., USA. We are listed on their website as their only group in India. They watched progress and popularity of our support group before recognition. Further information about their criteria, etc. one may visit their web-site www.recovery-inc.org

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Would you be able to train some of our persons, including shubharthis, as facilitators to run Recovery support groups in our place and, if yes, how?

We are proud to say that a few shubharthis', who have been regularly attending the group, have now started efficiently facilitating our group meetings. Besides their hands-on experience, we also encourage them to read Recovery literature available in our library. This helps them greatly to develop insight and participate in the meetings. Therefore, there is no reason why your shubharthis can't be encouraged to facilitate the meetings. Recovery Inc., USA, would also be only too glad and willing to help in this matter.

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What is the number of shubharthis enrolled with your shubharthis support group and the average number of shubharthis attending the weekly meetings?

The number of shubharthis who would have enrolled with us since inception is approximately 250. However, the average number attending weekly meetings ranges from 10 to 15.

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Is any religion part of Recovery meetings?

Religion is strictly not discussed. Nor is it a part of this self-help method. However, the method does not conflict with anyone's religious beliefs. Members may seek religious guidance from other appropriate sources.

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Do the shubharthis weekly meetings have any role for persons who are neither shubharthis, shubhankars nor professionals but just volunteers?

Yes they do have a role. There are volunteers of SAA who are neither shubharthis nor shubhankars. There are two possibilities. First, they may be trained and experienced group facilitators and second they may be wanting to learn and apply the Recovery method for their own problems of psychological origin.

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Does one need to pay any money to be a group member? Is it compulsory, especially when shubharthis mostly don't have income of their own?

Members pay as per their means because it is voluntary. If you aren't able to pay anything sometimes, that's okay. But that should not prevent you from attending the meetings.

The support group meetings are free of cost. If shubharthis want to become members of SAA and also receive our quarterly newsletter, Ekalavya, they will pay annual donation of Rs.250/-. It is only very recently that we have started passing round cash box for a nominal voluntary contribution to defray the cost of arranging meetings. In the long run, this way the group becomes self-reliant. Yet this is only in the true spirit of self-help.

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