Forming GROUPS FOR SURVIVORS OF
Ritual Abuse and Mind control
Peer Support Groups
I (Jean) belong to two support groups that follow similar formats. I’ll discuss how they work, and then outline other formats used by peer groups. One of my groups has been meeting since about 2018, and the other since the fall 2020.
A peer group, by definition, consists entirely of people with shared experiences. It can be leaderless, have rotating leadership, or one member can be the leader. In my groups, there is no leader: decisions are made by consensus.
On-Going Groups with Check-Ins
In each case, the group decided to have each member check in for a pre-determined length of time. We share everyday events, healing issues, and past abuse. After the check-in, there is feedback from the other members or a general discussion of topics raised in the check-in. No topic is off-limits as long as it relates to ritual abuse, mind control, and healing. There are no rules in either group, just a culture determined by the group over time.
(If there were rules, they would be few and simple, like not judging or criticizing others, being kind and considerate, asking before giving advice. I think that these rules would quickly become part of the group culture. It just helps at the beginning to state the obvious.)
If somebody gets triggered, they are responsible for handling it, as they are the experts on what works best for themselves. The others will be supportive but cannot rescue the triggered person.
In one group, we time our shares; in the other, we just estimate.
You could give more structure to your group by having a quick check-in – “how I’m doing today” and a quick check-out – “what I thought of the meeting today.” The group would decide in advance if they wished to discuss a topic or have a free form conversation between the two check-ins. Members could choose topics in advance to give additional structure. (Writing or drawing could be considered a topic. Members would work alone for a given number of minutes and then share their work.) There would be time for feedback.
With both groups, a few members dropped out for various reasons, but those remaining formed a consistent core group. Members that were added after the formation of the core group have stayed. The reasons people left were varied – some were practical, like time constraints, some were because the person didn’t think it was a good fit or didn’t think they were ready to go so deep. This is to be expected and doesn’t mean that something is wrong with the group.
Both groups use ZOOM, although there are plenty of other platforms to choose from. It’s funny, but I tend to think that the person whose ZOOM account we are using is the leader!
These groups are typically 6, 8, or 12 weeks and have one or two leaders. If the leaders are willing, members may be offered the option to attend another time-limited group.
Structure can be supplied by limiting the time and setting a goal, task, or theme (Writing groups/Art groups). Some of you may have been in writing groups that used this format.
A lot can be accomplished with a deadline!
Drop-in groups are open to anybody who wants to come and membership has a lot of turnover. The best-known drop-in groups are AA and other twelve-step groups.
They work best if they are highly structured and if the structure is consistently followed. The biggest challenge in organizing these groups is reaching enough people who might be interested to form the core group.
Special Interest Groups
Writing and art groups fall in this category. So do “book club” groups. Groups could be formed around certain system configurations, abuse in different places, medical experimentation, sex slavery, etc. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Joint Action Groups
This website is a joint action. Four of us – River, Leni, Jean, and Rishi – are collaborating together to create it. It’s fun! (Except for having to learn so many new technical things at once.)
Here the focus is on getting something done, not growth or trauma issues. In the process, people form relationships. Being in such a group reduces isolation, builds self-esteem, and gives the opportunity to form friendships.
This way it will be a true community activity, collaborating with other RA/MC survivors on focused projects.
For example: you write, “I have written a first draft of a guide on how to talk to doctors and other medical people about dealing with flashbacks. I need somebody to help clean up the spelling and grammar. I also would like ideas on how to get it into the hands of people in the wider community that could benefit from the information.”
Another GrassRoots volunteer can help with proofing it. When you are happy with the result, the finished article can be posted on this website for anybody to use.