A   C o m p r e h e n s i v e   M a n u a l
solving their own problems if given good
can emerge and be one topic or each per 
son may have a different concern and the
focus is on the individuals  and their
All people need general support, but lgbt
needs.  It is especially important to
people may also need support about
review ground rules and guidelines per 
being queer in a heterosexist and homo 
taining to confidentiality and other "safe 
phobic world.  This is especially true for
ty" issues each time, since the member 
those who are at the early stages of com 
ship fluctuates.  These type of groups
ing out or who are going through a par 
may be facilitated by mental health pro 
ticular crisis/issue:  getting involved in a
fessionals or peers who have received
first relationship, learning that one (or
someone one knows) is HIV positive,
breaking up, deciding to have a child, or
Small On going Support Group.  
looking for a job.  Sometimes it is sup 
This type of group functions very much
portive just to be around other people
like the drop in support group except that
who are also queer.  The following are a
there is a fixed membership.  This group
number of different ways of giving sup 
may be time limited (six week group,
eight week group, semester long group,
etc.) or an on going group that takes on
Support Formats
new members at specified times.  Often
One to One/Buddies.  
this type of group focuses on a particular
Even though we naturally give and
issue such as exploring sexual orientation
receive support with our close friends, it
or relationship/intimacy issues or coming
may be useful to be more intentional
out issues.  Such groups are often facili 
about this process.  This does not have to
tated by a mental health professional.
be very formal, but it can be helpful to set
up a regular time to do it, for instance,
Drop in Rap Group.  
once a week for an hour.  You can divide
Many lgbt student groups sponsor a regu 
the time with each of you getting to be
lar, weekly rap group.  Often they choose
the focus for half the time, or you can
a different topic each week and someone
alternate time from week to week.  This
facilitates the discussion.  Sometimes
may be a chance for you to reflect on how
people just sit and listen for a few weeks
things are going in general, to set goals
before they feel comfortable participat 
for the up coming week (or check in on
ing.  Sometimes the group all goes out
how the goals we set last are going), or to
afterwards (to dance at a gay club or to
focus on a particular area of concern (a
get ice cream).  Because of their informal
relationship, time management, coming
nature, drop in rap groups are also a good
out to parents, finding a job...).
way for people to find and meet other
people in a less "cruisey" environment
Open Drop in Support Group.  
than a dance or bar.  Some possible topics
This type of group offers support to any 
include:  relationships with family, com 
one who attends.  Typically it is adver 
ing out to roommates, AIDS, political
tised widely and meets at the same time
activism, going home for the holidays,
and place each week.  A small core of
and safer sex.  It is important to review
regulars may attend, but often there are
ground rules and guidelines each time
different people each week.  The focus
since the membership fluctuates.
B a s i c   S k i l l s     M     9 1


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