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The support groups I lead are community-based and peer-led. Community-based means that they happen in the community, the neighborhood where we live, instead of at a non-profit or social services agency. Peer-led means that the group organizer identifies as someone who shares a common experience with other attendees. An example of another community-based peer support group is an AA (NA, Al-Anon, etc.) meeting.  

For almost two years, I led groups as an "expert", not as a peer survivor, at a non-profit agency. These were psycho-educational groups where attendees were screened for mental health challenges (and more) before they were allowed to attend.  As the leader (and a paid staff person at this agency), I was actively discouraged about being honest about my own history as a survivor.   

So, I've seen both sides. 

And there's a BIG difference. 

Here are my 5 reasons why community-based, peer support groups work better.