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Why do I need to ‘create a group structure'?

In his Small Group Structure Made Simpleblog, Bob Fuhs describes CRU’s structure for their small group system. He begins by connecting CRU's organizational goal to "giving purposeful thought to how our small groups are structured to contribute to that end.”

Creating the small group structure

Fuhs’ thoughts describe Module Four’s purpose and importance. Learning Objectives for Module Six Creating a Group Structure: Through strategic planning, participants will create a group structure model that increases safety for members while participating in peer facilitator-led groups – whether via face-to-face groups within their local church or community, online, social media, or phone.

ADOH peer facilitator training exists to help others create and sustain safe groups where partners can move forward in their healing journeys. Because sexual betrayal trauma shatters our sense of trust and safety, designing the structure for partner groups begins by focusing on partners’ needs before, during, and past the group experience. Doing so requires establishing clarity around the group’s purpose, size, type, and group guidelines, among other essentials.

With creating and sustaining safe groups in mind, the peer facilitator designs a group structure that includes (but is not limited to):

  • A clearly defined group purpose describing the group culture, experience, and format.

  • Criteria for identifying and then “on boarding” appropriate group participants.

  • A clear description of the group’s type and content.

  • Determining where the group meets, and essential steps required to ensure safety whether in-person, online, phone, or via social media.

  • Clearly explained time frames (start/end time, how often the group meets).

  • Guidelines (group agreements) that provide safety and ‘space’ and encourages connection.


Peer Facilitator Perspectives

"There are different types of groups for partners, but regardless of the structure used, good strategic planning is essential in establishing safety in the group, providing a place for the participants' story to be told as well as being an environment that promotes healing."

"There are many considerations to ensure that a group is a safe place for members to heal. Though I've utilized many of these already, I was introduced to more that will help me more efficiently plan for the groups I lead. The following are the ones that are highlighted in the module: On-line or in-person group, childcare, group costs, choosing workbooks or topical content, budget for supplies and marketing needs, marketing practices used in churches, communication, pre-group interview, member orientation, scheduling, check-ins and wrap-ups, choosing a location, group flow framework, preparing for the first session, evaluation of met goals of each member, and guidelines. I look forward to incorporating more of these in my next group."


Healing Together LLC,

"In planning a partner group there are numerous variables to consider, starting with what type of group. Whether curriculum-based, topic-driven, open forum it is important to refer to best standards for helping partners and evaluate the workbook/topics to ensure it is trauma-informed and includes a pathway for partners to move forward. In addition, for online groups one must spend time evaluating and planning for using technology and the ramifications surrounding the use."

"When orienting group members facilitators need to communicate clearly and concisely stated registration steps, deadlines, possible costs, and pre-group interview requirement. In advance, structure should be given to group guidelines to ensure all members feel safe, heard, seen, and known. Within those guidelines, consideration needs to be given to confidentiality, group ownership, behaviors/expectations, and group self-care. Offering a place of healing for those who are hurting from betrayal is what we offer when we plan and structure groups with safety for all in mind."

Rebecca, ADOH CPF


Update: Pre-order to stream or download now

Available November 7, 2020, 10:00 AM ET

NEBT conference founder Julie St. Onge: "We seek to bring awareness to what betrayal trauma is, how it impacts all parts of a person, and what components of a plan can bring healing. we hope to educate churches and leaders in the process of handling couples wading the waters of sex addiction. We seek to support women who have had to make difficult decisions and may not have been supported by their churches or loved ones."

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