Peer Support With The Hyacinth Fellowship

Peer support brings together people who share the experience of unintentionally killing or seriously injuring another person. It is a powerful force for coping, support, and healing.

Despite the many benefits of peer support, it is not a substitute for professional behavioral health treatment, counseling, or therapy. We recommend peer support with Hyacinth Fellowship as an adjunct to psychotherapy or counseling. We offer three types of peer support.

Fellowship

Monthly online fellowship meetings bring together those of us who have unintentionally harmed someone for mutual support. The overall goal is to offer a safe space where we can share our stories and discuss the journey back to peace.

Fellowship meets the third Sunday of each month, from 2:00 to 3:30PM Pacific Standard Time. Sign-ups are required to receive the Zoom link, so if you are interested make sure you are on our mailing list. There is no cost to participate.

What to Expect at a Monthly Fellowship Meeting

When you attend one of our monthly Fellowship meetings you will find a warm and accepting community of people who’ve gone through what you’ve gone through. Because our meetings are on zoom, you will have the ability to keep your camera and microphone off and to omit your name – so if you want to remain anonymous, that’s just fine. Many people do this. When and if they get comfortable they can always turn their camera and mic back on. Topics are announced a few weeks before each meeting. You can usually expect a presentation from a speaker or analysis of a topic of common interest. These meetings last for 90 minutes. However, the zoom meeting always stays open an additional 30 minutes in case someone has a question or a topic they’d like to discuss that the larger group did not address.

Guidelines for Monthly Fellowship Meetings
  1. Participation is Voluntary. We encourage you to participate, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
  2. We Pledge Confidentiality. Please commit to confidentiality, so that: Who you see here, and what is shared here, stays here.
  3. We Practice Safety, Compassion, and Respect. We each have a role in making the group an emotionally safe place to share. We treat each other with kindness. We accept and include everyone regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, cultural background, or ability.
  4. Sharing Time is Limited. So that everyone has an opportunity to share, sharing time is limited. The facilitator will provide time limits for introductions, comments, and break-out group discussions.
  5. We Avoid Interruptions. Please give speakers the opportunity to be heard without interruption.
  6. We Try to Use “I” Statements. Fellowship is most beneficial when we speak from the “I” position. That means we share about our own personal experience and avoid giving advice or lecturing others. We ask permission before commenting on what someone else has shared.
  7. This is a Peer Support Group Only. Not professionally led, not a therapy group, not a substitute for therapy by trained professionals. We hope you find support here, but we also hope you do not rely upon us to be your only or primary means of support.
  8.  Triggers Happen. Sharing our accident experiences with others who have gone through similar events can be rewarding but has the potential to trigger a trauma reaction in others or ourselves. It is up to each of us to practice discretion, self-care, and self-protection.
Expressive Writing

Our online Expressive Writing meetings occur monthly, generally the first Sunday of each month at noon Pacific Standard Time.

Our Expressive Writing meetings use a topic or prompt to help us get started. After introductions, we mute our microphones and write for 20 minutes. After that, we talk together about the experience – how do we feel? Did we write something that surprised us? We don’t have to share what we wrote about, but we can.

If you would like to join us, sign up for our mailing list and watch for an informational email that will confirm the date and time and offer instructions for how to receive the Zoom link. There is no cost to participate.

Guidelines for Monthly Expressive Writing Meetings
  1. Participation is Voluntary. We encourage you to participate, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
  2. We Pledge Confidentiality. Please commit to confidentiality, so that: Who you see here, and what is shared here, stays here.
  3. We Practice Safety, Compassion, and Respect. We each have a role in making the group an emotionally safe place to share. We treat each other with kindness. We accept and include everyone regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, cultural background, or ability.
  4. Sharing Time is Limited. So that everyone has an opportunity to share, sharing time is limited.
  5. We Avoid Interruptions. Please give speakers the opportunity to be heard without interruption.
  6. We Try to Use “I” Statements. Discussion is most beneficial when we speak from the “I” position. That means we share about our own personal experience and avoid giving advice or lecturing others.
  7. This is a Peer Support Group Only. Not professionally led, not a therapy group, not a substitute for therapy by trained professionals. We hope you find support here, but we also hope you do not rely upon us to be your only or primary means of support.
  8. Triggers Happen. Sharing our accident experiences with others who have gone through similar events can be rewarding but has the potential to trigger a trauma reaction in others or ourselves. It is up to each of us to practice discretion, self-care, and self-protection.
One-to-One Peer Support

When we started offering online meetings, we discovered that some participants initiated informal contacts with one another in between these events. Because this kind of contact was helpful to participants, we decided to extend the tradition and make it easier for those who want support from peers on an individual, one-to-one basis. Peer support relationships are not supervised or overseen by the Hyacinth Fellowship. Both peers, together, share responsibility to forge a relationship that is helpful, balanced, and supportive.

Peer supporters are people who have unintentionally harmed others and who, through their own lived experience, have learned valuable lessons about trauma, coping, and growth, which they are willing to share from the standpoint of their own experience, strength, and hope. The relationship between peers gives both parties the opportunity to reflect on their experience, learn, and grow.

If you are interested in finding a peer supporter or becoming a peer supporter, please contact us. We can send you more information.

Guidelines for Providing Peer Support
  1. Peer support brings together people with shared experiences to learn and grow. Peer support is not:
    • Psychotherapy or counseling
    • Instructing, directing, giving advice, or trying to change the other person
    • “Fixing,” caretaking, rescuing, protecting, or taking responsibility for the peer’s wellbeing or healing
  2. Peer support is:
    • non-judgmental: We do not criticize, condemn or complain. We are open to other points of view. We accept our peer’s thoughts, decisions, choices, beliefs, and feelings as their own, even if we disagree. We stay aware of our biases.
    • respectful: We maintain confidentiality. We are reliable and trustworthy. We trust in our peers’ ability to cope, move toward health, and grow. We are not prescriptive or directing.
    • reciprocal & mutual: Both peers learn from one another and share responsibility for the relationship.
    • compassionate and empathic: We are witnesses to suffering but we realize we cannot eliminate the suffering. We recognize the feelings and thoughts that cause distress and offer hope
    • empowering: We trust in our peers’ resilience and innate abilities to heal. We invite the peer to express his or her needs and goals. We support our peer’s efforts to re-gain a sense of personal agency.
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Jane
Jane
5 months ago

Nearly a month ago I was in a fatal accident involving a motorcyclist. I was making a left turn and…..I never saw him until he broadsided me. I am still waiting for the police report to understand the extent of my culpability. I am in therapy, have the support of good friends and my partner. But I would really welcome having a peer to talk to. The guilt is overwhelming

Joanna
Joanna
11 months ago

I have been waiting for an opportunity like this. I would really like to connect with those who have similar circumstances. I feel it would be very beneficial and healing.

Ben Patey
Ben Patey
10 months ago
Reply to  Joanna

Hi Joanna, I have been a member of Hyacinth Fellowship for several years and find everyone on here wry helpful.
I am also on the list of peer supporters and don’t mind sharing my experience as a CADI and how I cope with it.
If you feel like reaching out please do so.
My email is bentley.patey@hotmail.com
Take care
Ben Patey

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