We follow these guidelines so that our meetings run smoothly and are enjoyable for everyone.  After the list of guidelines are some other policies that are good to know before attending.

Group Guidelines

  1. Confidentiality: What is said in group stays in group.  We respect privacy.
  2. Safety: Observe boundaries and respect others with language and actions.  See a facilitator if you have any concerns.
  3. Medicine & Doctors: We do not prescribe, diagnose, or give advice.  Advice only comes from “professional” care givers.  We do not name medications.
  4. Participation: You have the right to pass.  Participation is voluntary.
  5. Unrelated Activities: No cell phones, texting, or food during group.  Cell phone must be on vibrate.
  6. Listening: Listen to others without interrupting. Raise your hand to respond.  One person speaks at a time.
  7. “I” Statements: Use “I” statements and share from your own positive experiences, insights, and coping skills.
  8. Judgment: We do not judge or criticize each other.
  9. Sharing: Our time is limited, and we start and stop on time.  We need to give equal opportunity, for sharing as well as feedback, to all group members.
  10. Accountability: We are responsible for ourselves, our actions, and our wellness.

Click here to download or print these guidelines.

Other things to know before attending:

  • We are not professionals, nor is our group a substitute for professional treatment.  We offer peer support, not therapy or education.  New Beginnings is a self-help group.
  • The facilitators are peers from the group.
  • All groups are free.
  • All groups start and end on time.
  • Everyone present must be at least 19 years old.
  • We don’t take attendance or have any attendance requirements.
  • No one is required to speak.  We are free to participate according to our comfort level, or just listen.
  • Those attending for the first time take their turns in the second half of the meeting (if they wish to take a turn).
  • We encourage everyone to arrive on time and stay until the end.  However, our doors are always open because we understand that there are many reasons why someone might have to arrive late or leave early.  Those who arrive very late will get a turn only if there is time left at the end.  Those who leave very early might not get a turn.
  • Supportive family and friends of the person with the mood disorder are welcome to attend the main groups.  However, we ask family and friends to just listen and not participate.
  • This is not a dating group.  Group will not be used as a dating service.
  • We can talk about medications as long as we don’t name them.  For example, instead of saying “Prozac”, please just say “antidepressant”.  If you mention medicine, speak only about how your meds or side effects are affecting you.
  • We watch our language.  Swearing and other graphic or inappropriate talk is unwelcome.
  • We maintain a positive environment.  We want to feel better when we leave than we did when we arrived!
  • Our group is not equipped to help someone in immediate crisis.

If you have an emergency or feel like hurting yourself or others, do one of the following NOW:
  • Call 911
  • Go to the emergency room of your local hospital
  • Call one of these hotlines:
    • NJ Hopeline:  1-855-654-6735
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • National Hopeline Network:  1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)