Dads in Distress Support Services Peer Support Group

Date endorsed

Contact details:
Barry Guidera
Address Dads in Distress Support Services (DIDSS)
Box 2333

Suburb Coffs Harbour
Postcode 2450
Phone 02 6652 8113
Program developer
Various contributors
Facilitator requirements It is strongly recommended that the DIDSS Support Group is delivered in conjunction with services that provide programs for families experiencing family separation. Male group leaders are the preferred facilitators of this program as the participants are separated fathers. Each group should have at least two local group leaders to enable the group to continue to function due to the ill-health of one of the group leaders.

To facilitate a DIDSS group, it is highly desirable although not mandatory, that you have been through a family separation experience that has involved children. You also must be trained by a DIDSS recognised trainer using this manual and be accredited by the internal DIDSS Group Leader facilitation team.
Target group The DIDSS program is primarily for separated and displaced parents who wish to attend a non-denominational self-help peer support program to help them share experiences regarding family separation and how they cope with grief, loss and change. It is imperative that those who attend are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol or display abusive behaviours.

Some participants from time to time may need to be excluded from the group. Exclusion from the group is used as a sanction for serious breaches of group behaviour policy. It will be used in situations where the continuing participation of a particular group member could seriously harm the welfare or education of others in the group or indeed themselves.
Is this program available for purchase?
DIDSS purpose is to engage and support parents by listening and empathising with their life experience. The support groups use a psychoeducational model as the structure that supports parents through their time of distress and build on their resilience and confidence to face changes in their life. The DIDSS Support Group is an example of a psychoeducational group that is facilitated by trained peer leaders who use a mutual aid model. Psychoeducational groups are structured group experiences that benefit people from the general population who share a similar challenge or experience in life. The group’s purpose is to provide:
•    Education
•    Support
•    Self-help
•    Peer-leadership development
•    Discussion

Using the DIDSS process, the participants have an opportunity to learn from other participants’ proactive coping strategies. The role of the group leader is to guide the group using the process outlined in this training manual. At an educational level, participants take meaning and learning from other people’s stories they identify with, and accept that they will not identify with the experiences of some other people. The groups are routinely evaluated as per the procedures in this manual. Participants whose needs are beyond the scope of the group process are referred to other services that may cater more effectively with those needs.

By the end of the program (involvement in the group for three months) participants will have learnt to:
• Express their feelings about their divorce/separation and/or relationship breakdown.
• Feel more trusting and supported both in and out of the group setting.
• Develop peer leadership skills to support other fathers to face similar situations.
• Develop the capacity to be forward looking re their future rather than dwelling on their past.
• Practice the use of ‘respect’ with the mother of their children regardless of what has occurred in the past.
• Develop an improved relationship with their children (where contact permits).

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