How to Set the Groundrules

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Hosts share the ground rules at the start of every session to set the container. This helps create safety for new members and is a good reminder for members, in general, to make sure they are in line with ShareWell’s peer support culture. One of our main groundrules is “no advice giving,” imagine how awkward it could get if someone started giving advice, but only because they weren’t aware of the groundrules. It’s much better to state them at the beginning so everyone is in the know and helps prevent any tricky situations during your session. 

Hear from ShareWell Founder CeCe, on how to set the ground rules before a peer support session. 

ShareWell’s three ground rules are: 

  • Stay compassionate and respectful. This means both in our physical presence and in how we communicate.
  • Share your experience, not your advice. This is a reminder that this is a peer support session, not group therapy. That means that we are here to listen to each other, support each other, and learn from each other, but never to give advice or to diagnose.
  • Respect confidentiality. Keep what you learn and hear in peer support sessions confidential. We should never be sharing another member’s story

Additional session rules to be mindful of are:

  • Minimum of 3 Peers: A session doesn’t officially begin until there are at least three participants, which includes yourself. If a third peer is absent for an extended period, the session will automatically cancel.
  • 5-Minute entry window: At the session’s onset, it’s beneficial to inform your peers that they have a 5-minute window to join. After this period, no additional participants can enter the session.
  • Chat Availability: The session chat will be accessible two days before the session begins and for three days after the session concludes.
  • Camera must be on: Please make sure your attendess have their camera on and are in camera view.

How to enforce camera on rule (with kindness)

As hosts, you help enforce the groundrules that keep our community safe. We require all attendees to be on camera during peer support sessions. Seeing everyone’s faces builds a sense of connection, trust and safety between members, which is so important when it comes to healing emotionally. Having video on allows peers to see who they are sharing with and reassures confidentiality within the group. In addition, seeing nonverbal cues can help hosts and group members support each other more effectively. Plus, it helps everyone stay present to the conversation which leads to greater impact and growth.

Kind ways to address someone who has their camera off:

  • Hi (name), I see your camera is off. We would love for you to participate in this session, however, ShareWell has a safety rule that all attendees must have their cameras on. 
  • Can you please turn your camera on? If not, I will kindly ask you to jump out of the session, as we can’t begin the group until everyone’s camera is on. 
  • If you need a moment, you can jump out of the session and back in when you’re ready to have your camera on. Entrance to the session closes 5 minutes past the start time. You have a moment if you need.

* If on the rare occasion, someone chooses not to be on camera, please remove them from the session. You can do this with grace, and let them know that you have to do this as a ShareWell rule for the group to continue.

Learn more about our community ground rules and safety protocols in ShareWell’s free peer support host training: