Frequently asked questions
Why try peer support?
Helping others helps us!
Research (and our personal experience) shows that helping others is personally rewarding. It makes us feel happier. It also allows us to understand and respond to our own challenges better.
Or take the word of of olympian Michael Phelps:
Try it - you might be surprised.
Coping alone is not healthy
Our society values individualism, but it does so to a degree that has put us out of touch with some important realities.
Evidence suggests being lonely in general is really bad for us. It’s pretty obvious that it’s negative for our mental well-being. But it’s also dangerous in ways that are less obvious and may not relate directly to our conscious feelings. Research suggests that loneliness is as big a death risk as smoking or obesity! This effect can even be true for people who don’t consciously identify as lonely, but don’t have deep connections to others.
If being lonely in general is this harmful, then struggling alone with something serious must be even worse.
We are social beings: Live long and be happy
On the flip side - it’s obvious that humans are fundamentally social beings. The presence of deep (vs. just many) connections to others is profoundly good for us. Having such connections is linked in research to both happiness and long lifespan! Having deep social connections can boost survival by 50%!
I’m scared - will the other people be weird?
It’s totally understandable to be hesitant when meeting a new group of people & sharing deep experiences. The other people in your group will feel the same way!
But, take it from us: the overwhelming experience when people try out peer support is very positive. Folks are usually very surprised by how much they identify with the other members and how good the experience makes them feel. Very often, people build deep connections with each other amazingly fast. We arrive to the first meeting as a group of strangers, we leave as a team of peers.
The reality is that most people are surprisingly similar & good. Now consider when we select down for people like you: someone going through the same thing as you, who is (like you) taking action to connect with others about it. That sounds like someone you will want to get to know
Now imagine 10 of those people. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Why video groups? Chatting is so easy
It is harder, and a little daunting, to engage in a video group meeting. But what we’re trying to do is build real connections among people. Seeing other’s faces and expressions is a big part of how we emotionally connect to other humans, and build trust with them. It is also a big part of how emotional support is delivered. Emoji just don’t cut it 😐.
The back-and-forth of a conversation creates a level of connection that is deeper than we could get from just watching someone else talk, or a set of video messages. Our brain knows the difference on a subconscious level.
Once you know someone, and have a real connection to them, then chatting is more useful. This is just like how texting with your friend is very different from replying to a stranger’s comment on YouTube (this also explains why conversations with your friends are lot more civil than YouTube comment threads 😬).
Who is Campfire for? Do I need this?
Campfire is for everyone! Almost all of us are challenged by something at an emotional level. This is the human experience. We all deserve to have others on our side - and who better than other people in the same boat?
Connecting with a group is a key part of being a healthy human. And connecting about something challenging (and therefore important) is more valuable than pleasant but shallow smalltalk.
So think of Campfire as “social exercise.” Even if you happen to work up a bit of sweat - all the better. You don’t need to be in bad physical shape to exercise, and it’s the healthiest of us who exercise more than average.
Peer support is the same thing. It’s good for you, and though it might take a little energy to start, you’ll find you feel great after.
Is this confidential / anonymous?
Yes! Everything that happens in your group is confidential. You can also remain anonymous if you like, and not use your real name.
Why should I try Campfire over therapy?
Therapy with a licensed professional is a wonderful and useful experience. It’s the best solution for a lot of serious challenges. Campfire isn’t meant to be a replacement for therapy. So if you’re not sure what you need, and have access to therapy, we encourage you to try it.
Also this is not an either / or question at all. Therapy and peer support are different in many ways. One might be a better fit for a particular person at a given moment. Or they might both be useful, and complement each other when pursued together.
For example - a therapist is a professional, and it’s not part of the benefit they provide to truly empathize with you, or build a personal relationship with you. Indeed, it would be a bad idea for a therapist to do so! But this isn’t true for peer support at all. You can and should empathize with your group members, and build real personal relationships with them.
Why should I stick with my group?
If you are like the typical person, you will find peer support surprising good. But you’re also probably not experienced with the concept.
After a first meeting, you might feel like you got what you wanted. Maybe that’s the cathartic satisfaction of getting out the stuff you’ve been bottling up. Or maybe it’s the amazing realization that you’re not alone or broken at all: that there are tons of people just like you, and you don’t need to feel stigmatized for what you are going through.
At this point is might be tempting to move on, and not continue. But that’s generally a mistake. On the one hand, our core life challenges are unlikely to go away quickly, or ever. We just get better at living with them. On the other hand, the benefits of a good peer group just build over time. So if you stick with you group, you are likely to discover new and greater benefits.
For this reason, we suggest you try at least 2 group meetings before deciding is this concept is (or group) is a fit for you. And if you like it after that, we suggest sticking with your group for 8 weeks, so you can appreciate the full benefit.
How much does my group cost?
Groups are always free to try for the first meeting.
Each group has its own price. Check your group page for details, or ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are not sure.
When am I charged?
Groups are always free to try for the first meeting. Typically you will be charged just before your 2nd meeting. Cancel at any time beforehand to avoid being charged.
Can I cancel?
Yes, anytime! If you have been charged and are unsatisfied, we'd be happy to refund you.
Why do you collect payment info up front?
This is a key way we gauge who is committed to their group experience.
Why do you charge for groups?
It's difficult to build and operate Campfire! We use group fees to improve the service, including the technology platform, host training, group matching, and overall group quality. There is so much that can be done to make peer support amazing! We're just getting started.
Also - we find that this ensures that your fellow members are committed to the experience and value it.
A given group can be in one of several lifecycle stages:
We're still adding new members to this group. You will never be charged for being a member of a group in this stage.
This group is currently running, but new members can still be added
This group is running and currently not open to members.