If you are considering starting an NDE discussion or support group in your community, please read the following, which is excerpted from the pamphlet "Everything You Wanted to Know about Starting an IANDS Group" (the "Everything" brochure).
Focus, focus, focus.
Early on, decide the group's purpose and stick to it. Do you want a peer support group primarily for experiencers, speaker group or a study and discussion group for the general public? Your purpose will determine which people you invite and the program structure once they arrive (more about this later).
It is easier to grow than to manage a large group at the very beginning.
Keep it simple.
At the exploring stage you need only a handful of people and a couple of hours a month for quiet discussion. Officers, letterhead, and rented meeting space can come later.
Tell every sympathetic person you know what you are planning to do, invite them to attend, and ask for their suggestions about finding others. This applies both to experiencers and to other interested people, depending on your focus. Some places and people to contact:
- Nurses and hospital personnel;
- Physicians and emergency personnel;
- Funeral directors, workers in nursing homes and hospices;
- Clergy; counselors and therapists; social workers;
- Groups for bereaved parents, victims, the terminally ill;
- Teachers of life skills, death and dying
- Word of mouth does work.
You're ready to hold your first meeting. All IANDS groups must agree to the following guidelines:
- It allows freedom of interpretation of NDEs and similar experiences and does not proselytize any single point of view;
- It provides peer support not therapy;
- While fostering the free exchange of ideas through open discussion, it safeguards the stability of its participants by not demonstrating or teaching techniques which are known to have been emotionally hazardous for some individuals;
- The leader of any IANDS group is a member of IANDS.
- Within a year of formation the group holds IANDS membership in its own name;
That's basically it! A group operating in accordance with these policies may use the name IANDS- [town], or [town]- IANDS, or may choose another name.
Each local group is financially independent of IANDS. IANDS accepts no responsibility for financial agreements made by a local group without the express written authorization of IANDS' treasurer or another member of its Executive Committee.
If you're interested in starting an IANDS group, then fill out and submit the request form.