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Chrysalis support groups – for adults 18+

Chrysalis run different groups depending on our members requirements.

Trans and Questioning Support Group

A structured support group providing free one-to-one counselling, life-skills, workshops, peer support and facilitated group work for gender diverse people. On the first and third Friday of each month. In Southampton, Basingstoke, Portsmouth & Fareham.

Wellbeing Drop-In Centre

A casual inclusive space for all trans, intersex, non-binary and questioning people offering social space, workshops, talks, peer support, and fun activities. Two evenings a month in Southampton, one evening a month in Portsmouth. Basingstoke opening soon.

Parents, Grandparents and Carers Support Groups

Support groups for Parents, Grandparents and Carers of gender diverse people. Offering support, free one-to-one counselling, peer support, facilitated group work, and workshops when requested. One evening of each month In Southampton.

Partners and close friends Support Groups

For Partners and close friends whose life is impacted by the gender diversity of a loved one Offering support, free one-to-one counselling, peer support, workshops, and facilitated group work One evening of each month In Southampton.

Group Meeting Locations

How it works

  • The location of all the meeting centres is confidential
  • If you are interested in joining a group then first of all speak to the office team who will run through some questions with you to determine which group is most appropriate for you.
  • You will then be contacted by one of our facilitators who will arrange a face to face chat with you in a coffee shop or similar so that you have a familiar face and voice to meet you when you attend your first group.
  • The location of the meetings is only disclosed by the facilitators after they have had this chat, this is for the safety and privacy of all group attendees.
  • Chrysalis recognises that not everyone can be out and would never expect you to conform to any kind of gender expression however we will undertake to always strive to get your name and pronouns right.

What Goes On At Groups?

Southampton first wellbeing drop in

Southampton first wellbeing drop in

Our group organisers explain what the groups are about.

It can be a daunting prospect getting in touch with Chrysalis. We very frequently get people who hang up when we answer the phone; reaching out for help can be really nerve wracking. What am I signing up for? There’s a group… are they sending me to group therapy? I’m not ready to talk about my thoughts and feeling in front of strangers.

Last week I ventured to the Basingstoke Trans* and Questioning group to gain an insight into what happens in these session, which I’d like to share with anyone who would love the support but is (like me) uncomfortable at the notion of walking into a room full of people they don’t know.

I met the facilitator, Hannah, beforehand. We had a great chat with a person looking to be the new co-facilitator, when asked why she wanted to volunteer for Chrysalis her answer was that she wants to do more to help trans* people than just standing up to transphobes online… I think she’s the right person for the job!

Hannah led me to the meeting place, where we met two more volunteers. We set up the room, tea and coffee facilities. Once the beneficiary arrived, Hannah unveiled an array of boardgames, which we played for most of the evening, just us volunteers played together whilst the individual counselling happened… We may have gotten slightly competitive. It was good fun, and despite not knowing a single person, I felt very much at home.

Usually there are several beneficiaries in the Basingstoke group and as there was only one on this evening, she said she felt bad that four of us had come out just for her. Well no, I thought, that’s what Chrysalis is here for; it doesn’t matter if we’re helping just one person or one hundred people – trans lives matter, all of them.

Callum – Fundraising and Social Media Officer

What people say about the groups.

Memoirs of a Wellbeing facilitator in 500ish words

Alan devised and ran the first ever Chrysalis Wellbeing drop in. A space for all trans+ people to meet and socialise in a safe, facilitated space. Before Alan leaves Chrysalis he agreed to share his own experiences and reflections. From myself and the whole Chrysalis team, the volunteers and beneficiaries, I would like to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Alan for all his hard work and the fantastic legacy he leaves us. I hope you enjoy reading his words.
Andi (CEO of Chrysalis)

“Running and setting up the Wellbeing has been a mixture of amazing and stress (mostly in a good way?). I have had so much fun meeting fellow volunteers and getting to know them and also the new beneficiaries who have come to the Wellbeing.

It all started over a year ago and was designed to be a place for any non cisgendered person to come and meet like minded people in a safe environment. This took a few months to set up and weirdly wasn’t as straight forward as I thought. I had many meetings with Andi who helped me to work through the small details like a time, place, who it is for, and also other volunteers to help.

Andi along with the office team helped me to workout a new process to enrolling new beneficiaries, not an easy task. There was so much to think about, a task which for as one as pretty disorganised as myself, was interesting. After a few short months were opened our doors to… one beneficiary and about 5 volunteers. It was great as it meant more cake for us all.

The months rolled on and we managed to enrol new beneficiaries and run the group with actual people, which was anxiety inducing. I had many meetings with Andi who heard my anxieties and worries with a calm demeanour and advice, but I am sure with increasing thoughts of just give it time and stop stressing as the months passed. As the months passed and Max and I learnt more about each other and bounced off each other pulling on each others strengths to welcome the new beneficiaries making them feel welcomed and getting them to meet new people.

Over time our we had our regulars and this meant that we could instigate our secret weapon: Trans-bingo. Trans-bingo was a big success and has been rolled out across the charity and is a big favourite with our beneficiaries. We also learnt that it is would be and now is a great spring board to and from the Exploration groups.

The success of the first Wellbeing enabled it to be copied and all the mistakes and learning curves Max and I learnt from could be avoided. Portsmouth was opened like our one in Southampton to one beneficiary and 4 volunteers. But luckily they came to our one to pick our brains about it and I know that it will be a roaring success soon. The great thing I have learnt is that the Wellbeing is a weird beast and can adapt to any area or occasion and run well even with someone who has severe anxiety about running it (thank you again Andi and Max).

The Southampton group has exceeded my expectations in the fact that it is a wonderful place to come and meet people and it has uplifted my mood many times. I will be sad to leave the group and move on after such a short and crazy time. I am happy in the knowledge that the hard work, stress (mostly good) and anxiety (also mostly good) has paid off. I know that although I am leaving it is being left in very capable hands of Founding Facilitator Max and Hannah who came in about halfway through and unofficially facilitated the group with us.

I just want to end by saying thank you to Max and Andi for the help and support and to Carole and Dawn in the office who’s patience and help were much needed and accepted during my whole time as a volunteer. Thank you to the beneficiaries. ”

Alan Chrysalis Southampton Wellbeing Drop In founder and volunteer facilitator from Aug 2017 to Jan 2019

Groups News

Friday Drop In 15th May

After another busy week in the (home) office, it was wonderful to have the drop in for group members, this week the theme was ‘party’ and we had several takes on what that might be for people! 

Great to see some new faces at this meeting, and Roger and I hope to see more of you going forward.

We decided (as a group) that next week the theme is cake, and we’ll try a slightly later start to our morning, running 10.30-12.30.

“Friday Drop In 15th May”

Celebration and looking forward

No one could have believed in the last few days of February that within a month Chrysalis would have all our support services online, but thanks to the hard work of all our facilitators and especially Maximillian, Julie and Steph I am so very proud to tell you that the first ever online Chrysalis support group ran on Friday evening and more are planned soon.…

“Celebration and looking forward”

Chrysalis goes online!

Such incredible news to share with you this morning. Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved with Chrysalis we are now able to offer our support groups and our one-to-one counselling online.

For those already a part of Chrysalis then the team will be in touch with you with all the information you need. If you want to join Chrysalis and access our support then email or call 07823 504306 between 9:30 and 3pm Monday to Friday and Dawn or Sheila will be there to chat with you.

Want to speak to a specific lovely person? Then check back on the website for the rota of who is doing what, when. Whatever you need we are here for you, we have a list of volunteers who can just give you a ring and regular check in, we have volunteers who can go and pick up essential supplies, we have humans who are here to care. Want to catch up with me in person then you can email me, I’m always up for a chat too.

Chrysalis exists to break down the barriers caused by isolation and in these challenging times we are emerging stronger and better than ever before. No longer are we bound by location. If you are in the UK and want our support then just drop us a message. We have confidential support groups for trans and questioning people, for parents, for partners and for anyone else whose life has been impacted by the …

“Chrysalis goes online!”

The Chrysalis Community

Good morning! The sun is shining and as a result I’ve had to move my home working set up through 20º, still getting used to the reality of windows and a view in my workplace, how about you? .…

“The Chrysalis Community”

Connections Matter

Connections Matter – How we are are approaching Covid-19.…

“Connections Matter”

Isolation and connection

Isolation – how do we keep connected in days when we are told we should all stay inside? How to we check in with friends, loved ones and those who come to Chrysalis?…

“Isolation and connection”

March, spring and cycling

Cycling to work is infinitely superior to driving, I like that I can do my bit for keeping Southampton cleaner and also get my fitness back but it does mean that I don’t get to listen to the radio on the way in so my thoughts for the day are not prompted by the words of others. Perhaps I should start listening to the radio in the office. So today you’re getting unexpurgated me. I’m sorry about that!

Cycling to work is so good for the soul, thanks to Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash for this image

We’re settling into our new offices, my sofa arrives tomorrow which will take up the big empty corner in my room and dampen down some of the echo. Dawn and I are getting used to having a corridor between us. Thank goodness for Office 365 (take a drink Sammy) and Teams – the communication tool of champions!

Last week was a bit of an admin catch up and just checking my phone I see I didn’t take any photos to add to this blog so I’m going to have to go and look for something to brighten it up. To be honest after the week before and two days in London and lots of driving it was nice to be in the office, to sit down with Dawn and look at plans and generally get ourselves straight again.

I did get out on Thursday though, back to the University of Southampton to …

“March, spring and cycling”

Safe spaces and safe bases

At the d&i Leaders conference on Thursday I was introduced to the concept of “When in Rome; Embassy; Advocate” principles of how companies work in places where there is limited LGBT+ acceptance, or indeed where being your authentic self is a crime.

Inclusion is good for business, it’s good for society and it’s good for LGBT+ people. Slide from @HughMilward from @Microsoft

Previously I’ve been speaking with various Universities about creating self selected LGBT+ flats within their student accommodation and the discussion came up again at our most recent Chrysalis training.

But why do we need safe bases? What really is a safe space?

Are you familiar with attachment theory? That knowledge that we all need a place of safety, a place where we know we are accepted. Once we have that safe base, be that from our family; our friends (adopted family); our Chrysalis support group; or our work colleagues we can go out and explore the world. We have resilience to ride out some of the storms, deal with those places where we are not accepted and in the end we grow and develop and find our own way. We become secure in ourselves, in our identity and in our way of being.

But it’s not enough to have just a safe base. It’s not enough to create an embassy where the rules of fairness, acceptance and inclusion are followed unless we are aware that for many people stepping outside that safe base is dangerous and that we …

“Safe spaces and safe bases”

Southampton Group Rules

The Southampton T&Q group who have just redone their group contract.

These are Laura’s words about the process. Laura is co-facilitator of the group:

At T&Q Southampton we have been doing our group contract, where everyone sits down and discusses what we want to have as our rules. As a new co-facilitator it was my first time being around for the writing of one and it was so helpful to get together as a group to agree how we want the group to run.

Before the session started the facilitators wrote up the structure of the sessions, in black at the bottom of the “Group Rules”, but everything else was up for discussion or suggestion. (I draw your attention to a rule so important it’s now part of the structure: no rocking on chairs!)

We have a lot of new faces at T&Q recently and for them it was their first opportunity to have a say too. I could see that initially people were reluctant to know how to approach the making of our own rules, but our lead facilitator did a great job putting everyone at ease and started by suggesting a big rule. A rule that comes up an awful lot in T&Q: you are trans enough. I want to repeat that, in bold, because it’s so important. You are trans enough. In group, no matter where you are in your journey, you can be yourself and know that everyone around you thinks you are trans enough …

“Southampton Group Rules”

2019 Bakeoff

“2019 Bakeoff”

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