Self Help Groups - Do They Really Help?

There's been an explosion in the number of self help groups in recent years. Groups for all types of self help issues such as gambling, alcohol abuse, shopping addiction, sexual addiction and drug abuse are prevalent and easy to find in any city in the country. There are even self help online communities where groups of people come together to give each other needed support for everything from dieting to divorce.

But do these groups really help people with issues they may be dealing with?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Having a group of people to offer you support when you're going through a difficult problem such as caring for an ill relative or parent, going through a divorce or stopping drinking can be invaluable, though most groups that fall into the self help category are free to join and attend. This is because they don't generally have a professional leader, but instead, have a moderator that is a member of the group. The moderator position may rotate so that everyone gets a chance to run meetings.

Again, most of the time, these sorts of groups provide much needed support and are extremely beneficial for someone in going through a difficult phase or dealing with a specific problem. The difficulty, however, may be that a person truly needs professional guidance or becomes too dependent on the group and merely trades their dependency on substances, for example, to dependency on the group, with no real change occurring.

Still, the advantages of groups that meet to deal with self help issues far outweight the disadvantages. When group self help meetings are attended in addition to getting professional counseling, a person will get the best of both worlds and the results will show quickly, as well as likely be lasting ones.

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