Self-Help Groups Self-help groups consist of individuals who share the same problem or concern. Members provide emotional support to one another, learn ways to cope, discover strategies for improving their condition, and help others while helping themselves (Wituk, Shepherd, Slavich, Warren, & Meissen, 2000). There are several goals to self-help groups. When polled, sixty-one percent of self-help groups said that their most important goal was providing emotional and social support to members. Thirty-two percent said that providing information and education to members was the most important goal. A few other goals were advocacy, special events, and fundraising.
Some of the supports to members in self-help groups are telephone support, peer counseling, and buddy systems. With such overwhelming statistics, its a shame that most social workers dont know of any self-help groups other than Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. There are hundreds of groups that social workers should be familiar with so that they could refer clients to them. (Wituk et al., 2000). The setting of self-help groups is usually pretty relaxed.
Groups are affiliated with either a national group or a local group. Social workers are not always involved with self-help groups. The ones that are involved are not always the leaders, but merely someone that helps the conversation along (Wituk et al, 2000). Social Workers need to learn what self-help groups there are in their area, so they can refer their clients to them. Social workers can get a copy of the National Self-Help Sourcebook to learn about groups in the United States.
They should thoroughly check out these groups to make sure that they are still functioning before they refer clients to them. Social workers should keep a record of all the self-help groups that they can find in their area. This list should also be kept up to date. Clients should be referred to several programs so that they can choose which program they think will fit them best. One very important thing for social workers to remember is that self-help groups are not meant to replace professional help.
However, groups are often a stable environment that individuals can get a lot out of (Wituk et al., 2000). References Wituk, S., Shepherd, M., Slavich, S., Warren, M., & Meissen, G. (2000). A topography of self-help groups: An empirical analysis. Social Work, 45, 157-163. Bibliography References Wituk, S., Shepherd, M., Slavich, S., Warren, M., & Meissen, G.
(2000). A topography of self-help groups: An empirical analysis. Social Work, 45, 157-163. Social Issues.