The philosophy of self help
The philosophy of self help is based on three elements:
- Shared experience
- Shared benefit
- Shared involvement
The reasons for choosing self help are varied, but making the decision to attend a group can be a very positive and empowering step.
Some people look for reassurance that how they feel and cope is ‘normal’, while others are looking for inspiration from people who have come through a similar situation and thrived. Through mutual understanding and support, members of self help groups share their experiences and knowledge. This pooling of information and joint problem solving creates a wealth of resources that members can draw on.
Personal stories are the lifeblood of self help groups and enable members to learn new coping strategies, pick up practical information and benefit from shared knowledge.
There is evidence to suggest that the people, who get most involved in running a group, also get the most benefit from the experience. Many groups share the responsibility for the group business, such as rotating the role of Chair, which leads to shared benefits. It is also fine to attend a group without taking on any responsibility.
" I thought I was the only one going through this – then I met people who had shared a similar experience. They responded, acted and felt just like me. The relief I felt was tremendous. "
There are groups that serve a single community e.g. New Life for Asian Women Diabetes group. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Shared language makes communication easier
- Shared religious and cultural values that shape the way they feel, eat and share
- Shared experience in their own community and the wider community