Groups are made up of people who share common circumstances or problems, support each other, and share experiences. The group provides knowing how to accept and understand the disease in a certain way. In them, information, understanding, and improvement of self-esteem are obtained.
Since they are not therapeutic, these groups cannot be replaced by the individual treatment of those affected. You have to keep in mind some minimum standards for the proper functioning of the group, such as:
- Confidentiality, both for patients and relatives and relatives
- Sharing personal
- experiences Sharing experiences and promoting communication
- Fostering emotional support and trust in each of the group members
The groups are coordinated by two psychologists, one giving way to the interventions, collecting the experiences and working on them, and another playing the observer role.
Among researchers and professionals in psychosocial intervention in your country, more and more studies and publications on the benefits of support groups and self-help in general integrated into the Community Psychology literature and, more specifically, on Social Support.
From this literature, you can identify support groups that already exist or that you can promote in the community and the benefits they produce for those who participate. Throughout the article, you will see these groups' objectives, functions, and most important aspects of collaboration between professional and informal support systems.
You will also see some literature that supports the importance of this collaboration and the need for professionals to get to know the so-called self-help and mutual aid movement and to be able to design community strategies to promote support groups. Self-help groups can be helpful, but they can never be a substitute for a medical specialist. Both treatments must go hand in hand to overcome anxiety, phobia, or addiction problems.
Improving the motivation of a person with an anxiety disorder, such as social phobia or agoraphobia, or accelerating the necessary conditions for the recovery of addicts to any substance or activity are the main objectives of self-help groups, which have become popular in the last decades around the world.
As a definition, it is a group of people who share a problem, organized in meetings through which some individuals serve as a positive stimulus to others. These examples make it possible for everyone to benefit from the dynamics of the meetings: those who play an active and didactic role, fulfilling in a certain way a guiding function, and people who receive help from their peers.
On the other hand, self-help groups can reduce psychological discomfort by allowing others to share their difficulties. This characteristic is essential since it enables the individual to become aware that he is not the only one who suffers from this problem, nor that it is as rare or strange as he thought.
However, it is vital to make clear the importance of the performance of a specialist in psychological or psychiatric issues, both within the framework of the self-help group and in the individual treatment of each patient. In extreme situations, such as the demoralization that the group may suffer due to the relapse of a member, the management of specific techniques by a professional will be vital.