Psychological Self-Help

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agreed upon 70% improvement rate for psychotherapy. But, keep in
mind that 75% were still "working on it" and 40% expected it to
always be a problem (Tucker-Ladd, 1994). Therefore, while the data is
promising, psychologists pushing self-help or therapy can make no
promises to an individual about curing a specific problem. 
Finally, nearly 90% of all therapists consider self-help material
helpful. Between 60% and 88% of professional psychotherapists, who
are in a position to know what helps and what harms, recommend self-
help books to their clients, almost 50% do so "often" or "regularly."
Among the therapists who recommend self-help books, 92% to 94%
consider the books to be "sometimes" or "often" helpful. As discussed
in understanding #4, very few or no therapists observed self-help
books doing harm (Starker, 1988). 
Has the effectiveness of this book been assessed? No, certainly not
in the sense that every method has been tested for every problem
when used by every kind of person in every circumstance. That will
take decades! Yes, in the sense that this general approach (see
chapter 2) has been used successfully by me in approximately 100
classes over a period of 21 years. Please note, however, that there has
been no objective evaluation of using this book alone; my follow up
evaluation involved college students. My students were in a college
self-help class for credit and also at the same time, as part of the
class, in a paraprofessional-lead mutual helping group (much like a
group of helpful friends). You will notice that I frequently recommend
talking to friends. There is no way to tell, at this point, to what degree
the help came from my class, the readings, or the group. All seemed
Reader Feedback about Psychological Self-Help
Psychological Self-Help (PSH) is a 30-year effort and it is still a
work in progress. The book was started in 1970 to serve as an
undergraduate college text for a new psychology course (Psychology
Applied to Personal Adjustment) at Southern Illinois University. From
1974 to 1991, several editions served as the textbook for Mental
Hygiene and for Introduction to Helping (Self-Help) at Eastern Illinois
University. Over 3000 students have taken the 3-hour credit class, and
each participated in a mutual helping group and completed a lengthy,
well documented self-improvement project. By the way, even though
this book gives you far more information than you could possibly get in
any one class, the class/group/text/project combination is, in my
opinion, the preferred way to teach effective self-help. Most of the
students, I'd say 75% to 85%, in those classes and groups made
impressive changes in important areas of their lives. As mentioned
above, the remaining 15% to 25%, as you might expect, threw
something together at the last minute. 
Psychological Self-Help has been online at the Mental Help Net
(MHN) site since March, 1997. Dr. John Grohol was the Director of
MHN at that time. Dr. Mark Dombeck is Director now. The book is over
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