Psychological Self-Help

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81
won't be the best source of help with all the problems you might face
in a life-time. Fourthly, self-help groups do not provide all the help you
must use self-help methods outside your group (Tessina, 1993). 
In effect, you are changing your environment by seeking new
sources of support or help. Sometimes new viewpoints are necessary;
intimate friends (lovers, best friends, parents) may be too involved to
be good helpers. Beyond family, friends, physician, and clergy, there is
a bewildering array of possible sources of support, especially now that
the Internet is so popular. Just as it is difficult to know about and to
locate available self-help books, so it is difficult to know the
government supported agencies and the private self-help groups that
offer help in hundreds of problem areas. If you want to try a local
support group, start by calling your local Mental Health Center for
information. Sometimes the local newspaper and phone directory lists
groups. Also, the local United Fund and community library might have
a list of self-help groups. Perhaps easiest and best is to look up Self-
Help Sourcebook Online (http://mentalhelp.net/selfhelp/) which is a
great resource to help you find local groups by location and by
disorder/problem. You can also write or call American Self-Help
Clearinghouse, St. Charles-Riverside Medical Center, Denville, NJ
07834 (Phone: 1-201-625-7101). If there isn't a local group of interest
to you, this organization will help you establish your own self-help
group. The National Self-Help Clearinghouse, 25 West 42nd St., New
York, NY 10036 (Phone: 1-212-642-2944) is also helpful. A book by
Wuthnow (1994) provides information about the pros and cons of
joining a support group. Likewise, there are articles and studies
discussing the advantages, disadvantages, and effectiveness of online
self-help groups, e.g. go to http://www.mentalhelp.net/ or to
http://www.google.com/ and do a search for “effectiveness of self-
help groups.” Also see Dr. Suler
(http://www.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/acoa.html) and Storm King
People have been drawn by the millions to groups--perhaps
appropriately called communities--on the Internet. How do you find
the best ones for you? I favor the online support groups designed for
many specific concerns, such as at Mental Earth Community
(http://www.mentalearth.com/) or PsychCentral’s Forums
(http://forums.psychcentral.com/). Comprehensive listings of online
support groups are provided by Support Groups.com
(http://www.support4hope.com/index.html) and by Dr. Grohol
Topica offers email discussion lists (http://lists.topica.com/). Email
support groups are also listed by Support Path.com
(
(http://forums.psychcentral.com). Many of the major medical Web
sites and sites for specific psychological problems, like depression,
panic disorder, battered women, rape victims, STD victims, etc. have
their own online discussion groups. Likewise, AOL has its own Online
Psych. Everyone could find a group of interest. 
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