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The term self-help therapy conjures up a number of scenarios, some of which are accurate and others that are not. While the term appears to apply to therapy that will help only you, the user, most self-help therapy involves groups of people who talk, share, experience, and hope together, with the desired outcome being healing for those in the group or the solving of a common problem.|
Alcoholics Anonymous could probably be deemed the first self-help therapy group, controlled by the members themselves, and has been the model for many such groups that followed.
In this era, however, when nearly every family boasts a home computer or two, self-help therapy has taken on a new dimension.
While mental health professionals prefer to call these groups “mutual aid organizations,” they note that probably about 8 to 10 million Americans participate in some sort of self-help therapy each week, many of them via the internet.
There are a number of advantages to online therapy. Most site the 24-hour-a-day availability of such groups, especially advantageous to those who work unusual schedules and are hard-pressed to find face-to-face groups that fit their needs. Anonymity also plays a huge role in the success of online self-help therapy. Many individuals prefer not to identify themselves to others, and in an online group, this is easily accomplished. There’s no threat of embarrassment or other stumbling blocks that may keep someone from participating in traditional self-help groups.
For those who are unable to leave their homes due to illness, lack of transportation, or any other reason, this is the perfect way to join in to receive support and empowerment by others who may be facing similar situations.
Some traditional therapists, however, tout the dangers of online self-help therapy, citing unhealthy addiction to the internet and the presence of “lurkers”, who may be preying on unsuspecting self-help therapy participants.
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