Types of Self-Help Groups
Several different types of self-help groups and therapies are available today. Each self-help group can focus on something else, and there is most likely a self-help group for any condition.
Some examples of the different types of self-help groups include:
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): Briefly mentioned above, AA is a 12-step program that is focused on helping alcoholics maintain their sobriety.
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA): Very similar to AA, however those who attend NA consider themselves addicts, while those who attend AA consider themselves alcoholics.
- SMART Recovery: A type of self-help group that focuses on helping members control behavior that is concerning them or is harmful.
- Parents without Partners: Offers support to single parents and aims to reduce the stress associated with being a single parent by allowing members to share their coping strategies and advice with others.
- Discrimination self-help groups: This type of self-help group is survival-oriented and is focused on helping members who have experienced discrimination through their challenges and stressful situations.
Overall, self-help groups can be very beneficial for those with a health condition, addiction or mental health issue. Self-help groups provide a sense of community and belonging, making it easier for members to trust and communicate with each other.
At its core, the self-help track at AFR is a basic 12-step program in which patients who attend twice a week can also travel to weekly, outside Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. The key for both groups is admitting powerlessness toward the addiction and holding a desire to get better.
While the 12-steps were born with a spiritual core, the program has evolved to no longer being spiritual in and of itself. The steps instruct patients to depend on a higher power, which can be anything the patient places his or her faith in love, kindness, family, etc.
A recent article in the New York Times highlighted this growing trend over the past decade: AA meetings are turning secular to support the growing number of people “who might variously describe themselves as agnostics, atheists, humanists or freethinkers.”
Writer Samuel G. Freedman penned the article after he was permitted to sit in on a secular AA meeting in New York City with the understanding that all things were to remain anonymous.
Freedman cites this quote in his article:
“’A.A. starts at its core with honesty,’ said Dorothy, 39, who heads the steering committee for the We Agnostics and Freethinkers International A.A. Convention. ‘And how can you be honest in recovery if you’re not honest in your own beliefs? If you don’t believe in the God they’re praying to, that’s not honest practice.’”
At the end of that meeting in Manhattan, those in attendance held hands and recited, “Live and Let Live” instead of The Lord’s Prayer. It is a practice that is turning 12-step programs into a more inclusive recovery program.
Through offering this self-help track, AFR is supporting those without a religious affiliation while also supporting those who are looking to help themselves without the need to evaluate the origin of their behavior. As is the case with all tracks, however, patients are free to move between them as they see fit, though choosing one primary track is encouraged.
“There’s a lot of different rehabilitation programs across the United States. Some of them are very narrow in their thinking that there’s only one solution,” said Jon Hard, an Addiction Specialist working with AFR. “This program has multiple solutions under one roof, which I think is fantastic because someone is getting the most they can out of a rehabilitation program. That’s amazing.”
Self-help group therapy, also known as mutual-help groups, are a group of people who share the same issue, condition, or situation. This way, each member can provide help and support to one another. There are a wide variety of these groups to help people address any issue they may be going through, whether it was an emotional or physical illness or an addiction.
Help Beyond Treatment
Self-help groups are made up of individuals who share the same or similar issue. Members provide support and advise one another to help each other through difficult times. The idea behind self-help groups is that the collective experience among group members promotes understanding and healing. Memberships to be apart of a self-help group are free or requires a small fee or donation.
In 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous was developed and became the first self-help group. Today, Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs are some of the most popular types of self-help groups around. In the 1960s, due to the Civil Rights Movement, self-help groups became more prevalent. The popularity of self-help groups continued to increase throughout the years, and in the 1990s, online self-help groups became available. Self-help groups allow individuals to connect with and confide in others who have the same or similar condition.
Group Therapy at A Forever Recovery
It is imperative to us that our patients felt comfortable and supported during their time in rehabilitation. One of the most popular ways to achieve this is by participating in self-help groups. These groups can be attended during recovery and when patients return home so they can continuously feel supported throughout their recovery. Participants often feel they can trust their group members and feel supported throughout their recovery journey.
At A Forever Recovery, we have sought to bring together several trained and licensed professionals or certified recovering members of many different modalities that have a background in the addiction field. We aim to provide a recovering environment that is unique by bringing together many different types of counselors.
We want to guide our clients into finding the type of treatments that are best for their specific needs. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and would like to learn more about self-help groups, call us at our toll-free number to speak with one of our advisors.