What is self-help about?

A group as a support

Miss Dr. Hundertmark-Mayser, what is self-help about?

To get together - in whatever form. Nobody has to feel alone with their problems. There are many people who feel the same way. In a self-help group you can find comfort, understanding, community and solidarity. At the same time, there is also a great opportunity for further development, as one can learn from the experiences of others. In addition to this learning effect, it is also about empowering yourself. The exchange makes you practically an expert on your own subject.

For whom is attending a self-help group the right thing?

Most people who decide to join a self-help group experience high levels of suffering. Many feel increasingly isolated, misunderstood and overwhelmed. For example, after the diagnosis of a serious or chronic illness such as Parkinson's, epilepsy or multiple sclerosis. Those affected ask themselves many questions, for example: What can I expect? And how do I manage to cope with my everyday life? This is exactly where a self-help group can provide relief and support.

Dr. Jutta Hundertmark-Mayser is convinced of community self-help. She works as a qualified psychologist at NAKOS (National Contact and Information Center for the suggestion and support of self-help groups).

How do I find the right group for me?

Those affected can use the self-help databases on the NAKOS website. Here you will find a problem-oriented and low-threshold offer. The nice thing is that self-help is almost always free of obligations, which means that everyone can just try it out. There is also self-help in very different variants and forms. Some meet to go for a walk, others cook together or meditate. If you still can't find what you are looking for, you can also found a group yourself.

Setting up yourself - isn't that very challenging?

There is of course help for this, such as the NAKOS start-up aid. The self-help contact points, which are located in more than 300 locations in Germany, also help. They help set up the groups and give tips on what you should know about data protection.

Speaking of data protection. Is there a duty of confidentiality?

Yes there is. Confidentiality is one of the most important rules in self-help groups. We also always recommend a neutral environment for the meetings. This is important so that everyone feels familiar and safe.

Is a group also suitable for reserved people?

Of course, it takes some effort to talk about yourself in a group. But especially for shy people this is an opportunity to learn to open up to other people. Besides, nobody is forced to say anything. If you don't trust yourself, you can and should only listen at a meeting.

In times of Corona: What do you think of online self-help?

There is a lot of potential in there. Of course, virtual get-togethers does not replace face-to-face contact. But it's a good interim solution to keep self-help digitally alive. Even if you can't hug each other.

To found a group

TK promotes and supports self-help work. You can find useful information on the websites of the TK regional representatives.
Enter the search term "Selbsthilfeförderung" and your federal state (e.g. "NRW") in order to receive contact persons and important information on self-help promotion.

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