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A self-help support group is a tool that people use to discuss areas of stress or emotional pain with others who may have similar problems. To choose the best self-help support group, you should identify what is causing your problems. For example, if you are a victim of post traumatic stress, then you might want to work with a trained professional to identify the source of trauma. Individuals who have drinking or drug problems might also want to consult professionals to learn about options for treatment. It is common for a person to seek a self-help group for depression, anxiety, or stress caused by issues at home or at work.
For many people, the best first step in choosing a self-help support group is to locate resources from which to learn about options. The resources you choose should be based on groups or communities to which you already belong or where you feel comfortable. For example, an individual who regularly attends religious services might want to inquire at a related institution. People who feel more comfortable using community or social services may choose to inquire at a local health resource center.
You should also think about practical concerns when you are trying to find the best self-help support group. For instance, you should find out where groups meet, when they meet, and for how long they meet. While information written on pamphlets and websites can help you narrow down your choices, you might want to call centers where groups meet for more information. It is always possible, for example, that meeting times can change before information is updated on resources.
When you are researching a self-help support group, you might also want to find out some details that could potentially affect your comfort level. For example, you might want to know about the ages of the people who attend a group, or how many men versus women there are. You might also want to inquire about how many people usually attend a group.
Don't feel that you have to decide on a self-help support group before you actually visit one for the first time. As you are attending your first meeting, pay attention to how comfortable you feel. If you don't feel that you have much in common with other members of a group, you might want to consider trying other groups. At the same time, it's important to remember that attending any self-help support group for the first time can be a stressful experience.