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What is Online Self-Help?

Article Details
  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 December 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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It is common for individuals who suffer from stress, depression, addiction, or another type of mental illness to feel that they cannot overcome their problems without professional help. Many people do not have the time, money, or energy, however, to meet regularly with psychologists or admit themselves into substance abuse treatment centers. One option for individuals who want to find relief from their problems is online self-help, a concept that is garnering support from psychological professionals. There are hundreds of different online self-help websites, publications, and support groups that can provide individuals with the resources and information they need to overcome their issues and lead productive, happy lives.

Online self-help websites offer free or subscription programs, articles, and information that people can use to help them deal with problems. A self-help program may take the form of an online book, a step-by-step guide, or a general collection of thoughts and information. Some websites proclaim that a single read-through of information is sufficient to help people conquer physical, mental, and emotional problems, though many others promote detailed, long-term programs to describe the tools people need.

Some publications offer general advice to people who lack motivation or experience stress and uncertainty. They promote positive thinking and proactive behaviors to help people get their lives back on track. Other online self-help resources are tailored at very specific issues, such as losing weight, developing relationships, coping with cancer, or prevailing over an addiction.

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Some online self-help sites feature chat rooms and discussion boards where people can discuss their experiences and struggles with individuals who have similar problems. People can give advice about methods they have found successful in overcoming personal issues, such as depression, codependency, and addiction. With the information provided by self-help tutorials and commentary from other sufferers, many individuals find the strength to conquer their mental issues.

Individuals who are interested in pursuing online self-help should thoroughly research the company or professional offering services before making payments or releasing personal information. Unfortunately, some websites can provide unreliable information or exist primarily to take money from vulnerable individuals. People should investigate the credentials, terms, conditions, and privacy policies of any online publication to ensure the services and information they receive is reliable.

Most psychologists recognize the validity of self-help, though they warn that serious problems should be discussed directly with trained physicians or mental health workers. Skilled doctors and psychologists can help patients decide whether or not a specific self-help program or publication is worth investigating. A combination of periodical sessions with professionals and online self-help resources can bring significant relief from personal struggles.

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