What Are the Different Types of Online Self-Help Programs?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The different types of online self-help programs include interactive websites sponsored by self-help gurus; websites that feature assistance with time management, goal setting and personal finance; as well as independent sites that offer forums, programs and information to assist people in their self-help efforts. Individuals who are interested in self-help might find that they can get the encouragement and information that they need entirely from online self-help programs, but other people might combine online offerings with resources such as books, seminars and in-person support groups. Other considerations include whether online self-help resources are available for free or whether users must pay a fee to use these tools.

Many people utilize self-help techniques as a way to improve their lives and to address challenges and problems. Some people are able to design their own strategies for making life changes, but others can benefit from programs developed by someone else. The self-help community is host to many specialists who offer their own perspectives and methods for transforming one's life. In previous generations, self-help gurus relied on producing written materials as well as engaging in public speaking and leading in-person workshops. The Internet has provided self-help experts with the ability to offer online self-help programs.

The websites sponsored by well-known self-help experts can differ considerably. In some cases, the materials offered on a site are available free, but other sites might grant access only to people who have paid a fee to participate. The site might include video and audio recordings of classes and workshops as well as articles and even full books written by a self-help expert. Website users might also be able to communicate with each other via a message board.

For individuals who are interested in self-help approaches to particular behaviors, such as overeating or overspending, online self-help programs can be particularly helpful. Personal finance websites, for example, can enable users to track their spending by submitting information about their financial accounts, which are then monitored by the site. Using these personal financial sites might give users a better idea of how and where they are spending their money. Similarly, online self-help programs for dieters can help users keep track of their calorie consumption and exercise efforts, helping them remain accountable to their weight-loss programs and achieve their goals. As with other types of online self-help programs, these sites might offer users the opportunity to provide support and information to each other via message boards and live chat rooms.

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