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Self-help describes any process in which an individual or a group of people engage in a process of self betterment. A self-help model is a formal set of philosophies, techniques, and goals associated with a specific self-help process. It is common to find self-help models in fields such as counseling and psychology. For example, a professional might urge a patient who is afraid of heights to face his or her fear by visiting high places. By engaging in treatment, that patient is using a guided self-help model.
Another common self-help model is used by people who do not seek the help of counselors and psychologists. When people use books to learn about themselves or certain situations in which they are involved, they are engaging self-help. This model can be most effective for people who are fairly high functioning but are looking for ways to improve their lives or careers or deal with a traumatic event, such as a death.
Groups and meetings are included in some self-help models. Addicts, for example, might use a self-help model in which they meet with others who have similar problems to discuss challenges, experiences, and coping mechanisms. In most cases, recovery groups are guided, since participants tend to work with counselors or sponsors.
The group self-help model is common among individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome or from phobias. This kind of therapy can be successful since it enables participants to put their feelings into perspective and to communicate feelings with others who understand them. While this model often is guided, many groups are open to all community members.
Many psychologists and mental health experts believe that developing a positive attitude is good for self-esteem. A common self-help model requires individuals to perform exercises that help them to feel better. Meditation, positive quotes, and the repeating of positive phrases can be included in this type of self-help model.
Self-help models also can be used in a public health context. An organization such as the International Health Organization (IHO) might use a self-help model when executing health awareness initiatives in certain communities. This kind of model requires community members to actively engage in health education by attending meetings and courses.
They might also train for professional positions to promote healthy practices, spread awareness, and operate equipment and software related to health initiatives. In an environment in which water is contaminated, a self-help initiative might involve training community members to clean water and implement work practices are better for the environment. Others might train to become health educators.