Self-help groups and women’s empowerment often go hand-in-hand as regular meetings help women achieve valuable support and encouragement toward personal growth. Peer-to-peer support is often used in psychotherapeutic treatment settings to facilitate the sharing of experiences and self-help strategies in a safe, nurturing environment. Likewise, self-help groups and women’s empowerment are related as women are able to come together in groups to effectively explore different self-help techniques and strategies in order to learn how to apply these tips to their personal and professional lives.
Women’s empowerment is often addressed in self-help books and specific self-help programs. While these may be effective when used individually or even led by a trained therapist, group support is often preferred by some women. In many cases, women deliberately approach self-improvement via the use of an individual therapist or life coach, while also simultaneously reading personal development books and engaging in self-help groups.
As is often the case, self-help groups and women’s empowerment sessions are not always formally planned. Women may naturally find themselves coming together on their own as friends to engage in regularly sharing self-help strategies. Often, this happens when friends and neighbors have shared experiences, such as domestic violence, social discrimination or particular family issues.
Individual women’s support groups may be facilitated by a professional social worker, a therapist or a life coach. Special organizations which exist for the primary purpose of empowering women may also host groups that are led by staff members who have no formal training, but are passionate about helping women acquire assertive skills. Often, a self-help support group is also led by one or more women who have passed through trying circumstances and are determined to help other women do the same.
Often, the most effective self-help groups and women’s empowerment programs are those that create an environment where women feel safe to share their thoughts and ideas. While a self-help program may have a structured format, ample time for conversation and an interchanging of ideas allows women to discover or rediscover their own voice and power. Groups may also be held in a variety of locations, such as a community center, a member’s home, a conference room or a more public setting, such as a restaurant. Regardless of the meeting facility, however, a respect for the privacy of individual members and the personal information that some may share is equally important to the overall success of self-help groups and women’s empowerment meetings.