Group therapy is based on the idea that people can be helped by the positive social relationships that others provide. One way for people to gain this social support is by joining a self-help group, which is a voluntaryassociation of people who share a common desire to overcome psychological disorder or improve their well-being (Humphreys & Rappaport, 1994). 1 Self- help groups have been used to help individuals cope with many types of addictive behaviors. Three of the best-known self-help groups are Alcoholics Anonymous, of which there are more than two million members in the United States, Gamblers Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous.
The idea behind self-groups is very similar to that of group therapy, but the groups are open to a broader spectrum of people. As in group therapy, the benefits include social support, education, and observational learning. Religion and spirituality are often emphasized, and self-blame is discouraged. Regular group meetings are held with the supervision of a trained leader.