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Florida International University Community Collaborations and Advocacy Discussion


Discussion Topic #8 – Chapter 7 – Community Collaborations and Advocacy

(300 words minimum for main posting with 200 word replies)

In Chapter 7, you will read about some of the things that community members expect, and the importance of community collaborations. The chapter also addresses self-help organizations. For this discussion:

Define the Helper-Therapy principle as described on pages 192-193

Give an example of a self-help group with which you are familiar and describe how the Helper-Therapy principle works for that group

Minimum 300 word posting with 200 word replies to two classmate



Community resources include community collaborations, which are self-help organizations. Self-help groups provide an environment in which clients can have free and open discussions on topics of common interest to others; they also turn problems or needs into resources, making help more effective.

The “helper-therapy” principle is defined as an explanation of why self-help groups are successful. This author Skovholt (1974) analyzed the benefits of “helper therapy”, came to the conclusion, and pointed out that, although receiving help is beneficial, providing help is even more so.

Skovholt (1974) described the benefits that people in self-help groups typically experience from helping others. The helper does the following: 1. Feel a higher level of interpersonal competence as a result of having an impact on someone else’s life. 2. Feel a sense of equality in giving and receiving between him or her and others. 3. Receive learning valuable custom that comes from working with a helper. 4. You get social approval from the people you help.

Another author Gartner and Riesssman (1984) identified the additional benefits: 1. The helper becomes less dependent. 2. By dealing with the problem of another person who has a similar problem, the helper has the opportunity to observe his problem from a distance. 3. The helper gains a feeling of social utility by playing the helper role.

I believe that the best example of a Self-help group is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), it is a worldwide organization designed to help former alcoholics support each other during their recovery journey while maintaining sobriety. People who are sober longer help others to stay sober too, which makes them empowered and continue in their healing process, it is like a chain.

Individuals who attend AA groups are committed to stop abusing alcohol and remain sober. The meetings offer a multitude of ways to support ongoing recovery, like an effective 12-step program designed to treat alcoholism.


Define the Helper-Therapy principle as described on pages 192-193

The “helper-therapy” theory explains why self-help groups are successful. According to the principle, when one person helps another, the helper may benefit. Skovholt (1974) identified the following benefits that members of self-help organizations typically enjoy when they aid others. That is, an excellent assistant will frequently accomplish the following:

1. Has a greater sense of interpersonal competency as a result of the impact they have on the lives of others.

2. Has an equal feeling of giving and taking between himself/herself and others.

3. Receives excellent personalized learning when assisting a helpee

4. Receives social approval from those he or she assists.

Give an example of a self-help group with which you are familiar and describe how the Helper-Therapy principle works for that group

Alcoholic Anonymous is a self-help organization that I am familiar with. To varying degrees, this self-help organization addresses aspects of empowerment. As a result, it enhances the empowerment of people who are at risk of or are currently experiencing mental health problems. The motivation and ability of clients to help themselves and others who face comparable dangers to their psychological well-being is central to the empowerment process. According to Riessman (1985), when people help themselves, they feel empowered; they have control over some part of their lives. Empowerment multiplies energy, motivation, and help—giving power that extends beyond helping oneself or accepting aid. Furthermore, this self-help-induced empowerment may have significant political implications because, as people are empowered to deal with some aspects of their lives competently, the skills and positive feelings they acquire may spread contagiously and empower them to deal with other aspects of their lives. The helper treatment principle (HTP) is the belief that when helpers help another sufferer, they help themselves. The HTP is represented in the declared aim of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The basic goal of Alcoholics Anonymous is to stay sober and help other alcoholics attain sobriety. The renowned 12th Step of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous exhorts the alcoholic to help others who are suffering from the same affliction. Helping other alcoholics keeps the alcoholic helper on the right track.


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