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Self-help Groups Develop

Collective Experiential Wisdom

Thank you for inviting me

Your Group is very impressive

What I will talk about

How I discovered Experiential


Knowledge: Key to Self-help Groups

1970

I admired their qualities and learned


from their stories of lived experience

My personal journey to appreciate


lived experience

1972

Aha! Self-help groups use and create


experiential knowledge

I have studied self-help groups


in North America and Europe for 43 years
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1970

911

Self-help groups I have studied


in some depth

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My ideas were developed in the West.


Do they make sense to you?

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HOW ARE SELF-HELP GROUPS DEFINED?


THEIR CHARACTERISTICS?

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Definition of Self-Help Group








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Other characteristics that can occur

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Core principles of self-help groups

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

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Meaning perspective of issue

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Liberating Meaning Perspective

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WHAT ARE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN


EXPERIENTIAL, PROFESSIONAL AND LAY
PERSPECTIVES? DO DIFFERENCES MATTER?

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Self-Help Group Versus Professionally-led support Group

1.

1.

2.

2.

3. 3.

4.

4.

5.

5.

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How differences between self-help groups and


professionally-run support groups matter (1)
(1)

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How differences between self-help groups and


professionally-run support groups matter (2)

(2)

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Professionals can differ

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HOW DO SELF-HELP GROUPS DEVELOP


EXPERIENTIAL KNOWLEDGE?

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Experiential Knowledge

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One persons experiences are not


Experiential Knowledge


o
o
o

o
o

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Experiential knowledge develops from


the collective efforts of the group

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Experiential Knowledge develops from the group


sharing its experiences and reviewing others ideas

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Review professional and lay peoples ideas about you:


what is helpful and not helpful?

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Developing experiential knowledge includes reviewing others


ideas about your experiences

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A case from my research: A self-help group


learns the limits of professional knowledge

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Case study: Individuals blame themselves for


therapy failures

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The group develops experiential knowledge through


sharing their stories of speech therapy over and over

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Summary: Experiential knowledge changes them and their perspective


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Collective experiential knowledge


becomes authority

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HOW DO INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS LEARN


AND GROW IN A SELF-HELP GROUP?

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Cycle of Experiential-Social Learning

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Definition of Sharing Circle


o
o
o
o
o
o

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Sharing Circle is for peers only

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Self-Help Groups use


Experiential and Social Learning

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Dealing with grief involves


personal beliefs and values

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Journey of grief varies over time


o
o
o

o
o
o
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Cycle of Experiential-Social Learning

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Congratulations on your
liberated meaning perspective of grief

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Do my ideas make sense to you?


Are they helpful?

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Thank you

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Borkman, T. Understanding Self-Help/Mutual Aid:
Experiential Learning in the Commons. New
Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1999.
Self-Help &Mutual Aid Groups: International &
Multicultural Perspectives, Prevention in Human
Services, 11, 1-2, 1994.
Riessman, F. & D. Carroll. Redefining Self-Help.
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995.
Kurtz, L. Self-Help & Support Groups: A Handbook
for Practitioners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1997.
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