, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 359-364
Date: 21 Oct 2004

Self-help groups for psychiatric and psychosomatic disorders in Germany—themes, frequency and support by self-help advice centres

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Self-help groups have found increasing recognition by health professionals in recent years. However, considerable research deficits remain, particularly regarding self-help groups for persons with psychiatric and psychosomatic disorders. We present a survey on the dissemination and differentiation of such groups in Germany and their support by self-help advice centres. Most likely, more than 5,000 of these groups exist covering a broad range of psychiatric disorders, particularly groups for families and partners, bereavement, anxiety disorders, depression, and eating disorders. These groups are supported by self-help advice centres in various ways from information to group counselling in difficult periods. The results of the survey encourage further in depth study of self-help groups, their cooperation with psychotherapists, and their health promoting potentials.