Standard Article

Self-Help Groups

  1. Elena Klaw,
  2. Desiree Luong

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0838

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Klaw, E. and Luong, D. 2010. Self-Help Groups. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. San Jose State University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


A self-help group is an organization of individuals sharing a common concern who meet regularly to provide and receive emotional support and to exchange information. Self-help groups exist for nearly every health and social support problem; this makes them a useful referral source for mental health professionals. Further, because self-help groups are free of charge and allow unlimited attendance, they provide ongoing support to participants regardless of limits imposed by financial resources and managed health care. Self-help groups thus provide vital access to care for underserved groups. In fact, individuals with low incomes (less than $20,000/year) and low social support are more likely to participate than individuals with higher levels of economic and support resources (Klaw & Humphreys, 2004). Although self-help groups have traditionally convened through face-to-face meetings, in recent years Internet self-help forums have proliferated.


  • self-help;
  • mutual-help;
  • mutual-aid