Dangers of Self Help Groups
I came across this article in Scientific America and thought some of you may find it interesting. I think there are good and bad sides to self-help programs and sometimes people take the advice given in them, over that from medical professionals. On the other hand they can help lead the way to a healthy lifestyle, but I really think you need to be careful if you get involved.
I mentioned NLP in an earlier post and said that the Mckenna books had helped me and got a bit of criticism for that. NLP certainly falls into the self-help category and most book shops carry a lot of these type of books. Some of the advice can help, but there is also the danger that quite unstable people become practitioners who are evangelical about the method and recommend it over psychoanalysis etc. This type of thing happens in certain AA groups that are anti medication etc. AA says that is not the official line somewhere in its literature but peer pressure often takes over in meetings.
There is of course a good side to self-help books. they are easily accessed these days from places such as Amazon and can help people find an insight into their problems. “Recover” by Stanton Peele and Ilse Thompson could be considered a self-help book, that includes ideas such as starting mindfulness, but this book is written in a responsible manner and they talk about getting proper medical help in certain circumstances, (and the dangers of self-help ideas in AA). I think some of the NLP books have great techniques that are similar to CBT and would be taken more seriously if the originators had no attacked conventional therapy at the start. NLP and AA have turned into pyramid type organisations with many Evangelical followers spreading the word.
Anyway, I thought the article in Scientific America was well-balanced and made me think about a few things. There are often some good pieces in there about how the brain works so it is worth having a look at from time to time.