Building Relationships between Loss and Grief Self-Help Organisations and Health Professionals

Giljohan, B.1, Hansen, M.2, & Wilkens, K.3 (2000). Building Relationships between Loss and Grief Self-help Organisations and Health Professionals. Grief Matters, 3(1): 7-11. Availability: <;dn=812663501392773;res=IELFSC>


It is a common human experience that people often find a unique benefit and value in the understanding that comes from meeting with other people who ‘really know’ because they have ‘been there’. Self-help groups are a dynamic feature of community life often emerging naturally and continually as people draw strength and support from each other, and in many instances these informal groups develop into formal organisations. They have a unique place and function within the service system, along with professional service organisations. Kurtz (1990), in her review of a decade of research on the self-help movement, suggests two important reasons for cooperation between self-help groups and professionals: effective linkage of clients to a group requires understanding of the group; and self-help groups themselves benefit from the support and credibility offered by professionals.

People need a variety of sources and styles of help from which to choose, and the help provided by self-help groups and professionals is different but complementary. This paper develops a theoretical and practical view of these issues.

Last reviewed: 19/5/24