Encyclopedia > Support group

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Support group

Support groups exist to combat or legitimise conditions or behaviours.

In the case of disease, an identity or a pre-disposition, for example, a support group can provide information, act as a clearing-house for experiences, and serve as a public relations voice for sufferers/members and/or their families.Compare Mensa International and Gay pride, for example.

In the case of alleged ex-cult members or personal addictions, on the other hand, a support group may veer more towards helping those involved to overcome or move "beyond" their condition/experience. In this category one can place Alcoholics Anonymous and other Twelve-step programmes.

Overtly or otherwise, such groups provide social networks and extended help for their members. Compare group dynamics.

Formal support groups may appear as a modern phenomenon, but they supplement traditional fraternal organizations such as Freemasonry in some respects, and may build on certain supportive functions (formerly) carried out in (extended) families.



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