Aim: The increasing prevalence of chronic conditions and impairments in the population is putting new demands on health and rehabilitation services. Research on self-help groups suggest that participation in these groups might have a positive impact on people who are struggling with chronic illnesses or disabil- ities. In this study, we explore person-centred support in which participants in self-help groups are under- going rehabilitation to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to handle life’s challenges.
Method: The design is exploratory, analysing data from informant interviews and focus groups (a total of 32 participants) using a Grounded Theory inspired approach to analyse. The participants were rehabilita- tion clients aged between 20 and 60 years; eight were men and twenty-six were women.
Results: Three main categories emerged as being important self-help processes that were likely to pro- mote positive rehabilitation outcomes: (1) Learning and practicing safely, (2) A refuge from expectations, (3) Internal processes that accentuate the positives.
Conclusion: Peer support delivered through the structured self-help environment can facilitate the devel- opment of new self-awareness, promote acceptance and adjustment, facilitate the establishment of new skills and enable transfer of learning to new environments, including the workplace.