Support Groups - America's New Quest For Community

Some people have asserted the support groups are America's new quest to find community again. Robert Wuthnow warns against this in his book "Sharing the Journey: America's New Quest for Community." He takes a look at how support groups have affected American society and argues that, although support groups provide a warmth and security that holds society together, they can lead to an unhealthy self-absorption and a trivialized sense of what is sacred. He also criticizes that, "the support group movement, while increasing persuasive in numbers, may be at best artificial, contributing more to a narcissistic obsession, with self than to a more responsible society.

The argument with this statement is two fold. First, some people need that emotional support when it is not given to by conventional medicine. The doctor sees the patient and not the person. They treat the symptoms, but they only look out for the body and not the mind. The mind and the emotions have to be treated in order for total healing to begin. Next, narcissistic obsession is natural for someone who is terminally ill or has an addiction. They have to look after their selves before considering community or the greater need for society. If narcissism brings people together, than that should be a good thing. Once people are together, then healing can come together as a group and the need to look at self will disappear. If the treatment works, let it work. Support groups should not be scrutinized by a philosophical means because of some presumed goal for the greater good. Once the individual of a group is self aware and healing, then the group, and more the community, will see benefit from that same healing.

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