Autonomous groups of individuals who share a common problem or concern, either directly or through their partners and families, who meet together on a voluntary basis, either in-person, by telephone or via the Internet, to fulfill a need, overcome a disability or cope with a crisis. Members of mutual support groups share their experiences, strengths and hopes and rely on one another for emotional support, information and resources. Included are professionally-facilitated groups, faith-based and secular 12-step models with or without professional participation, groups that use a set of guidelines prepared by a national organization or headquarters, and groups that have no professional participation and/or no specifically-structured format.
Programs that specialize in providing treatment services which represent a particular theoretical orientation or incorporate specialized techniques, methods or practices for people who have mental, emotional or social problems.
Programs that modify the way their therapeutic sessions are structured in order to best meet the individual needs of people who have mental, emotional or social problems or are having difficulty coping with a particular life situation. Included are programs that offer individual, group, family or conjoint counselling, peer counselling, helpline counselling or counselling via the Internet; or which provide self-help materials that are intended to be used in lieu of in-person counselling or other forms of treatment.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.