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Thinking about Self-Help, and how and why organisations like The National Eczema Society (UK) are so effective, highlights the importance of teamwork. When Samuel Smiles (pictured above) published Self Help in 1859, he extolled the virtues of personal application and diligence:
"Help from without is often enfeebling in its effects, but help from within invariably invigorates."
The story of the National Eczema Society began with the enterprise and energy of one individual mother Christine Orton, whose report in the UK Guardian newspaper on May 7, 1975 told "the story of her eight-year-old son who, like thousands of others, suffers the agonies of eczema". In response to her comment: "Perhaps we should form a society for sufferers and their relatives", there were hundreds of letters written in supporting her proposal. A year later the same newspaper reported "the soothing success story of the campaign that started from scratch", and the launch in May 1976 of the UK National Eczema Society.
Returning to Samuel Smiles, it is evident that "help from within" energizes not only the individual but others too, and as someone has suggested, "TEAM" means Together Everyone Achieves More!
The collaborative work and mutual support that self-help organisations achieve and provide is however to be seen as complementary and not alternative to professional help. Indeed, the combination of patients experience and practitioners expertise can be especially invigorating - for all concerned. More teamwork.
Enough to make Samuel smile...