Studia Informatica Pomerania
Autor: Wojciech Strzelecki, Piotr Pawlak 111
Strony: 111-120
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The role of online supp ort groups in disorders of social and emotional functioning

The main goal of this article is to identify the benefits and dangers posed by the use of online support groups. The theme of the analysis are forums devoted to psychological support in disorders of social and emotional functioning. Undoubtedly benefits of this type of web portals are: access to information, the possibility of an initial self-diagnosis, getting support from people with similar functional difficulties, and basing on someone else’s experience, which significantly improves the reliability of both information and emotional forms of support.
The main dangers are: lack of professional care for this type of group, the total anonymity of the participants, the possibility of hasty self-diagnosis, the belief that the use of online forum may replace the therapeutic effect and the use of psychological tests (protected by the law), which interpretation requires professional preparation. Sample pages analyzed in this article concern Borderline disorders (Borderline Personality Disorder). There are thriving Internet forums here supporting individuals both by providing information on capabilities of help seeking and by sharing their own experiences.
Keywords: Internet forums, support groups, online support groups, Borderline Personality Disorder