About self-help groups

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The method to self-help groups as invisaged from the start in Listen-to-your-Heart  

The self-help group Listen-to-your-Heart provides an opportunity for you to share your heartfelt predicaments and dilemmas in relation to your personal problems and your dismay in relation to the psychiatric treatments you had to enjure.

In the midst of my own crisis I have discovered that loneliness and isolation is caused by the ongoing rat race of self-enrichment and the effects that we as a nation have when most of our effort is in sustaining a way of living in pursuit of profit and efficiency in corporate life. As a consequence we are not able to make time enough for each other anymore. Those who are not willing and/or able to support this way of living will become marginalised and forgotten about, such as people in distress, people with learning difficulties and older people. Therefore I maintain that the cure for social exclusion is to make time for one another and to start listening to one another as homeopaths really do all the time when making an effort to understand you as an individual client with your highly individualising needs. Homeopathy, a medicine where the client is central stage no matter what you may have to say for yourself, is as long as its existence celebrated in one to one consultations between the homeopath and client. Although this makes homeopathy a very effective medicine, it still is not able to overcome the effects of loneliness and isolation as a triggering and maintaining cause of unwell-being such as in distress – and/or relating physical complaints. That made me discover a method of sound listening suitable for group work and in line with homeopathic prescribing principles based on the golden key to mutual understanding Faith, Hope and Charity.

In Listen-to-your-Heart we listen attentively, for anyone who holds the candle will understand that he/she can speak of his/her own esteem and won’t be interrupted for as long as he/she is speaking. In the meantime the other participants are engaged in an empathetic effort to really understand where he/she is coming from and what else he/she has to say about his/her current predicaments and his/her future perspectives. In doing so, round after round, we will establish sound bonds of friendship and an urge to support one another. This supportive attitude will have immediate effect in case when someone, for instance, becomes overwhelmed with grief, rage or frustration, as he/she will be accompanied outside the room by one of her friends until he/she is able to continue the quest with us. Therefore it is important, especially in the beginning, to apply a buddy system in which in advance of the sessions people are paired in couples to look after one another in cases where it all becomes a bit too much for one of the two. In that way we avoid that too much effort is put in helping just one person and the group will lose much of its desirable effect for the others.

The needs of people taking part will guide us to the next step as solely by sincere listening to one another we have discovered that a lot of mutual understanding is generated and above all a sense of justice that needs to be proclaimed from the roof tops. So generally speaking this means that people will unite in an effort to make the most of it for others as well; others who are in similar positions and as a consequence of not being listened to and being ignored for years need to be helped to understand that they still have a life worthwhile fighting for and that indeed we are there to make that happen by hook or by crook. Naturally the will arises to create better conditions for those outside the group

As a natural consequence of the strong lasting bonds of friendship we have created and the purpose or focus we have found for ourselves as a group, we will persevere our charitable intentions and deeds. With persistence it will only be a matter of time before others will see the difference it makes when only through sincere listening to one another we have developed an esteem for ourselves which enables us to gradually let a ferocious fire of justice be released. But not without Love and care, for without Love we will regret ever starting this exercise for the humble and neglected citizens in our society.

So through sincere listening guided by the golden principles of Faith, Hope and Charity we will establish our faith in this life as it was meant to be. We persevere in Hope as the bonds of friendship and mutual understanding are a source of true joy as we gather our thoughts with regards to our predicament and our needs for justice. Consequently Charity will come about in the form of working towards better conditions for those in distress.

The self-help group for people in distress, Listen-to-your-Heart, has become a blueprint for two other types of self-help groups with the only difference that they serve a different purpose, namely Dilemmas-in-Love where we relate our caring needs to the Faith on a more personal level and Know-what-you-Eat where we support one another in growing and increasing our crops sustainably. Know-what-you-Eat provides our education system with a more open-minded, social integrative and, for mostly, more child centred way of passing on truly vital knowledge for our health, well-being and prosperity for a sustainable future for life on this planet.


Know what you Eat is a self-help group of people who wish to grow and increase their crops of vegetables organically and in a sustainable way. We listen to each other following the principles of Faith, Hope and Charity. As we work away in our own garden, we establish best practise with the intention to discuss the outcomes later in the group and in cooperation with the teachers of the National School to pass it on the the children. In this way we are able to teach the children valuable lessons with regards to growing vegetables organically and at the same time to work drastically towards a sustainable future for the planet and indeed for all humanity. Our focus is phrased in the slogan: Grow together with the children for a better future.

With regard to distributing this knowledge, we feel it is important to let it become a social integrative project with the young and not so young and all the others that would not have a position in this society, such as the people with a learning disability. Also lonely and socially excluded people would be very welcome to help us out. People like those in distress but who are more than willing to, for example, take part in our holiday rota in order to keep the slugs at bay and water the crops if required. In aid of improving the education of children better we wish to have a forum where the representatives of the teaching staff meet with some members of Know-what-you-Eat in which listening to one another such as in our own group is a main priority. This of course means that it will make our lives easier and more pleasant as we have an opportunity to speak our minds with regard to our common efforts. Efforts to work with the children towards a sustainable future for all of us by means of organically growing vegetables. Soon enough careful listening to one another like we do in Know-what-you-Eat will cast off its fruits in the form of a determination with regard the the many decisions that we take with ease. Attentive listening will lead to joyful meetings in a set frequency and better forms of communication as less words are needed to say the same.

Our self-help group Know-what-you-Eat will meet at least once a month in order to sustain the support to one another and to plan for instance outings such as a visit to the Organic Centre, other succesful projects or a befriended Grow-it-Yourself group in the area for the necessary inspiration to do it better. In the end we are a Grow-it-Yourself group that works in tandem with the nationwide G.I.Y. network of which the main office is situated in Waterford city. Grow It Yourself is a nation wide inititiative that promotes growing your own vegatables in a sustainable way with the difference that they do not necasarrily work according to a set procedure such as Faith, Hope and Charity and its many benefits for those involved and helped indeed.

We keep the door wide open to cooperate with other community groups such as the Mens Shed, the Community Employment Scheme or the Gardening Club in order to increase our potential in aid of projects, such as the development of a vegetable garden on the St. Michael’s National School grounds that we have started succesfully in October 2018. Thanks to our method of meeting we have realised a constititution and a focus for our group very quickly. On top of that we have realised The Vegetable garden for the National School to the satisfaction of parents, teachers, community groups and all other guests at our festive opening on June 7th 2019. If you feel like joining us, please contact me or one of the other members that you happen to know.

Dilemmas in Love is a group of carers supporting one another with their heart close to God;knowing that each and every member is genuinely in it to support and to feel supported for the Love of God. This means that we all maintain a relationship with a friend, a family member or a neighbour that is difficult at times in the sence that these relationships may require our utmost effort to continue our care for them or even improve it.

In our group we provide an opportunity for one another to really be heard and so to truly understand the predicament someone is facing in relation to a mother with Alzheimer’s disease, a child who finds it difficult to get on in school or perhaps a daughter who is in an abusive relationship. All these instances of caring leads to a common Christian sense of how to go about the dilemmas in our life and how the teachings from the Bible can be seen as beneficial also in practical situations such as the application of the golden standard: Love the other as you love yourself. In the mean time we are aware that really each of us goes about it in a different language, so to speak. This is, because we have different backgrounds and although Christian we most definitely have a different outlook to life and what it means to be a person living in the increasingly secular 21st century. So from that we concocted that indeed our opinions with regards to passages from the old and new testament may differ but we still aim to support one another in the Name of God. This has a significant aspect to it as we feel that eventhough at times we differ very drastically in our opinions, we are able to respect it or even truly understand why this deviant opinion makes sence from his/her point of view. This, with the understanding that others in the group might be inspired by the confessions of their peer for the same reason why someone else has second thoughts about the effort he/she puts in for the Glory of God. We understand that God has given us a life in order to add something unique and beautiful to the lives of others. We are born to help one another to the best of our ability in this life and so each individual shines some of God’s light for the other. When we start listening in a confidential atmosphere we apply onconditional Love at the same time and we enable one another to open up in order to shine a bit more of His light of a specific colour that only he/she posesses. Therefore it is right to say that Love is anabled when we are opening up and dare to show ourselves a little bit more.

A delicate balance in group dynamics

We feel lost for words at times as we portray ourselves to be careful with the words we use and not to ignore the privacy needs of those outside the group we intent to help. We have our doubts and indeed our regrets but we know that in this group it is safe to deliberate on our burdens and indeed our delemmas. Also we feel that the words we are using to attent to the other participant’s needs to understand what we are talking about are somewhat chosen with an aim to consider vulnarabilities within the group as well. Vulnarabilities may well be in relation to a sudden death in the family or the Faith from a point of view that is untenable at this day and age as our culture has drastically changed from the times of the New- and/or Old Testaments of the Holy Bible. Sensitivities can come about in cases of overly speculative ideas that one holds on too strongly and in extent this may lead to undesirable circumstances that help our efforts to get to know each other better and therefore will increase our open-mindedness to solving problems together at a later stage. So the need to express ourselves needs to be in line with our own genuine experiences as well as with the language provided by the Scriptures of that time. This in it self can be a burden to some of the participants as they have been raised in a different culture to the Irish.Therefore it is worth our while to relief ourselves from these burdens by opening up in relation to self-care as well.

Acts of self-care v.s. the care for the other

When delving into self-care and the aspects connected to this virtue we console ourselves with the knowledge that we have been taugth indeed how to go about it and therefore we are not to blame for the words we use in relation to this aspect of Love for oneself. Therefore we safely may say that God has created us to his “like-ness” and subsequently that His Creation needs all the care it desires in order to help one another better. In this instance one might say that to care for one another is as it where in line with the needs of ultimate self-care as caring for one another really means to Love the other as you Love yourself. This means that we fail to care wholeheartedly as long as we are able to deny genuine needs in line with the Christian Faith. So, that actually emphasis that the more one is turned inward in an attempt to solve the questions of life on his/her own accord without any intervention from someone who he/she revers as his/her supereur, the more sollid the outcome with respect to his/her individual thruth. This does not mean however that we shall not take advise on board from someone else; someone who happened to be on the same path towards salvation through Jesus Christ but nevertheless upholds a standing similar to those taking part in our self-help group Dilemmas-in-Love, namely rather to influence one another than professing an ultimate thruth of some sort. Firm convictions should be taken with a grain of salt as in the end it is just an opinion guided by the fact that it is a very genuine expression of self-belief and indeed in other’s who more or less feel the same with regards to the expressed thoughts and or feelings.

Attentive listening and self-determination

Someone listening wholeheartedly when one speaks of her profound truths of who she is, how she came about this special insight which helps her to understand life better and therefore those people under her care, is of tremendous importance for her own self-determination. This is, because of what we do for someone else in distress, for someone in a bereavement or for a person who feels he can not cope any longer with his mariage, all-determining for our sence of well-being and therefore for our sence of justice in relation to the life we live for others.

Our identity and its sexual colour

Very Christian and humanitairian at the same time could be regarded the insight that we are born to live a life for the other while taking into consideration our need to be complete and to be satisfied as a human-being in its fullest sence. Therefore it is essential to develop one another in Dilemmas-in-Love in such a way that we feel respected and fully justified for who we are in the most literal sense, meaning that our sexual nature should be fully acceptable by the other participants of the group and as such one should feel free to make remarks about his/her efforts to aliviate the needs of Christians who feel different but find it very difficult to commit to this feeling different in public life.