December 31, 2015

My Take on Self Help Groups

Self help group (SHG) in technical terms implies a group where people  come together for the purpose of solving their common problems through self-help and mutual help to rise above what they actually are. As simple as it sounds, it actually is. At TISA SHGs in different cities we try and do the same, but the real question is, are people really benefiting from it, as they should (even at say 60-70% efficiencies of the groups).

Why aren't people not able to do so? Aren't stutterers concerned about their speech? The answer is, yes they are. Actually people are concerned, to be precise they are worried about that aspect of life where they get stuck even at trivial questions l like ' What's your name? ' or say ' Where are you from? '. To cope up with the mess of stammering they join SHGs and intend to fight it out with vigour. But is fighting the speech  mechanism (stammering) enough?

I guess it is not!

Lets start over, the post might seem confusing where I am once talking about efficacies of SHG and in the very next sentence I am rebutting my own claims.

Lets ask some trivial questions first and try to answer them honestly.
1)Why do we join SHGs?
2)What are we seeking out of these SHGs?
3)What motivates us to go there every week?

The answer to the first question in most of the cases is, 'Because, I had an interview/presentation lined up in one/two weeks, and I just knew I couldn't hide my stammering and so on..'. In some cases it is the proactive initiation of parents who persuade/force  their sons /daughters to attend the meets. Some of them come out of curiosity when they accidently stumble upon any of the TISA posts mentioning about SHGs. I would say the number of people attending SHGs for the reasons mentioned above would be in  decreasing chronological order with the least ones being the curious types.

Whatever may be the reason, PWS in most of the metropolitans come across SHGs and even attend one or more meetings. But do they help them recover, or say stammer happily. In most of the cases they don't. The answer to why this happens, would be understood  later in this post.

Lets move on to the second question. What we seek in most of the cases is fluency for the immediate presentation /interview. No one seeks to know the cause that triggers their stammering. No one seeks the purpose of life beyond stammering. No one seeks to dig deeper than fluency.

Can that help?
Yeah maybe! But I am not sure to what extent. It might instil some confidence in you to clear that particular interview/presentation but maybe not in the longer run. It gives you an easy escape  out of your speech issues. It doesn't offer you a rock solid solution to build your core.

Now the answer to the third question seems more or less obvious. What motivates most people to attend the meets is, those immediate targets/goals and when those goals are achieved a sense of achievement as well as complacency creeps in them. They tend to compare people with their level of stammering and feel somehow a sense of superiority, thus giving themselves an excuse of not attending meetings. Then there are people who have that 'A lot in my plate syndrome' where they fail to find time for meetings (which they were able to earlier before getting the immediate benefits of SHGs). Then there are ones who just feel they are not that bad to attend every week. Shall I go on more.....?

Its upon you to introspect in which category you fall and decide upon further course of action.

Its very important to not have such immediate targets/goals as the only purpose to come to an SHG. There must be a bigger framework of thought while attending one, otherwise it just becomes an exercise in vain. There must be a goal to identify what you were and what you want to be minus the stammering (whether it is there or not). What we do as stutterers, our whole life is, we try to be that introvert, that shy person, that hot headed person that actually we are not.  We just create them as a failsafe mechanism to escape out of embarrassment of stammering publicly. Do we really need to do that, once we have already met a wonderful group of people who feel the same as you do? Why can't we move out of that veil that we have drawn for the outside world.

Whatever may be the reason but removing that veil my friend, takes time and lots of patience. Your couple of months of attending SHG meets doesn't remove your lifelong habit of escaping out of situations. For me SHG is not just a place to stammer freely. It's a place to find my triggers, comfort zone, my attitude while facing a tricky situation and what not. Its a place to find the Mohit I actually am, which was hid during my years of escaping out by shying out of situations. It is a similar place for you. Its not just about correcting the speech mechanism by learning techniques, its also about the thought process behind that mechanism. Its about that impact which you last upon yourself while stuttering or say talking fluently.

So, finally when I think of summarising this very long post, I would draw your attention to the first paragraph where I talked about the efficiencies  of SHGs not being what it must be. Do you know the answer to it now, that why is it so? I hope you do.

Wish you all a very Happy New Year :)



sachin said...

Honest and bold analysis of a very COMMON problem in our SHGs.
The kind of energies and motivation we bring to SHG - we are rewarded according to that, in the same measure. Thank you Mohit! I suggest many more readers to share their honest feelings. TRUTH never hurts. It only helps - everyone!

Dinesh said...

A must read post for everyone. Wonderful thoughts Mohit..
True, Shg is a place where we find ourselves and our self expression.

Dinesh said...

A must read post for everyone. Wonderful thoughts Mohit..
True, Shg is a place where we find ourselves and our self expression.

Mohit Jaiswal said...

Sachin sir, you always find the right words to summarize the post. What I was able to convey in about 1000 words, you summed it up in two lines. :)

M said...

Well said Sachin Sir, TRUTH NEVER HURTS, IT ALWAYS HELPS. And it is upto us to accept it or to be in a denial..

Mohit, I hope your post would really help PWS who are/arent part of TISA..Nice one!!