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Though the term self-help can refer to any case whereby an individual or a group betters themselves economically, intellectually or emotionally, the connotations of the phrase have come to apply particularly to psychological or psychotherapeutic nostrums, often purveyed through the popular genre of the "self-help" book.

Group and corporate aid for the "seeker" has also moved into the "self-help" marketplace, with LGATs and therapy systems ready with more or less pre-packaged solutions to instruct folk seeking their own individual betterment.


Self-help, in law and the anthropology of law, refers to legal remedies that can be initiated by the aggrieved person alone without filing a lawsuit or obtaining an order from a judge. The creditor who sends out a "repo man" to repossess a vehicle driven by a defaulting debtor has used a self-help remedy in enforcing his lien.

While some measure of self-help is inevitable and necessary, by definition self-help remedies are available without a great deal of due process, and the current tendency of the law is to discourage their use.

See also