Group Therapy Substance Abuse Treatment

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Group therapy (GT) is now a standard format in the field of substance abuse treatment. Indeed, any treatment plan that does not incorporate some form of GT is considered incomplete. Healing is found in sharing, and to have the best chance of recovery an addict needs a safe forum where feedback can be given and received, insight into “interpersonal dynamics” can be gained, and closure to old business and harms can be found among fellows (Corey et al., 2014, p. 3). Counselors should be familiar with the history of how GT has developed and have a fundamental knowledge of how it currently impacts the treatment of substance abuse disorders. Burlingame & Baldwin have divided the history of group therapy into three eras they call the foundational…show more content…
In fact, client participation in group settings, whether facilitated by a professional or by the group itself, is widely held to be a primary element of substance abuse treatment plans (Margolis & Zweben, 2011, p. 173). There is a general agreement in the field of substance abuse treatment that social influence on behavioral change is more powerful than “that which can be achieved by insight or dyadic interaction alone” (p. 173). Some group formats are more effective for addressing substance abuse than others, and some groups are designed exactly for that purpose. There are various groups designed for specific populations, but all GT has the same essential goals of increasing knowledge of self and others, identifying desired lifestyle changes, and providing tools and support for making those changes (Corey et al., 2012, pp. 6-7). Psychoeducational substance abuse prevention groups for high-risk but otherwise well-functioning individuals provide education and a means for developing “cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills through a structured set of procedures within and across group meetings” (p. 8). Abstinence-oriented recovery support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-Step fellowships are now instrumental for relapse prevention in the lives of millions of recovering addicts worldwide. There are also groups that aim for harm reduction rather than abstinence as members teach and support one another in an attempt to achieve moderation of substance consumption which allows for a more manageable and productive lifestyle. Network therapy is a recent innovation that focuses on developing a support system comprised of family members, friends, and others who can guide the addict’s activities toward the achievement of abstinence and treatment goals (Margolis et al., pp.

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