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Group Therapy Sessions for Addicts

Compare and contrast the effectiveness of group therapy. What elements are particularly helpful for the group? What elements are potentially detrimental to group dynamics?

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The type of addicts best suited for the Self-Evaluation Group are learners who have to abuse drugs to perform an array of tasks as individuals or as a group inside and outside the societal setting. Such addicts have consented to the therapy sessions because of their addiction. In general, SEG is an exceptional approach for motivating students to appreciate and evaluate their successes and potential impediments to accomplishing such progress (Brebender 2004). However, addicts in a Self-Evaluation Group are reluctant to abstain from drugs hence need motivation from the group setting. The Early Recovery Group (ERG) is best suited for organizations in which clients are drug addicts. Such addicts appreciate their repulsive situation and recognize the need to abstain and eventually attain stability. Such participants would only commit to the group for a certain period (usually some months) up to a year after which they withdraw membership. The counselor in conjunction with the Co-Leader holds group meetings in which they accord clients special considerations as per ERG guidelines. Relapse Prevention Group suits addicts who have successfully maintained abstinence. Addicts get a chance to share their ordeal with drugs and substances and keep off issues, which may lead to relapse. In particular, RPG (also known as Advanced Recovery Group) is critical for recuperation and steering clear of any possible relapse in the future (Brebender 2004). Responsible lifestyle and self-control top the agenda of a Relapse Prevention Group.

Group therapy has emerged as an effective tool for two main reasons:

  1. the substance habit is typically maintained by the massive wall of denial of the drug and substance addict.
  2. Addicts who are in the recovery process need strong social support. Group therapy is an effective tool in the provision of much-needed social support. Overall, group therapy encompasses a therapist or an assortment of therapists working concurrently with other inhabitants.

Group therapy is beneficial to the addicts as it facilitates individualized growth. Besides, it allows individuals to recognize and acknowledge the people who are willing and ready to provide support. Individuals in the group acquire counseling services on various aspects of life including social, cultural, and psychological problems (Bartels et al 2011). On the contrary, group therapy is always diverse. Psychologists who have acquired diverse training in theory employ group therapy to resolve a range of psychological problems (Brebender 2004).

The specific elements that are essential for the group include the dynamics of individuals in the group, the hopes, and expectations of new members, and the function of the head (counselor).

Group Dynamics

Typical group therapy should consist of 8-10 members. Besides, group therapy should also take into consideration a diverse mix of gender, social status, ethnicity, and drug of choice. Each group therapy should, however, be cautious about the existence of volatile members who in some instances fail to respond to the pre-established group dynamics. The group should consider its mission and the objectives it seeks to achieve. The group therapy principles are of immense importance as they determine the overall outcomes of any group therapy process.

Expectations of New Members

First, the counselor must meet each participant independently for a brief review of the rules as well as expectations. Under certain circumstances, the leader might ask participants to sign a contract as a way of confirming their willingness to adhere to the attendance policy, respectful interactions with colleagues, and sobriety expectations. Once the members have fully joined after meeting all the terms and conditions of the group, the counselor should allow them to give a brief introduction and history of addiction. This will allow group therapy to establish a common ground. Principles such as the installation of hope, universality, development of techniques for socialization, and imparting information are imperative for all group therapy sessions (Brebender 2004).

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Role of the Leader (Counselor)

The primary role of the counselor is to enhance productive and unbiased interactions among members of the group. The counselor chooses topics for discussion on behalf of members. Such topics must be member-driven. The leader would also play a fundamental role in overcoming looming resistance resulting from absenteeism, complaints, lack of participation, and aggressive members. Unfortunately, certain elements are detrimental to group dynamics. Group dynamics refers to the forces which result from constant interactions of the members of the group. Negative ethnicity, racism, cohesion problems, lack of effective mode of communication, cultural stereotypes, and lack of social integration are harmful to the progress of group therapy. Segregation of members in terms of race or ethnic groups would affect integration and cohesion processes. Lack of universal communication channels and language would eventually create a feeling of alienation and neglect among certain members leading to boredom and apathy. Under extreme conditions, some members withdraw their membership and active participation in the affairs of the group therapy (Rutan et al 2007).

Evaluate the three types of group therapy sessions. For each type of session, speculate on the possible challenges you, as a counselor, would face in each of the settings. What concerns you from a counselor’s perspective when looking at a diverse group of addicts each requiring individualized attention?

The three types of therapy sessions are the Self-Evaluation Group session, Early Recovery Group session, and Advanced Recovery Group session. Every group session is distinct and depends on the intensity of addiction and the capacity of the group to find effective techniques for resting the addiction problem. Even though SEG has consented to the problem of drug addiction, the counselor may still face the enormous challenges of convincing them to abandon using drugs. Although ERGs acknowledge the need to abandon drugs, the counselor would still face the challenge of curbing the external pressure which might influence their habit of abusing drugs in the future. Similarly, the counselor would still face the enormous challenge of keeping the Advanced Group (Repulsive Group) from the abuser (addicts) who constantly interact with members who have stopped abusing those drugs and substances.

The members in each group belong to distinct stages of addiction. The demonstration is a presentation that provides awareness as well as an intellectual understanding of group therapy (Rutan et al 2007). An expert lecture is an official presentation by a single recognized professionally trained expert in that particular field. This professional would share the methodological along with theoretical innovations throughout the talk. Upon completion of the lecture, the professional pundit would then respond to a range of questions and comments from the audience. Questions as well as the comments emanating from the audience (group) must be relevant to the topic of the day. The panel is relatively proper with a thematic presentation focusing on various issues facing the assessment field (Bartels et al 2011). As a counselor, some of the challenges I am likely to face low or poor concentration on the part of the addict. In particular, the demonstration may not go down so well with a section of the audience who may eventually abscond from the session.

My primary concern of the counselor on the subject of addicts seeking individualized attention is the possibility of future integration of such individuals into group therapy. Finally, the unpredictability of the outcomes of individualized sessions is another matter of concern to an ordinary counselor unlike in group therapy where people share ideas and opinions as regards their problems more openly. Some of the challenges I am likely to face may also include low or poor concentration on the part of the addict. In particular, the demonstration may not go down so well with a section of the audience who may eventually abscond from the session.


Bartels, D. M., LeRoy, B., & Caplan, A. L. (2011). Genetic counseling: Ethical challenges and consequences. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

Brabender, V., Smolar, A. I., & Fallon, A. E. (2004). Essentials of Group Therapy. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

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Rutan, J. S., Stone, W. N., & Shay, J. J. (2007). Psychodynamic group psychotherapy. New York: Guilford Press.

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