Group Therapy Guide Focuses
on Substance Use Treatment
SAMHSA recently unveiled a comprehensive guide on the
use of group therapy in treating substance use disorders.
Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy, SAMHSA's Treatment
Improvement Protocol 41 (TIP 41), emphasizes that group
therapy is effective treatment and is a cost-effective
way to deliver treatment.
A consensus panel of experts developed the publication,
which is designed to aid substance abuse counselors who
use group therapy in the treatment of substance use disorders.
The TIP series is produced by SAMHSA's Center for Substance
Abuse Treatment (CSAT).
The guide includes detailed, state-of-the-art information
about group therapy modalities, techniques, and practices
valuable to supervisors and trainers of counselors as
The consensus panel found that group therapy offers
a number of advantages to participants, including positive
peer support, a reduction in their sense of isolation,
real-life examples of people in recovery, and help from
peers in coping with substance abuse and other life problems.
"Group therapy offers participants a critical pathway
for the hope, support, and encouragement needed to break
free from substance abuse," said SAMHSA Administrator
Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W. "Because of its
effectiveness and economy of scale, group therapy has
gained popularity. The group approach has come to be
regarded as a source of powerful curative forces that
are not always experienced by the client in individual
therapy," he added.
According to TIP 41, group therapy is effective for
several reasons. Group participation engages therapeutic
"forces" such as affiliation, support, gratification,
and peer confrontation. These properties can bond participants
to the culture of recovery. In addition, groups are effective
in treating problems that often accompany addictionincluding
depression, isolation, stigma, and shame.
Group therapy models described in TIP 41 include the
Psycho-educational. Educate clients
about substance abuse.
Skills development. Cultivate the
skills needed to attain and sustain abstinence.
Cognitive-behavioral. Alter thoughts
and actions that lead to substance abuse.
Support. Provide a forum to share
practical information about abstinence and ways to
sustain day-to-day, chemical-free living.
Interpersonal process. Delve into
major developmental issues that contribute to addiction
and can interfere with recovery.
TIP 41 also offers
information on specialized groups that do not fit
neatly into the five-model classification mentioned
above, especially those groups that focus on solving
a single problem.
TIP 41 helps counselors:
Understand why groups work so well in treating substance
abuse and how to tailor group therapy to substance
Weigh considerations before placing a client in a
particular group (e.g., stage of recovery and client
Compare "fixed" and "revolving"
types of therapy groups and understand how to prepare
clients for participation.
Understand stages of treatment.
Group therapy is not equivalent to a 12-step program,
the guide emphasizes. But the two are complementary to
the recovery process.
For more information, visit www.kap.samhsa.gov/products/
Quick Guide for Clinicians
booklet is a pocket companion to the 184-page Treatment
Improvement Protocol (TIP)41Substance
Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy. Based
on TIP 41, this publication offers clinicians concise,
easily accessible information. A glossary of terms
is also included.
To obtain TIP 41 or the Quick
Guide for Clinicians, contact SAMHSA's
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
at P.O. Box 2345, Rockville, MD 20847-2345. Telephone:
1 (800) 729-6686 (English and Spanish) or 1 (800)
You can review the entire TIP series by topic
or by number. To review the list of available TIPs
or to access online links, visit www.kap.samhsa.gov/products/manuals/tips/
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