Enhancing Substance Abuse Treatment through Group Focused Therapy

Group Focused Therapy

After completing this module, you will be able to do the following:

  • Understand the workings of educations groups.
  • Understand how to run a therapy group.
  • Know the difference between support groups and treatment groups.
  • Understand the Methods of solution-Focused Group Therapy.
  • Know how the treatment plan is driven.
  • Understand how to allow clients to focus on themselves and their goals.
  • Appreciate the benefits from working in a group setting.
  • Know the neutral and curious stance when addressing norms.
  • Understand the group skeleton.


Many people suffering from substance abuse benefit from group focused therapy setting. Module five describes how to apply solution-focused brief therapy to a group treatment modality.

  • Solution Focused Substance Abuse Treatment: Chapter 6
  • Substance Abuse Treatment, Chapter 7.
  • Provide your reflections on the neutral and curious stance when addressing norms.
  • Both textbooks discuss Alcoholics Anonymous in group therapy. What are your thoughts about the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of this widely used program?
  • Discuss how solution focused therapy can be utilized in group setting. Explain the various kinds of groups that exist. Explain the group skeleton. Be sure to address the importance of each step in the group skeleton.
  • Outline how to run a therapy group.
  • Explain how the treatment plan is driven.
  • Discuss how to allow clients to focus on themselves and their goals.

1-2 questions 100 each=200 words

3-6 questions 200 words = 800 words

Total for Order 3 = 1000 words

with 2 references from American Psychological Association  

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services 

Also to be referenced  

9780826195784 Substance Abuse Treatment: Options, Challenges, and Effectiveness 

by Sylvia Mignon MSW PhD 

9780789037237Solution Focused Substance Abuse Treatment 

by Teri Pichot , Thorana S Nelson, et al. 

Sample Solution

Question One

According to Pichot and Smock (2009, Chapter 6), counselors are tasked with
recognizing and preventing factors that can jeopardize the cohesiveness of a group. From a
personal reflection, I believe creating a safe environment in group therapy is necessary so that
clients can feel comfortable and converse openly with me as a counselor to explore possible
solutions. Pichot and Smock (2009, Chapter 6) argue that solution-focused group therapists agree
that the basic supportive and respectful environment is vital to effective client change. When a
client’s behavior is resistive with the group, the counselor should always utilize a neutral or
curious stance in some cases. When taking a curious stance, especially in solution-focused brief
therapy, the counselor should be keen to identify client comments and behavior within a group
setting and act genuinely and respectfully by creating room for private interaction with the client.
On the other hand, I believe a neutral stance is rarely applicable in solution-focused brief therapy
for clients whose substance abuse treatment services have been externally mandated. This is
because they will be angry and frustrated that they have to participate in a group.

Question 2

According to Mignon (2014, Chapter 7) and Pichot and Smock (2009, Chapter 1) state
that Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)was the first structured model of how to address substance
abuse issues, and it was formulated in the 1930s when a group of alcoholics came together out of
desperation to offer support and develop solutions. As a traditional form of therapy, AA has
developed over the years and entails a 12 (Minnesota Model) step process and takes into account
the many factors that contribute to substance abuse while utilizing Engel’s (1977) biopsychological model. There have been debates and arguments as to whether AA is effective or lacks effectiveness. Both textbooks assert that AA was the most used and common treatment for alcoholics back in the day, but with the current solution-focused brief therapy, Pichot and Smock (2009, Chapter 8) suggest that the neutrality aspect in AA allows trust counseling skills and create change. Additionally, Mignon (2014, Chapter 7) outlines several studies that show how AA is effective group therapy in terms is participative nature that has contributed to positive outcomes for clients and can help clients overcome social isolation by addressing issues about relationships and social development skills. Nevertheless, as a form of group therapy, AA can lack effectiveness when dealing with patients that present severe co-occurring diseases.
Therefore, as a solution-focused therapist, it would be advisable to use other approaches. Additionally, the inclusion of spirituality has cultivated a significant meaning in clients’ recovery journey.

Question 3

A brief usually guides Solution-focused therapy. According to Pichot & Smock (2009,
Chapter 6), in a group setting, the basis remains unchanged, and the miracle question sets the
foundation and work are done so that the problem is finally solved. The therapy is done to
various clients by the therapist who maintains the miracle question of each client’s neutrality and
respect. In a solution-focused group setting, treatment is unique in that the groups are target-
driven, there is a focus on client’s goals, and achievements and clients gain from working in
groups. There are various types of groups in solution-focused approaches, including education
groups, therapy groups, support groups, and treatment groups. There are identified steps that act as an outline for undertaking therapy in a group setting. They include: asking introduction
questions to gain familiarity with the clients, identifying a common theme to ensure inclusivity,
then the group leader requests permission to progress to identify any emerging issue. The group
members are then asked miracle questions to determine their goals. Their progress is then scaled,
their views on the theme gathered, and finally, they are assigned homework as the therapist
awaits the feedback on their progress.

Question 4

Therapy groups involve therapists working with several clients at the same time and they
are guided by clients’ need to bring about change in behavior and awareness. The groups can
either be closed (set number of sessions) or open-ended (different sessions). Open-ended therapy
groups are the ones that are commonly used, and they look closely like a microcosm of life
(Edelwich J. & Brodsky A., 1992). To run a therapy group, a high level of skills is required since
many people are involved with different diversities and reasons for seeking therapy. The
therapist has to guarantee effective guidelines and rules, be aware of the various group qualities,
and be mindful of the client’s needs and reasons for seeking therapy. The curriculum-based
approach is used in running these groups because it clearly outlines and defines all the clients’
needs depending on the way the needs are based. This approach has the capability to obtain
desired outputs as per what the clients stated in the miracle question leaving minimal freedom to
decide on what should be done in a certain way to individual therapists. If this is done in
managing and running therapy groups, positive outcomes will be realized.

Question Five

In any treatment plan, clients are viewed as unique in various ways can be by what they
know, their needs, goals and what they seek to obtain from the particular treatment. Pichot &
Smock (2009, Chapter 6) argues that providing various learning information to these clients
should be so that they are only provided with the information they need. The information which
these clients perceive to be fit and it has to be what they need. That way, the clients will not have
to go through several sessions that may turn out to be non-beneficial to them. The therapists,
therefore, should keenly listen to what resources clients need and help them find them. These
resources support the clients achieve the answers to the miracle questions they were asked earlier
on. The therapists are advised to teach the clients how to acquire the necessary resources to
attain their goals rather than surrendering to the urge to give them the resources directly. This
will ensure increased familiarity with the treatment process, understanding what they should do,
and acquiring the necessary skills that they may pass over to others after the treatment is
successful, leading to better outcomes.

Question Six

Enabling clients to focus on their goals is an area of focus in the solution-focused
approach in a group setting. This happens because of the human nature of always willing to help
others (group members) attain their goals while neglecting theirs. This area focuses on ensuring
clients focus on their own goals and need during the whole treatment process. The solution-
focused treatment brief emphasizes helping the clients evaluate their fellow group members
effectively using their behaviors as criteria. The goal is to ensure clients learn to think critically
with the help of the solution-focused brief treatment through the use of three key elements,
namely: use of scale, to measure progress before, within, and after the treatment, use of different
questions to find out whether there is a difference in using substances and not using and lastly relationship questions to determine the clients’ relationship with the people close to them
including family. Through this evaluation, clients can identify their potential, which will help
them achieve their goals. Allowing other group members to evaluate them is key in focusing on
their specific goals and objectives, enabling them to avoid any available drawbacks.


Edelwich J., & Brodsky A. (1992). Group Counseling for the Resistant Client: A Practical Guide to
Group Process. Jossey-Bass.
Mignon, S. I. (2014). Substance Abuse Treatment: Options, Challenges, and Effectiveness. Springer
Publishing Company.
Pichot, T., & Smock, S. A. (2009a). Solution-Focused Substance Abuse Treatment. Routledge: Taylor
and Francis.
Pichot, Teri., & Smock, S. A. (2009b). Solution-focused substance abuse treatment. Routledge.

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Group Focused Therapy

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