What are Psychoeducational Groups?
Addiction treatment programs, both inpatient and outpatient, utilize several different types of therapy to help individuals recover.
Some common methods are individual therapy, group therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), relapse prevention classes, drug and alcohol education, life skills classes, and psychoeducational groups. So what are psychoeducational groups, and what do they look like? Psychoeducational groups are designed to educate clients about substance abuse and its behavioral, physical (medical), and psychological consequences. Additionally, psychoeducational groups can help motivate individuals to seek addiction treatment. It is common for those who are dealing with a substance abuse issue to deny that they have a problem or to minimize their situation. Once a person comes to terms with exactly how addiction is affecting their life, psychoeducational groups can help them incorporate information that will guide them to make more positive choices in their lives and assist them in maintaining sobriety.
The fundamental characteristics of psychoeducational groups are relatively straightforward.
This type of group actively engages its participants in group discussion. The facilitator will prompt individuals within the group to relate what they are learning to their substance abuse and life situations. As with all forms of group therapy, this provides both a common understanding as well as motivational opportunities. The second principle characteristic is that they are highly structured and often follow a manual or a pre-planned curriculum. Sometimes, when people think of group therapy, they don’t necessarily picture a very formal setting. In psychoeducational therapy groups, it is important and necessary for the group to remain focused and controlled.
Some leading psychoeducational group techniques include fostering an environment that supports participation and discourages passiveness, encouraging individuals to take responsibility for their own learning rather than relying on the facilitator. Participants should be aware of subtle, neuropsychological impairments that are commonplace in the early stage of abstinence.
Psychoeducational groups play an integral role in helping individuals recover from substance abuse and chemical dependency issues, but they are not used as a stand-alone method.
These groups work most effectively in conjunction with other therapy approaches and classes, as part of a comprehensive recovery program.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2005. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 41.) 2 Types of Groups Commonly Used in Substance Abuse Treatment.
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