Group Therapy for Beginners

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group therapy for beginners why do you

say that the greatest benefit for

addicts of all kinds is in group therapy

because in ideal circumstances they're

supported and challenged by each other

they learn from each other why can't

they learn from a doctor or from a

counselor and a one-to-one session they

can but it won't give them the full

benefit of group work why not

because any addict ought to be able to

outwit any individual other than another

addict how do you mean I used to be able

to change sides in the middle of a

discussion and my wife wouldn't even

notice what is that achieve it meant

that I could go on proving the black is

white and get away with behavior that

should have been confronted why did you

do that because that's what addicts do

it's like asking someone with the pen

situs why he or she is in pain how do

you mean addicts played psychological

games we justify and rationalize our

behavior we emotionally it often

factually dishonest

we did see distort diverts and delude we

evade and denies simple truths

cassius a mouthful anything else lots

more we blame our childhood upbringing

and our present social or professional

circumstances for all our problems

annual oh yes plentiful we channel our

energy and resources into irrational a

destructive beam but why for heaven's

sake because there happens that's what

addicts doomed by Nature you're insane

yes yes

in this respect I'm insane I do things

that damage me and other people and I

don't see that I'm doing them why don't

you just stop because I made that way

possibly genetically and I have to learn

how to counter that drive how addictive

substances and processes make me feel

good artificially but I've learned how

to survive without them when things

don't go the way I want but why did you

feel bad in the first place oh I can

blame all sorts of people in places and

things for my feelings and for the

behavior they drive me towards

I doesn't make any sense to me it

wouldn't if you're not an addict but it

makes perfect sense to me and to any

other edit but putting you all into a

group together would be disastrous it

can be catastrophic when the person

running the group isn't an addict this

is going worse and worse it gets better

and better you can't a

bullshitter you won't get any of that

self-pity and blaming cramp past me

nowadays I've heard it all before

and done most of in myself 10 you're the

last person I should be running a group

well maybe when other addicts trust me

they know that I'm not going to point

the finger at them blaming them and

shaming them for being like me if other

people in a group therapy session might

be uncomfortable working alongside

addicts and it often happens that the

strongest critics of addicts of any kind

are people who don't want to face up to

their own addictive nature or they may

be angry with an addict in their family

or in their community hard work but

addicts will benefit from hearing those

concerns and criticism they hear them

all the time

but it doesn't change their behavior

so what does turn them around being in a

group only with other addicts of any

kind they would listen to our Eddie's

putting them in a mixed group of people

with other mental health problems such

as superior or hypomania won't help

anyone but surely being with other

addicts will make them worse or better


addicts can learn from each other in

both directions to get worse or get

better in a group therapy session only

with other addicts they learn from each

other how to get better how they can see

each other's denial and they confront

each other's justifications and

rationalizations and all the other

psychological games so you just sit

there and do nothing

well I suppose my job is to guide the

traffic to keep the group moving

constructively how do you do that by not

looking at the person who's speaking i

watch the rest of it that I know where

to go next

now Jemaine I can see from someone's

body language when he or she agrees or

disagrees or is interested or bored or

angry or upset or anything then I can

bring that person in by name or by

indicating in some other way in this way

I can keep it bleep moving even when I

say very little can they run their own

group without needing you at all

analytical psychotherapy groups work on

that principle intend to defend a Devi

silences in some way patients were meant

to develop deeper meaningful significant

insights into themselves a flamer for

some people but I tried it for six

months and it didn't work for me

why not it was too analytical there was

too much $1 G of Terry Pratchett cause I

find the same thing covers the

behavioral therapy it's a mind game

well surely addicts need to see where

their source and beliefs are mistaken

that's true but we acted on their

feelings they're all over the place

which is why we get into so many

difficulties Wow

get off sabbatical sort yourself out get

a job get on in life I fully agree

that's exactly what I say but there's a

lot more that I have to say and do or

better still other addicts in the group

could say do before new Andes then the

group will be able to take those angels

but how can the group know more than you

know as a professional I may know more

than any of them individually but put

together they know more than I do about

lots of things but they wouldn't know

how to guide each other sensibly then

there be anarchy and mayhem I suppose

the one thing I do know better Lord is

how to get clean and sober and stay

clean and sober and happy created and

enthusiastic in the long term but there

must be more to running improvements

simply being a bouncy ball v there is

I've done a huge amount of training all

over the world and I watched other

people run groups in all sorts of ways

and I've learned from them so what else

have you learned and how firstly and

then by making repeated mistakes I try

something out and if it doesn't work I

try something else so what do you finish

up with I find that my own total

abstinence from all mood-altering

substances is essential to enable me to

do this work I have to be an emotionally

empty vest able to resonate so the bank

intense feelings about the people wiser

because addicts have a feeling

not a disorder of form process even

though we can have what AAA calls

stinking thinking what's the difference

we think clearly enough but in some of

our thoughts when completely misguided

we may convince ourselves of something

that simply isn't true such as this icky

addict of any kind are determined to

prove that we don't have problems with

the pictures substances and persistence

whatever else can see that we obviously

do well that is pretty devastating so

how can you say the addicts think

clearly enough our reasoning protesters

are clear but they are directed towards

foreclosed denial not seeing our posters

we really are is our basic

psychopathology but if as it can't seem

straight in that way it surely means

they don't think clearly enough yes

that's the catch and it's the whole

purpose of group therapy through our

denial like a personal fog we don't see

ourselves clearly but we can still see

other people and dare deny their

personal calls

how is our help by seeing the denial of

other addicts and recognizing that we're

like them we can deduce that we must

have similar denial we then come to see

our own justifications and

rationalizations can't individual

counselors if they're addicts themselves

shoulder to other addicts yes they can

but it's less convincing but when a

whole room full of other addicts all say

the same thing so what else happens in a

group that is restaurant to happen

in a one-to-one session a group is more

likely to be able to draw the things of

isolation secrecy than arrogance ice a

tall order yes it is but remember the

Native American saying a single twig

breaks easily but a bundle of twigs is


so how do you achieve that by getting

the group to do the work the instrument

of change is the group itself not the

counselor running it how do you mean a

successfully functioning group is not a

series of one-to-one sessions done in a

group setting after all the whole

purpose of 12-step treatment is to

prepare people the commitment to the

anonymous fellowships the group as a

bundle as a combined power and inside of


so how do you get that to work trainee

pastor's have to learn how to make the

group work how to get everyone involved

and interacting that's the real skill of

a group though if the counselor is doing

the work

it isn't group therapy so what is it

self-indulgence on the part of the couch

for that reason trainees should learn

their basic skills in group before bed

and one-to-one skills so what's the

secret the counselor has to stay

unpredictable there is a Content bury

the place bury the purpose very the

emotional intensity Wow all that yes and

a lot more this is why I don't let

trainee counselors contribute to the

group but their first three months it's

very severe hmm

precisely why not they would get too

tied up in the content and failed to

observe the process they get stuck

looking at the speaker rather than

seeing how what is being said it takes

other members of the group one after

them or some skills such as knowing how

to be enthusiastic and love people in

all their individual quirkiness a

possibly innate if counselors haven't

got those skills they should do

something else now other skills have to

be learned such as dealing with

difficult issues straight away rather

than letting them fester to have the

group session otherwise a few people the

troublemakers can dominate the whole

group now how do you prevent that by

learning how to interrupt politely not

by saying something myself but by

calling the name of one of the other

members of the group that's what keeps

the whole group process moving along why

is that so vital because time is limited

and I have to get everybody involved

everyone has to feel part of the group

by contributing something but that must

be very challenging in a large group of

twenty or more people yes it is that's

why I often use psychodrama techniques

getting people on their feet and

actively involved and playing roles for

each other why is that so important it

brings the whole group to life otherwise

the Jack Nicholson said to a morose

group in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

this is as good as it gets