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Self-Help Groups

Critique the strengths and weaknesses of self-help groups in terms of their value in the treatment of substance abuse.

Hypothesize what types of clients would be a good match for the group that you researched. What types of clients would no be a good match? Consider age, gender, culture, race, sexuality, religion/spirituality, and the severity of substance abuse. Include other evaluation criteria for differential treatment.

Predict how self-help groups are evolving over time. How can technology be used to supplement and/or replace face-to-face support groups?

Appraise the effect on the group experience when involuntary clients are present. Include the effect to treatment, counseling, and collaboration.

Recommend several ways to overcome resistance. How may technology be used to overcome resistance to treatment? Include collaboration issues involved in the treatment of involuntary clients using technology.

"I think the most problem I have with all of this is the use of collaboration, so if you could explain a bit more with this, that would be great."

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(1) Critique the strengths and weaknesses of self-help groups in terms of their value in the treatment of substance abuse.

The most popular and widely respected self-help group relative to the treatment of substance abuse is Alcohol Anonymous (AA). One of the strengths of AA is that people affiliate with the group, because it is well known; and because it is based on a model in which others feel supported. For example, the 12-step program has been designed to help other fight alcohol abuse, and has been extended to address a variety of problems such as drug abuse, eating disorders, gambling and compulsive sexuality. Further, research shows that individuals join groups because they provide important benefits. For instance, based on the group dynamics of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), individual can share their personal stories and the members who have gone through the program can assist others. Obviously the greatest strength is the support that it provides to others at no cost.

There are however, weaknesses in self-help groups. For instance, taking the substance abuse example, AA strongly operates on religious principles in which some members of the group may not adhere, which may result in the individual not attending the meetings regularly, or dropping out of the group altogether (Sharma & Branscum, 2010). In other instances, some individuals may be reluctant to work in a group for fear of disclosing personal and sensitive information. Some individuals may not be motivated in self-help groups and do not attend meetings or do the required assignments. Additionally, groups operate within their own world of "groupthink" that can lead to members making inaccurate decisions, and forming biased opinions. Groupthink" is "the tendency of group members to close ranks around a decision, assuming that the group can't be wrong" (Baron, Byrne, & Branscombe, 2006, p. 491).

(2) Hypothesize what types of clients would be a good match for the group that you researched. What types of clients would not be a good match? Consider age, gender, culture, race, sexuality, religion/spirituality, and the severity of substance abuse. Include other evaluation criteria for differential treatment.

Statistics are provided by the Center for Disease control (CDC as cited in Schwartz & Smith, 2003) that revealed that 2.6% adolescents experienced a serious medical substance abuse crisis. These statistics support other research (Schwartz $ Smith, 2003) that shows suicide attempts are linked to legal and ethical illicit substance use, multiple substance abuse and alcohol dependence. In addition, social variables such as self and peer values ...

Solution Summary

This solution examine the dynamics of self-help groups and clients; resistance to treatment.

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