David H. Ebaugh
Addiction Therapy Group

Group Operating Issues:

We at NEW PERSPECTIVES have found that group therapy is most effective when group members adopt the following guidelines while in treatment.

1. Sobriety is one of the main goals of addiction treatment.  Participants are asked to remain free from all mood altering chemicals and/or behaviors.  Relapse is viewed as a part of recovery.  If relapse occurs, it is expected that participants will be honest and report their behavior at the next group session.  Participants who come to group under the influence will be asked to leave and return the following week sober. 

2. It is required that group members receiving addictions treatment commit themselves to a therapeutic process of at least 6 consecutive months of sobriety. 

3. Participants are expected to attend all group therapy sessions unless they are out of town.  Should it become necessary to be absent, please let the group know one week in advance.  Regular attendance and punctuality are vital factors and forewarning spares the group anxiety about absent members.  If group members get sick and need to be absent from group, they are required to call the counselor prior to the group meeting so that the message can be conveyed to the group. 

4. As an adjunct to therapy, all participants are required to attend self-help support groups such as AA/NA/OA/SA etc. on a weekly basis.  During the first weeks of treatment support group attendance is required on a more frequent basis, i.e., 3-4 times per week. 

5. Smoking is not allowed in the office building at NEW PERSPECTIVES.  Please extinguish all smoking materials before entering. 

6. Confidentiality is our most important group requirement and must be strictly followed by ALL.  WHAT IS SAID IN GROUP MUST STAY IN GROUP.  There are no exceptions.

7. Contact between group members outside the group is not forbidden, but should it occur, it is necessary that the content of your contact be brought back into the group.  Sub-grouping is dangerous to the welfare of the whole group and must always be recognized and dealt with by all concerned.

8. Physical violence and verbal threats of abuse are considered counter-productive to the therapeutic process and will not be tolerated.

9. All group participants are required to meet with the counselor individually, once per week, to discuss treatment progress and any necessary treatment plan revisions. 

10. All group participants are required to provide and pay for a urine or breathalyzer specimen whenever requested.  Failure to provide a specimen will be viewed as a positive.  Depending on your insurance coverage, advanced payment for laboratory tests may be necessary.

11. Group participants electing to end treatment are required to give at least two weeks notice to the group prior to leaving the group.


1. Group therapy works on the assumption that healing occurs through the following processes: hope for the future, sharing information, learning  about interpersonal relationships, understanding  you are not alone, receiving and giving to others, and having a safe place to express  feelings.

2. The therapy group is a special social microcosm where honest, interpersonal exploration
vis-a-via the other members is not only permitted but encouraged.  If people are conflicted in the way they relate to others, then a group situation which encourages honest, interpersonal relations can provide them with a clear opportunity to learn many valuable things about themselves.

3. Working on one’s personality, character flaws and ways of relating is not easy and in fact is potentially very stressful and painful.  Every member must understand that group therapy may involve this pain as a necessary condition for positive results.

4. It is necessary that members be honest and direct with their feelings in the group at the moment, especially feelings toward other group members and the therapists.  In many ways this can be regarded as the core of group therapy.  It comes with developing trust in the group.

5. Revealing intimate aspects of oneself is not mandatory; a forced confessional is not asked for.  But members do need to share their difficulties with the group if other members and the therapists are to be able to provide help.

6. A basic aim of the group is personal change.  Since behaviors, attitudes and beliefs have been years in the making, it is important to recognize that the process of change will also take time. 

7. Group therapy provides a forum for risk-taking and trying out new types of behavior.  For example, speaking assertively or receiving feedback without defensiveness.  It is important that members recognize that this is probably the safest medium in which they can experiment with change of attitude and action.  The group can tolerate this sort of experimentation and in fact provide feedback to the member about its merit.  The experimentation and the safety necessary for it can only develop if members agree to return each week to examine and work through difficulties that arise.


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