Group Therapy for Addiction Levy Family: Sessions 1-7
When selecting a psychotherapeutic approach for a client, you must consider the unique needs and characteristics of that particular client. The same is true when selecting a psychotherapeutic approach for groups. Not every approach is appropriate for every group, and the group’s unique needs and characteristics must be considered. For this Assignment, you examine psychotherapeutic approaches to group therapy for addiction.
- Review this week’s Learning Resources and reflect on the insights they provide on group therapy for addiction.
- View the media, Levy Family: Sessions 1-7, and consider the psychotherapeutic approaches being used.
In a 2- to 3-page paper, address the following:
- Identify the psychotherapeutic approach that the group facilitator is using, and explain why she might be using this approach.
- Determine whether or not you would use the same psychotherapeutic approach if you were the counselor facilitating this group, and justify your decision.
- Identify an alternative approach to group therapy for addiction, and explain why it is an appropriate option.
- Support your position with evidence-based literature.
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Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Group Therapy for Addiction – Levy Family: Sessions 1-7
Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Group Therapy for Addiction
Over the past decade, medical pundits and healthcare policymakers in the United States have identified substance abuse as one of the most overlooked public health problems today. According to the Happy People Consortium (2020), approximately 22 million Americans struggle with a form of substance abuse and a considerable section of this population remaining unaware of their drug or alcohol dependence. Military veterans, formerly deployed to conflict zones and consequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are among a fragment of society prone to developing substance abuse disorders to cope with negative recollections (Boudreaux & Murdoch, 2019).
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Such efforts aim to provide temporary respite and as an escape from recurrent flashbacks and memories. Additionally, most military veterans often grapple with strained relationships with spouses and close family members as they attempt to adjust to civilian life. The video therapy session resource titled “Levy Family: Sessions 1-7″ explores one such scenario and the most appropriate intervention. After three military tours in Afghanistan and witnessing the death of his platoon Sergeant, Jake Levy returned home a changed man. The harrowing flashbacks, inadvertently, force him to turn alcohol as the idyllic remedy. Jake’s wife intervenes, steering him towards a helpful social worker who recommends exposure therapy for PTSD patients.
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Psychotherapeutic Approach Used
Jake’s social worker proposes exposure therapy as a novel and ideal therapy to address his apparent alcohol dependence. The rationale behind this choice is based on the idea that Jake’s excessive drinking is directly tied to his PTSD. Exposure therapy involves introducing patients to specific sources of their anxiety to address their deep-seated fears and apprehensions (Foa et al., 2019, p. 91). It is worth noting that therapists should always consider the patient’s wellbeing before proposing exposure therapy as an ideal intervention. Therapists must, therefore, remain cognizant of exposure limits to avert a future scenario where therapy sessions may causes irreparable psychological harm.
Exposure was selected as an ideal method to guide the patient through recovery while sidestepping fear-avoidance. Jake is still dogged by the memories of the fateful day when belligerent Afghan insurgents planted a roadside bomb in their usual reconnaissance trail, mutilating and killing the Platoon Sergeant. He now exhibits “survivor’s guilt”, evident in recurrent thoughts centered on questions as to why his squad Humvee missed the roadside bomb triggered by the second armored vehicle in the convoy. Jake also blames himself for his inability to prevent this tragedy and his Sergeant’s suffering. He admits struggling to cope with intrusive memories of his platoon Sergeant’s torso sprawled in a blast crater. Jake’s solution to this challenge now includes excessive drinking, which seems to have created a rift within his marriage. After exposure to stressful stimuli, Jake was introduced to a group therapy session with former service members struggling with similar challenges and a source of encouragement.
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Whether to Apply a Similar Psychotherapeutic Approach
PTSD is, arguably, one of the most complicated psychiatric problems confronting healthcare practitioners today. According to Gidron (2020), fear-avoidance occupies a considerable portion of the psyche among PTSD patients and the main reason it is regarded as a key area of focus during psychotherapeutic interventions (p. 878). Addressing fear-avoidance often results in patients’ emboldening by their respective therapists to confront stressful stimuli linked to PTSD and ultimately triumph. Therefore, the relative efficacy of this method is why I would also have applied it to treat Jake’s PTSD. Addressing Jake’s addiction sooner than later should take precedence, given he expects a newborn child in the near future. Facing his fears will allow him to make positive life changes, chief among them being his alcohol cessation. Additionally, exposure therapy remains a suitable choice since patients are more likely to become acutely aware of their influence, ultimately wielding it to transform their lives for the better. Therefore, exposure therapy is likely to introduce positive outcomes for PTSD patients through systemic desensitization and confronting stimuli associated with a stressful period.
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Alternative Approaches to Group Therapy for Addiction
Individuals diagnosed with PTSD and substance abuse archetypally benefit greatly from a group setting when aspiring to address respective disorders. Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT) also serves as an efficient alternative approach to group therapy for PTSD patients with substance abuse issues (Treadwell et al., 2016). CBGT functions through an elaborate mechanism that seeks to transform negative thought patterns among individuals suffering from a wide spectrum of psychiatric disorders. Participants are strategically positioned within a group setting to challenge them to adopt alternative options when confronted with a similar challenge (Fehr, 2016). In Jake’s case, CBGT would have helped him become aware of negative thought patterns and his excessive consumption of alcohol as detrimental to his wellbeing and relationships with others around him.
Substance abuse is increasingly becoming an area of concern for policy makers particularly due to its disproportionate impact on military veterans. The therapy session video resource titled “Levy Family: Sessions 1-7″ follows an Afghan veteran’s life, suffering from PTSD and substance abuse. Jake’s social worker recommends exposure therapy to identify the core of his most recent disturbances, resulting in normal daily functioning. However, Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT) can also be used as an alternative intervention focused on removing cognitive distortions, reducing severe anxiety and substance abuse symptoms.
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