Advice to Behavioral Health Clinicians: Helping Men Transition Into Mutual-Help Groups

  • Take time to review with the client where and when the most convenient meetings for the client to attend are held, as well as what type of meetings are available for him.
  • Do not force a client to attend a mutual-help group in which he does not feel comfortable; the behavioral health clinician should also be able to suggest other possibilities if one type of group is not working for the client.
  • A client may be hesitant to attend a meeting where spiritual principles may be discussed (as in a 12-Step group); in such cases, the behavioral health counselor can encourage the client to explore, with other group members, the meaning of spirituality as expressed in the program.
  • Help clients prepare for their first meeting by discussing concerns the client has about attending.
  • In most areas, behavioral health counselors can contact the local AA Intergroup (a regional organizing body) to bring AA orientation meetings to the treatment facility, if desired, or arrange for group members to accompany new clients to their first meeting.
  • Each treatment facility should at least have a current meeting list of 12-Step meetings that focus on alcohol and drug use. Behavioral health clinicians are advised to attend both 12-Step and other mutual-help meetings in their area to learn about such groups and to better understand the recovery stories of their clients and others.
  • The general public may attend any AA meetings listed as open. Closed meetings are reserved for those who have a desire to quit drinking.
  • Men with co-occurring disorders may feel more comfortable in meetings designed specifically for this population (discussed in greater detail later in this chapter).

From: 5, Treatment Modalities and Settings

Cover of Addressing the Specific Behavioral Health Needs of Men
Addressing the Specific Behavioral Health Needs of Men.
Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 56.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (US).

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