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Int J Group Psychother. 2000 Jul;50(3):297-314.

Integrating group psychotherapy and 12-step work: a collaborative approach.

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  • 1Fielding Institute, USA.


Group therapists can expect to treat an increasing number of patients who are active in a 12-step program or other addiction-related self-help groups. The value of simultaneous participation in these two modalities has been recognized; 12-step work supports abstinence necessary for the focus on emotional growth in psychotherapy. However, mere simultaneous participation in the two modalities fails to incorporate the benefits of a collaborative relationship where both modalities are used to support both abstinence and emotional growth. The conjoint approach to group and individual treatment is used to (a) argue for the possibility of a collaborative relationship between psychotherapy and a patient's 12-step work, (b) understand the benefits and challenges to collaboration, and (c) provide guidelines for how to work collaboratively with a 12-step program. Illustrations are provided of typical issues raised by this type of collaborative relationship.

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