Group Session Counseling Professional Report Term Paper

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Group Stage of Development

Individual and group dynamics

The meeting which I attended was an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. My very first encounter with the concept of Alcoholics Anonymous meeting was on TV and movies where I could see people attend the meetings in order to rid themselves of their supposed alcohol addiction. The meeting that I attended took place at the AA offices in my city of residence. The meeting was organized to take place from 7:00 PM in the evenings. In this particular day, I was very punctual since I never had any social or professional engagements to hinder me from attending the meeting. The truth is I was a terrible and miserable alcoholic until I joined AA.

Overview of the group

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Alcoholics Anonymous is generally a mutual aid movement that was established in order to help individuals stay sober while helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. The group follows a 12-step program that is aimed at the development of spirituality and character (AA, 2002,p.1). The traditions of the movement recommends that all of the members as well as groups stay away from the full glare of public media while altruistically involved in helping other alcoholics as well as anyone who wishes to quit drinking. The meetings that I attended took place in a local church and in total 20 people were in attendance including myself. Among the 20 people, there were 18 men and 2 women. The average age of the attendees was 40-50 while about 6 people were under the age of 25. About 3 were about 60 years old. Of the 20 people, 17 were white, 2 were Hispanic and 1 was of Asia-American descent.

The meetings usually started with one of the recovering alcoholics narrating their "drunklog," which is basically a story of their drinking days as well as how they hit rock bottom.

Group stage of development

The alcoholic anonymous employs a 12-Step program in order to help the group members develop into sobriety. The 12-step program has the following details to it;

Step 1-Honesty

Term Paper on Group Session Counseling Professional Report Assignment

The first step is important since after several years or months of drinking and being in denial about it, the process of recovery begins the moment one makes an admission of having no control (powerless) over alcohol. One must be honest to their families and other alcoholics about this.

Step 2-Faith

As a spiritual truth, one must first believe that a higher power can operate before it actual begins operating

Step 3-Surrender

One must make a conscious decision of turning everything over to a greater/higher spiritual power.

Step 4-Soul Searching

In the 12-step program, recovery is noted to be a process, not a mere event. This step is about the same.

Step 5- Integrity

This step is probably the most difficult but is noted to provide the best opportunity for growth.

Step 6-Acceptance

This step advocates for the acceptance of one's defects in the exact manner in which they are while becoming willing to let all of them go..

Step 7-Humility

Step 7 has a spiritual focus on humility by letting the members ask higher powers to kindly do the things that cannot be done via self-will as well as determination.

Step 8-Willingness

This steps advocates for the willingness to make amends in the part of those harmed prior to coming into recovery.

Step 9-Forgiveness

Making amends is important albeit difficult for those in recovery. It can however prove to be of great value for the sprit and soul.

Step 10-Maintenance

No one likes admitting to being wrong. It is however necessary for the maintenance of spiritual recovery process.

Step 11-Making Contact

This step is aimed at allowing the recovering alcoholics discover God's plan for them and their life.

Step 12-Service

The 12th step is actually a practice of how the program "works"

This particular day however, the focus of the AA meeting was the 7th Step of the 12-Step program. The 7th step is humility. Anyway I must point out that prior to attending my very first meeting, I expected to meet very nervous and agitated people. I hover realized that the group members treat each other as friends and family with jovial faces of hope. One would not even suspect these people to be addicts since they appeared generally normal and collected.

The meeting that I attended was reminiscent of the scene that I watched in a film title '28 Days'. In the film Gwen was in a rehabilitation center where she attended several meetings. The meeting which I attended just like the one that Gwen attended took place in a circle with individuals facing each other. I realized that unlike in movie where there were outbursts, our meeting was generally calm. Most attendees were generally quiet and they appeared depressed.

One thing that I later found out is that a large number of people in the meeting were ordered by the court to attend the meetings. As for me, It was out of personal initiative and my own volition.

Individual and group dynamics

The Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are generally led by a chairperson and are structured in a manner that various individuals volunteer and then stand before the group in order to tell their story. The person telling the story starts by announcing their name as well as the fact that they are alcoholic. They person then proceeds to provide details of his/her experience with the alcoholism. The purpose of these stories is to provide the audience with emotional as well as catharsis support.

Hester (1998) indicated that even though a lot has been discussed on Alcoholic Anonymous (AA), inadequate empirical data exists on the dynamics of different AA groups. A study by Tonigan et al., (1995) revealed that the differences in the level of group cohesiveness, expressiveness as well as aggressiveness. The study also indicated that there exists differences between groups in regards to the frequency of 12 step discussions. The implication of this is that there exist real differences between the various groups in regards to group dynamics. All groups are therefore not alike.

The implication of this is that if one is to attend an AA meeting, it is prudent to sample a minimum of ten different groups in order to identify the one that best fit. A mere attendance of an AA meeting is not sufficient in ensuring that one stays sober. One must therefore get involved in the given AA group as much as possible (Montgomery et al., 1995). This may be achieved by interacting with the group members.

The AA treatment philosophy

The treatment philosophy at the Alcoholic Anonymous has really brought major changes to the lives and perspectives of several people. The influence of AA membership is not confined to the treatment of alcoholism alone. It however helps in the provision of services for various other support groups such as eating disorder support groups as well as gambling and drug addiction support groups (Gifford 1989; Browne, 1991).

Alcoholic Anonymous provides a person with an environment in which he/she can share experiences as well as establish trust with others. The members of AA can then exchange important stories as well as effectively provide support to each other (Flores,1988).

The feeling of isolation which most alcoholics feel therefore gets reduced by the Alcoholic anonymous group process as pointed out by Talbott (1990).

The other element of AA treatment philosophy is accessibility. AA meetings are designed to be accessible to people from all walks of life. There is no form of screening for AA members and healing process can last as long as is desired by a member. The most important element of the AA program is its ability to aid individuals in their time of crisis. The ideas are based on the original concepts proposed and practiced by Bill Wilson and his partner Bob Smith, two alcoholics who started the AA concept/program. The friendship and support which they gave each other in their moments of stress culminated to AA as it is today (Kurtz,1988).Slaikeu (1990) indicated that AA can effectively assist in the determination if a crisis will result in growth as well as development as opposed to increased level of difficulties in the part of the alcoholic. Alcoholic Anonymous helps individuals who are in distress through the provision of direct support via sponsors. The idea of sponsorship assists the members with the opportunity to realize a continuous and yet personalized attention and help from persons who already have progressed by the application of the program. Fagan (1986) indicated that the employment of sponsors is an important factor in the process of recovery at the initial stages of the program since that is when the greatest assistance is required. Alcoholic Anonymous employs the disease model of alcoholism as indicated by the work of Kurtz (1988)

An alcoholic generally matures over time and then develops a heightened sense of self as well as the ability to sustain a relationship (nurturing) with others as pointed out by Straussner & Spiegel, (1996).

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"Group Session Counseling Professional Report."  October 11, 2011.  Accessed September 27, 2020.