Supportgroups are essential in day-to-day lives of the people going throughvarious life challenges. They play a fundamental role in supportingpeople to recover from mental challenges that are occasioned byfactors such as drug abuse. Self-help groups are formed to offermutual support in regards to physical, emotional and mental problems.They are mostly composed of the same age, who have the same problemsand need to interact and find long- lasting solutions to theirpredicaments. Some of the groups are led by professionals to provideguidance to the affected individuals. Most of the self-help groupsoperate independently while a few others are part of largerorganizations. Over the past years, the number of self-help groupshas been rising, perhaps to respond to the ever escalating problemsof substance use. Self-help groups are formed to provide care topeople in need, and therefore they are voluntary. Most of them areself-governing, and the members can determine which solutions can beapplied to particular problems.
Oneof the most- recognized self-help group that I have been doingresearch on, is the Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a self-help groupcomprising men and women with shared experiences and who cometogether to assist one another to get solutions to alcoholism menace.It has been in existence since 1935, and have supported many peopletowards rediscovering themselves from alcoholism. It has empoweredthem to become sober and dependable in the society. It is a groupwithout the leadership of any central authority, and the groupmembers make fundamental decisions on their own. The group does notcharge members any fees since it is a non-profit organization.Members are usually encouraged to attend meetings in variouslocalities around the country. As the name of the group suggests,members are anonymous, and the organization undertakes rigorousprocedures to protect them from publicity. The group isself-sustaining implying that it is not affiliated with any religiousor political group.
Improvementof Social Skills
Theself-help groups have been paramount in helping the members towithdraw from substance use and start engaging in social skills asasserted by Sue & Sue (2013). The members have been given aplatform to showcase their other side of life away from drug abuse.The support people get as result of withdrawing from drug abuse isepic, as people tend to interact with others and feel morecomfortable. They virtually forget their predicaments and practiceother social skills once they recover from mental conditionsnecessitated by substance abuse.
Sinceself-help groups give the members a platform to interact and solvetheir problems, they start seeing things from a differentperspective. They start learning from each other on different ways tocope with life challenges. They start understanding about themselvesin terms of strengths and weaknesses. Through interaction withvarious people, it becomes fervently possible for someone to gain aclear insight into the life and start working towards achieving andfulfilling their goals. Moreover, the members are given a chance ofimproving their personalities through self-realization, to becomebetter in life.
MembersGet Experiential Knowledge
Membersof the self-help groups usually gain tremendous knowledge concerningtheir conditions. They also get a platform to obtain information fromother members who have been able to recover from mental illnesses anddrug abuse. In so doing, they can practically apply the informationgiven to deal with their concerns. They also gain knowledge on otherperspectives and be more confident in dealing with various lifeissues by acquiring coping skills.
GivingHopes to the Affected Individuals
Mutualgroups play a significant role in giving addicts hopes to face life.When people see their colleagues recovering and becoming healthier,they take the challenge and work towards improving their lives. Theyalso become positive minded by realizing that no single situation ispermanent. Therefore, by learning from others within the group, theyrenew their hopes for a brighter and glamorous future. They changefor the better aby comparing themselves with others.
Mostof the self-help groups lack proper guidance since professionalinvolvement is not valued. There are many techniques offered bygroup members and which are not professionally ascertained of theireffectiveness. The safety of the mechanisms and techniques used bythe group members to recover from drug abuse may at some point becompromised and destructive (Velasquez, 2016). Due to peer pressure,people have the tendency to follow the ill advice of their colleagueseven when it is not professionally approved. However, engagingprofessionals too much might affect the quality of services offered.
Self-helpgroups are at times dominated by overly aggressive members that wantto take control over their colleagues. Disagreements between groupmembers are rife in most of the said organizations, threatening theexistence of the groups. People are at times denied the chance togive their views by others, thereby making it difficult to have goodrelationships. A person or group that dominates over others can spelldoom for the group, as nothing positive can be agreed upon.
Hypothesisof the Clients That Would Be a Good Match for Alcoholic Anonymous
Thereis no limit on the age of people that can be served in the AlcoholicAnonymous group. The organization serves people from all walks oflife without setting a limit for the most preferred age. However,since the youth between the ages of 31-50 years are the most affectedby substance abuse, they are likely to form a large clientele basefor Alcoholic Anonymous group. Those who are slightly elderly mightnot fit into the group since they can rarely find their peers toshare ideas with.
Theself-self-group serves both men and women who have engaged in alcoholabuse. It does not prefer either of genders, but men are more thanwomen in the group due to their tendencies of uncontrollable alcoholabuse.
Thegroup would be attractive to the people of all cultural backgroundssince it does not compromise anybody`s cultural beliefs. All thegroup intends to do is to assist people to overcome alcoholic abuse.The beliefs of a person are not a factor worth considering in theAlcoholic Anonymous since it covers people across the board.
Thewhites are more likely to surpass other races as clients. This isbecause the organization`s presence is in the countries dominated bywhites. Furthermore, whites are considered to engage more inalcoholic abuse than any other race. Blacks, on the other hand, areless likely to engage in alcoholism and therefore they are morelikely to be very few in this group.
Thegroup would easily accommodate all people affected by alcoholismwithout dwelling too much on their sexual orientation. However, LGBTswould prove to be a challenge as they would compromise the groupethics, especially when members are of the same sex.
Religionhas never been a factor worth giving consideration to most self-helpgroups. Therefore, Alcoholic Anonymous organization would attractall clients across the board without focusing on their religiousaffiliation. Every person from any religion of the world would beserved to the best level possible.
Severityof Substance Use
Thegroup normally attracts those individuals who have reached a pointwhereby the level of alcohol in their system is destructive. Goinginto the future, people who have not been able to desist from alcoholabuse would be the best clients, as the group aims at helping them torecover. However, those whose` alcohol level is not destructive wouldnot need any assistance from the group.
Self-helpgroups have undergone tremendous transformation since theirinception. They started with very few membership and had not laiddown critical structures to ensure that they execute their roles in amanner acceptable to everyone. Most of them have gone throughincomprehensible growth due to the enormous funds they have been ableto solicit through partnerships. Some of these organizations thatstarted with insignificant resources have been able to spreadthroughout the world as a result of proper leadership and increasingnumber of clients.
Itis also evident that they have well-structured leadership models,which were not available during yesteryears. The self-help groupsoperate under well-laid down plans. The self-help groups have beenable to attend to the clients who have serious cases of drug abuse,due to the usage of technology in the recent past (Sun, 2013).Theyhave also been able to cover various groups of people such as youths,women and men, unlike the time they were starting off.
Movingforward, the technology could be an essential aspect of the groups ineasing and automating their functions. Technology would ensure thatthe self-help groups have a wide coverage of the populations aspeople could easily access the services through online platforms. People will no longer need to attend face-to-face meetings to discusstheir agenda. The application of technology would make them interactand discuss matters of concern to them without having to meetphysically. Furthermore, the technology could support the groupmembers by allowing them to get access information from differentparts of the world. People could also share their issues too withothers at any time, and from any location.
Effectof the Group When Involuntary Clients Are Present
Involuntaryclients are those that are coerced to attend and participate inactivities of self-help groups. Treating such members would be achallenging task since they would not effectively participate andcollaborate with the leaders. This would be a massive impediment tothe authority of the group. Engaging involuntary clients to adhere tothe rules given would not be achievable due to the fact that theyfound themselves in the groups without making personal decisions.Therefore, attempting to treat such people would put the authority ofthe group at stake and compromise its functions.
Involuntarymembers would not agree to participate in self-help groups sincetheir attention is focused elsewhere. It would be ostensiblydifficult to counsel them, making voluntary clients to lose hope withthe group. The groups would appear disorganized and less focused withthe inclusion of such members, making it a toll order to achieve theobjectives.
Unwillinggroup clients would not collaborate in doing the activities of thegroup, making it fervently hard or other members to collaborate.Ordinarily, involuntary members would have negative attitudes towardsthe group, leading to the slow execution of the agenda. They wouldalso influence other group members not to participate in theproceedings, thereby disrupting the group.
OvercomingResistance to Treatment
Notgiving in to clients` excuses: counselors should not play victim whendealing with resistant clients. All the reasons given by the clientsshould be assessed so that they are not used as scapegoats.Counselors should take charge and prove to involuntary clients thatthey are in control.
Arguingwith resistant clients just makes them intensify resistant and beuncontrollable. It is critical for the counselors to keep calm andavoid any altercation with the clients to create enough room for themto collaborate as stated by Shulman (2012). Failure to do that wouldonly complicate the situation, making it difficult to offer treatmentto the client.
TreatingResistance with Respect
Tomake the client collaborate, it is necessary for the counselor to bebold enough to abide by the views of the client. Clients under theinfluence of substance fail to comprehend what they say, and it isthe responsibility of the counselor to listen whatever is said andtreat it with the utmost respect.
Roleof Technology in Overcoming Resistance
Informationtechnology can be used to share information between the patient andthe counselor as pertains to treatment. Sharing of informationthrough the gadgets as opposed to one-on-one information sharingcould be paramount on capturing the attention of the client andmotivating them to collaborate. Gadgets such as phones can be used tocommunicate to the client at any time and convince them to accepttreatment.
Inconclusion, self-help groups have played a significant role inproviding care to the people affected by substance use. Thoseaffected and are willing to change their lives should make decisionsto participate in such groups to find permanent solutions. In sodoing, they would make their lives better and dispel the negativenotion that the society has about them.Also, discrimination andprejudice that people have developed towards those affected bysubstance use. The society should also be supportive of the agenda ofself-help groups, to ensure that goals and objectives are achieved.
Shulman,L. (2012). Theskills of helping individuals, families, groups, and communities.Belmont,CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning,
Sue,D. W., & Sue, D. (2013). Counselingthe culturally diverse: Theory and practice.Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
Sun,K. (2013). CorrectionalCounseling: A cognitive growth perspective.Burlington, MA: Ones & Bartlett Learning.
Velasquez,M. M. (2016). Grouptreatment for substance abuse: A stage-of-change therapy manual.New York: The Guilford Press.