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Alcoholics Anonymous Observation and Group Therapy Essay

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Brief Description of the Group Observed

The group that I observed comprised of alcoholics who were members of Alcoholic Anonymous. These alcoholics were clients at the local rehabilitation center where they received psychotherapeutic and medical treatments. Alcoholics usually meet weekly on Wednesdays to receive counseling services and review their progress in line with the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. On the day of visitation, the group constituted of 10 alcoholics who were mainly male students from the college. Specifically, the group had seven males and three females who participated actively in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The members of the group were young adults because their ages ranged between 20 and 25 years. Owing to the alcoholism, members struggled to lead ordinary lives because their friends and classmates perceived them as social outcasts, making them endure shame and stigma in college. Moreover, these members suffered from depression that compelled them to indulge in drinking while sustaining suicidal feelings. Leaders of the group apply the program of Alcoholics Anonymous to elicit promising psychological, spiritual, and emotional changes, which are essential in supporting abstinence from alcohol. Members happily attend weekly meetings and therapeutic sessions for they have found them enriching and beneficial to the process of addiction recovery.

Psychotherapeutic Techniques

The exploration of the therapeutic process shows that the group undergoes the cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). In adherence to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, a psychotherapist utilizes CBT to change cognitions, regulate emotions, and transform behaviors of alcoholics. CBT aims to empower alcoholics to identify predisposing situations, overcome compelling stressors, and cope with problematic behaviors (Kelly, Humphreys, & Ferri, 2017). Usually, the interaction between emotions, thoughts, and behaviors play a central role in behavioral change. Disseminated principles and concepts highlight the theory of CBT employed in the group. CBT recognizes alcoholism as a behavioral impairment that limits the ability of an individual to abstain from drinking (Kelly et al., 2017). To overcome addiction, group members have to acknowledge that they require assistance from others and adopt a positive belief system. Mindfulness meditation enables alcoholics to commit to the therapeutic process and transform their lives. Since alcoholism thrives in secrecy and isolation, regular meetings of the group allow members to share difficult behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. Mindfulness meditation facilitates the review of aberrant behaviors and analysis of damages on personal, professional, and societal facets. The use of meditation techniques and behavioral changes are integral in creating and developing a positive belief system that overwhelms the urge for addiction.

Importance of the Group

If I had the same problem of alcoholism, I would have found this group helpful because it empowers alcoholics to manage challenging passions, behaviors, and beliefs. The examination of therapeutic techniques employed in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous demonstrates that they are significant in guiding and helping alcoholics to control and cope with alcoholism. According to Marcovitz, Cristello, and Kelly (2017), Alcoholics Anonymous offers a comprehensive framework and process that enhances the usefulness of therapeutic interventions. In this case, CBT expertly fits into the program of Alcoholics Anonymous since the group exploits and applies various principles and concepts. As alcoholism flourishes in isolation and secrecy, therapeutic group sessions permit alcoholics to explore and share their experiences (Wolgensinger, 2015). Additionally, the use of mindfulness meditation and the adoption of a positive belief system boost the ability of alcoholics to coping with predisposing behaviors.

Responses to Peers

Response to Peer 1: Christopher Court

The analysis of observations we have made reveals some similarities and differences in the CBT technique employed in the treatment of group members. Your group (LGBTQ) comprised of three clients, namely, transgender, lesbian, and gay, who experienced similar social and psychological challenges. In contrast, my group was composed of seven males and three females who are students in the college. The apparent differences in demographic attributes of members of each group reflect the dynamic nature of their psychotherapeutic needs. In your group, it is apparent that psychotherapists incorporated CBT into the treatment regimen by using mindfulness exercises as a means of committing members to the therapy. Mindfulness exercises are dependable in alleviating depression and anxiety because they cause a quick and enduring change in behavior (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2018). Shame-attacking exercises liberated members and improved their ability to express sexual identities. In the same manner, my group applied mindfulness to promote the engagement of members in therapy and adopt a positive belief system.

In contrast, my group utilized mindfulness meditation in enabling alcoholics to participate actively in the therapeutic process. Essentially, mindfulness meditation is an intensive form of meditation aimed at improving the concentration of the mind to the present moment, relieving stress, and exciting cognitions (Corey et al., 2018). As mindfulness exercise is quick and easy to perform, it is appropriate for your group because they have unique social dynamics. Contrastingly, mindfulness meditation fitted my group because it is slow and intensive to execute. Although forms of CBT applied to LGBTQ members and alcoholics are different, they are effective in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and nervousness.

Response to Peer 2: Tania Lynn

Observations made on your group of transgender and mine of alcoholics showed some differences and similarities on the issue of the therapeutic process. One of the significant differences is evident in the demographic characteristics of clients. While your group composed of young individuals aged above 60 years, my group of alcoholics had students aged between 20 and 25 years. Differences in age and psychiatric needs explain varied therapeutic approaches employed in the treatment of members. Individuals in your group exhibited depression, trauma, and anxiety associated with sexual orientation (Lerner & Robles, 2017). In contrast, members of my group depicted depression, anxiety, and social stigma related to alcoholism. Another apparent difference is that your group focused on hormone therapy rather than psychotherapy, which is useful and reliable in the treatment of depression and trauma. Comparatively, the group of alcoholics employed Alcoholics Anonymous and CBT in empowering alcoholics to manage addiction.

The similarity between the two groups is that individuals struggle to accept their debilitating conditions because they have limited powers to influence and cause favorable behavioral changes. The problem of the two groups, transgender individuals, and alcoholics, lies in the psychological and social spheres. In the psychological aspect, individuals strive to understand their conditions of sexual orientation and alcoholism in groups of transgender and alcoholics respectively. From the social perspective, individuals in both groups aim to achieve social acceptance in the society that perceives them as outcasts with anomalies in their behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. Therefore, both therapies sought to promote the expression of feelings and beliefs and identify with diverse social groups of interests.


Corey, M. S., Corey, G., & Corey, C. (2018). Groups: Process and practice (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole publishing company.

Kelly, J. F., Humphreys, K., & Ferri, M. (2017). Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs for alcohol use disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 1(11), 1-12. Web.

Lerner, J., & Robles, G. (2017). Perceived barriers and facilitators to health care utilization in the United States for transgender people: A review of recent literature. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 28(1), 127-152.

Marcovitz, D., Cristello, J. V., & Kelly, J. F. (2017). Alcoholics Anonymous and other mutual help organization: Impact of a 45-minute didactic for primary care and categorical internal medicine. Substance Abuse, 38(2), 183-190.

Wolgensinger, L. (2015). Cognitive behavioral group therapy for anxiety: Recent developments. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 17(3), 347-351.

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