For this first discussion post, review the following videos of Gabor Mate, Marc Lewis,
and Maia Szalavitz discussing their research on the addictive process. For each
interview, assess and describe your reactions to the material being presented. How
does what is being discussed fit or not fit with your current
ideological/philosophical conceptualization of the addictive process and addiction
recovery? Provide adequate reasoning behind whether or not you agree or disagree
with their arguments. How do your personal, professional, and academic
experiences align with or contradict the arguments being presented?
Discuss how the themes in The House I Live In have shaped addiction
treatment in the United States. Address the following ideas throughout your
Which etiological model(s) best explain how addiction is understood
and treated based on the content of the film?
How might we go about restructuring addiction treatment in light of the
recent systemic shifts to radically transform policing and law
What additional factors need to be considered when working with
clients from marginalized groups based on race, class, ethnicity,
gender, sexual orientation, political orientation, religion, etc.?
Becoming connected to the self and others is an important part of healing. For
some people, connection to a single, secure relationship can provide them the
experience they need to radically transform their own relationship to others and
the self. This is what the basics of attachment theory tell us. For some, the
experience of connection within larger group and community contexts provide
the transformation needed. Process groups and self-help groups (such as AA,
NA, SMART Recovery, etc.) are an example of how we have utilized groups in the
formal and informal treatment of addiction. What are the differences between
these kinds of groups? What are the benefits and drawback of each? What are the
potential therapeutic effects for each kind of group and how does each effect
relate specifically to the treatment of addiction?
For this last discussion post referring to discussion 3, propose a new modality for
treatment based on the information you have learned this semester as well as your
own personal and professional experiences with addiction and/or mental health.
Argue for the efficacy of this treatment modality and identify its limitations. Your
modality can be considered either primary, secondary, or complementary.
Discussion 3 format example
The difference between process groups (therapeutic and educational) and selfhelp groups lies in the goal of the group. Process groups main goal seems to be
more treatment oriented than self-help groups, while self-help groups seem to be
more support-oriented. Each of these groups provide the social support that
some find necessary in the treatment of addictions.
Capuzzi and Stauffer emphasize three types of groups with distinctions mainly
in two categories. These include psychoeducational groups, psychotherapeutic
groups, and self-help groups. Self-help groups differ drastically from
psychoeducational and psychotherapeutic groups (2020). Psychoeducational
groups are groups where the main goal is simply to educate in a structured,
planner manner. These groups may educate about the process of addiction or
even teach new skills to use outside of the group. The structure is very much
emphasized as a strong suit in psychoeducational groups. In psychotherapeutic
groups, individual therapy can be enhanced or replaced, with the added benefit
of new perspective, relatedness, and social support. A main goal of this type of
group is learning new skills and coping mechanisms for the downfalls of
addiction one experiences. These groups are not as structured as
psychoeducational groups, but they allow for flexibility on pertinent, relevant
topics for the members. Self-help groups are slightly different from the other
two groups. The main goal for these groups is relatedness and gaining social
support. There are often groups like these for family members of the addicted
individual as well. Capuzzi and Stauffer emphasize this group's importance on
“reciprocal helping” (2020). The 12-Step groups will mainly fit in this
Psychoeducational and psychotherapeutic are more formal means of addiction
treatment, whereas self-help or mutual-help are more informal means of
treatment. With this formality comes less accessibility and increased costs,
giving some advantage to self-help groups. A major source of controversy
surrounding self-help groups surrounds the importance placed on a higher
power and on abstinence. Recent and ongoing discussion about the efficacy of
harm reduction techniques are faring well compared to the long-standing focus
on abstinence in the treatment of addiction and self-help groups. I personally am
a huge proponent for harm reduction, so this is a valid concern of mine for selfhelp groups. A major concern is that the abstinence piece of self-help groups
discourages some from getting group help due to the low costs and accessibility.
According to McKeganey, harm reduction and abstinence services do not need
to be separate, and it may take a shift in our ideological perspectives on
A study done to test the efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics
Anonymous found that these groups are better as an after-care resource,
although they do show substantial efficacy in remaining abstinence over longperiods of time (Gossop, Stewart, and Marsden, 2008). The accessibility of
these mutual-help groups allows for longer-lasting support, in comparison to
higher costing alternatives. Self-help groups generally also have more members,
paving the way for either more support or less needed attention gained from the
Although each of these group types have their drawbacks, they are all
substantial means of support. Self-help groups may be more effective with
formal treatment prior to membership. Group membership in the treatment of
addictions, regardless of abstinence efficacy, provides much needed social
support and relatedness that is important for addiction recovery.
Capuzzi, D. & Stauffer, M. D. (2020). Foundations of addictions counseling
(4th ed.). Pearson.
Gossop, M., Stewart, D., & Marsden, J. (2008). Attendance at Narcotics
Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, frequency of attendance and
substance use outcomes after residential treatment for drug dependence: a 5year follow-up study. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 103(1), 119–
McKeganey, N. (2011). Abstinence and harm reduction: Can they work
together? The International Journal of Drug Policy, 22(3), 194–
Discussion 4 format example
Based on the information I have learned throughout this semester as well as my
own personal professional experiences with addiction, my modality would be
person-centered, complementary treatments that are self-paced, as to not rush the
person in treatment. I would propose a modality that combines complementary
treatment with prevention research and exposure to trauma because I believe what
someone has gone through has a lot to do with their addiction as learned in the
book “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.”
Person-centered therapy is talk therapy where the client does most of the
talking. I feel like this is the best way to go about addiction, is by having the
individual discuss their struggles rather than throwing a book at them. Therapists
that are person-centered do not judge or try to interpret what the client says, and I
feel like that is an important aspect in helping someone who is struggling with
addiction. It already took them a lot to admit they need therapy so being
judgmental of their past or what they have done will get you nowhere nor will it
help them. Person-centered therapy techniques put an emphasis on the client as an
expert and the therapist lets the client lead. “It posits that people strive toward a
state of self-actualization and therapy can help a client reach self-awareness. It is a
therapist’s job to create the proper surroundings for a client to become a “fully
functioning person”. While some may argue that a person-centered therapist does
not use techniques as much as they develop a therapeutic atmosphere, there are
certain behaviors a therapist must perform to create the optimal environment.”
When it comes down to it, the client is the expert on their own lives; the therapist
is there to be a non-directive equal collaborator, to help them through the struggles
they face. One of the most important aspects of the person-centered therapy
technique is that the therapist must show unconditional positive regard for the
client. They accept and care for their client as they are and accept them for who
they are which is very different from other approaches.
Individuals and treatment professionals look for additional therapeutic
approaches to increase well-being and improve treatment outcomes. These
additional therapeutic approaches have become known as a complementary
treatment or alternative medicine. Complementary treatments are additional to
primary treatments that focus on other aspects such as nutrition, mediation, art, and
ecotherapy whereas primary is strictly based on inpatient and outpatient
programs. I believe complementary would be more efficient than primary
treatment based on what I have learned in this class and what I have experienced in
my own life. If someone replaces a drug or alcohol with healthy food, meditation,
or working out, they will get back to enjoying life without the substance they
desire, and they will have a lesser chance to turn to that drug. Why get high and sit
in your room doing absolutely nothing – wasting the day away – when they can get
a runner’s high or get out and about doing things they love? I feel like addiction
starts or continues to progress in some cases because of general boredom. It is
important to show the client the world does not revolve around their addiction;
they can be happy without it. Complimentary modalities have been defined
as treatment techniques whose goals are to evoke healing by taking into account
the body-mind-spirit connection of every individual.
A form of complementary treatment that I particularly like is Ecotherapy.
“Ecotherapy is an approach that rests on the idea that people have a deep
connection to their environment and to the earth itself. In this same line of
thinking, failing to nurture this connection can take a toll on your well-being,
particularly your mental health.” (Google, 1) I believe Ecotherapy could help
someone who is struggling with addiction in many ways. If they get a craving,
instead of turning to their drug of choice, they turn to exercise or meditation.
Exercise alone can improve sleep and other aspects of physical health in addition
to having a positive impact on mental health. “When you spend time in a natural
environment, you’re more likely to use your senses to experience your
surroundings. Calming sounds, like birds chirping or the rustling of leaves, can
help you detach from traffic, work conflict, and ordinary stressors of everyday
life. Turning your attention toward the scenery can also help you practice focusing
on the present instead of mentally cycling through worrisome thoughts. By
spending more time in nature, you might even unintentionally build a mindfulness
habit.” (Raypole) There is no downside to this complementary form of treatment!
I believe combining person-centered, complementary treatments that go at
the client’s pace factoring in trauma from one’s past, and being well educated in
prevention research would be the best new modality for treatment.
Person Centered Therapy Techniques. teletherapy software.
Google search. (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2021,
Capuzzi, D., & Stauffer, M. D. (2019). Foundations of addictions counseling (4th
ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Maté, G. (2010). In the realm of hungry ghosts: Close encounters with addiction.
Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Raypole, C. (2020, August 31). Ecotherapy and the Healing Power of Nature.
Retrieved April 05, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/mentalhealth/ecotherapy#evidence
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