Group therapy – primary engine of change in treatment

How do we dispel rehab clients’ understandable apprehension and fear when moving from loneliness and isolation to a place of connection and community?
And how do we do this quickly – for time is finite in this setting, perhaps a matter of weeks or even days.
Therefore the goal is to provide a space that holds the new arrival on entrance and speaks to the part of them that seeks healing – a conversation of heart and soul. Thus trust is evoked quickly, defences are dismantled and our new guest finds the freedom to speak without fear – perhaps for the first time.

If we achieve this goal, the patient can begin to entertain the hitherto unimagined possibility of freedom from active addiction – in short, hope can arise where before was only despair.

Therapist Nick Mercer will describe techniques gleaned from experience over many years in rehabs, both residential and non-residential, both prison and community settings – that can assist practitioners in
achieving this goal.

Learning objectives: At the end of this presentation, delegates will be able to:

Impart to clients the importance of feeling welcomed, seen and included (‘I belong therefore I am’ – African saying)
Describe the importance of modelling reverence for the space and its population through mutual commitment to confidentiality, punctuality and respect
Convey the sobering reminder that we work with the doors open – ie, to work authentically, we too will be subject to the amplifying atmosphere of the group, our ghosts will be summoned along with theirs,
so we need to have the resilience, courage and openness to reflect and be questioned by our fellow professionals (What the Greeks called parrhesia – fearless speech).