Key Elements of Group
Each of the 12 residential group from the curriculum focuses on one of the key principles from the Conscious Recovery book. Each of the 12 outpatient group from the curriculum focuses on one of the chapters in the book (except Week 1, which is an overview; and Weeks 2 and 3, which cover the Preface and Introduction from the book). All groups will follow the same format, and include most of these components:
Meditation (10 minutes) – We start with a 10-minute meditation at the beginning of group to get people grounded and centered. We find that many clients cannot stay focused for that long in silent meditation, so we often do a guided meditation. We have included a PEMS guided meditation in the back of this manual (see Appendix), or you are welcome to use your own.
Check-In (10 minutes) – Have each client state his or her name and say one thing about the topic for that week. This is to get everyone oriented to the subject and for you to get an idea of what views the clients already have on the topic.
Introduction of Topic and Short Lecture (10 minutes) – There are 4 bullet points which we have identified as the key teaching points for the group. They are taken from each chapter in the book. It’s important to really familiarize yourself with what each of these points covers, as the handout will only give you the key words and phrases. Discuss these key points with the group.
Group Process: Handout (15 minutes) – Review the week’s handout with the clients. Have someone read the excerpt from the chapter then discuss together, or you can always put them into smaller groups to do the reading if it seems appropriate. You will not be covering the questions for journaling and further reflection – these are optional for clients to complete on their own time.
Other Group Processes (generally 5-20 minutes) – These varied group activities and group processes may take several forms, including:
- Brainstorming (10 minutes) – Exploring the topic together as a large group. May involve writing ideas on a board or flip-chart. You will want to have writing materials available for yourself and the clients at all times
- Reading Discussions (Small or Large Group) – Taking an excerpt from the book or a given quote and discussing it in more depth in small groups or together as a large group
- Topic Discussions (Small or Large Group) – Discussing a given topic in greater depth in small groups or together as a large group
- Dyads or Trios – Group members get together in pairs or trios to address different learning styles and keep clients engaged. This is particularly useful for clients who may seem to struggle with sharing in larger groups
- Interactive Processes – Exercises that may involve group activities or more of an internal process, done individually, in dyads, or in the full group
- “Front of Room” Reporting – This is for when clients have been working together in dyads or groups. They choose one person as the representative to report back on their discussion to the large groupWhen there are multiple Group Processes, there may not be enough time to complete all of them; in this case, do not try to rush or force them, simply focus on completing whatever you can. It’s more about depth and quality over quantity.If you run out of things to do or discuss, then you could use the questions for journaling and further reflection from the weekly handout.Closing Processes (10 minutes) – This may take any number of forms, including each group member acknowledging another, each person stating what they learned from the group (perhaps a key “a-ha” or awareness they received), one word to describe how they’re feeling right now, etc.