Group Design – Adults with a Substance Abuse Condition (cont’d)

Selection and Deselection Criteria

The screening questions serve many purposes and are vital to forming an appropriate group. When it comes to the selection of members of a group, “Deselection criteria” is normally emphasized more than selection criteria (Delucia, 2006). The goal of the screening process is to identify group members whose needs and goals line up with the goals of the group (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2010). Another goal of the screening process is to determine if a particular individual should be included in this particular group at this particular time with this particular group leader (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2010).

With the goals of the screening process in mind, the writer developed sixteen questions. First, personal information is gathered. Second, the writer wants confirmation that the individual has admitted that he is a substance abuse addict along with his drug of choice(s). Next, the writer wants confirmation that the individual is planning to stay clean and sober. It is important that group members want recovery. If they do not want recovery, then this is not the right group for them at this moment in time. Additionally, does the individual have any mental health conditions? If they do have mental health conditions, which do they have? Mental health disorders are common amongst substance abuse addicts and it will be important for the group facilitator to know what he is dealing with. The group facilitator also needs to know if an individual is suicidal, homicidal, experiences episodes of rage, or has experienced recent trauma. If so, he is probably not a good fit for this group (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2010). He needs a different level of care than can be provided at the group level. Next, is he in the midst of an extreme crisis? If he is in the midst of an extreme crisis, group counseling is probably not a good fit for him at this very moment in time (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2010). Next, is he highly paranoid or have an extreme case of anxiety? A person with anxiety or extreme paranoia might not be a good fit for a group-counseling environment (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2010). The group facilitator will want to know if an individual has been to treatment for his substance condition. If so, which treatment center? How long was he in treatment? And what was his discharge date? This information will tell more about the social class of the individual, what kind of treatment he was provided, and how severe his substance condition is. Is he in a transitional sober living environment or is he planning on moving into a sober living environment? This will tell if he is in a different environment than he was in when he was actively in his addiction. Depending upon which sober living home he is in, the other members of the household will be in recovery, there will be drug testing, and there will be rules and policies, which need to be followed. If a person is in a transitional sober living home, it usually means that he is more willing to go outside of his comfort zone to change his life. Living in a sober living home is an indication that he is taking the next step towards lifelong recovery. Is he willing to commit to sixteen weeks? The individual must commit to at least sixteen weeks with the group. Sixteen weeks is long enough for the members to build trust and for significant behavioral changes to take place (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2010). The individual must be open, willing, and committed to doing homework when assigned. Work outside of the group is imperative to the group counseling process. Is a person willing to explore difficult issues in his life and is he willing to learn new techniques to handle these situations? This is a gauge of a person’s willingness. Is the individual willing to support other members of the group? This is a group and the members must be supportive of each other to achieve the best possible outcome.

The final step of the screening process will be a one-on-one interview with one of the group counselors. Actually having a conversation with each potential group member is the best way to dig deeper on some of the screening questions, connect, and determine whether or not he might be a good fit for the group.