Cover Page


Title Page

This book is dedicated to Ron Hood, my husband and friend, who once again has been my steadfast partner through the writing of this book; to Gale, Abby, and Jason Miller, and Tom, Laura, Natalie, and Kate Prow—my family whom I treasure; to my personal counselors and fellow group members who years ago helped me learn how to live better in this world through their loving confrontation of me in a community of support; and to the clients I have had the honor of counseling in addiction groups.


This workbook evolved from a dinner conversation with an experienced addictions counselor years ago who said, “This is a book [a workbook on group counseling] that needs to be written for addiction counselors.” I remembered these words of Jane Albers, whom I respect and care for both personally and professionally. It felt like this book came full circle when she agreed to be a reviewer of it.

I have always drawn on my personal experiences, as a group member in group counseling, to remind me of the importance of a leader providing care, respect, and honesty to clients and creating an atmosphere in a group that is conducive to those factors. I was blessed to have those experiences as a client where group leaders and fellow group members helped me learn, in a supportive community, about my blind and hidden spots that were causing me problems in living.

Since I began working as a mental health professional in 1976, I have been involved in group work. As a counselor, I found it fascinating and powerful and have tried to incorporate it into every professional job I have had. In my Master’s degree program I studied group work beyond classroom assignments, and my doctoral internship was in a counseling center that emphasized group counseling. Much of my counseling in the addictions field has been in group counseling. I have been privileged both personally and professionally to witness the healing power of groups in all of the settings in which I have worked, and specifically, I have seen miracles of change in the lives of addicts and their loved ones as a result of group counseling.

This workbook of techniques has evolved from trainings I have conducted since 1999 with experienced addiction counselors—each participant described one favorite group counseling technique. I have chosen specific exercises from this body of techniques and described them in a concise, almost recipe-like format for the reader. The goal of this book became to have tried-and-true exercises readily available for busy clinicians.

The book is divided into four sections, and the following is a brief summary of each section:


I have had numerous excellent teachers in the counseling field who have been my mentors, supervisors, colleagues, and students. I am deeply grateful for the time and energy each one of you invested in teaching me about group counseling in the area of addictions. Through watching your practice of honesty, openness, and willingness, as you examined your strengths and weaknesses both personally and professionally, I learned and continue to learn how to be a better person in this world and how to be a part of the one human community to which we all belong.

I especially thank the addicted clients and their loved ones who I witnessed being brave in group counseling, daring to be different, and as a result, healing from and learning to live with the wounds of the storylines of their lives. Your courageous stories have taught me how to live and encouraged me to continue to believe in the amazing power of the human spirit and its capacity for change, especially in the context of a community of support. Your stories are the miracles I have witnessed that sustain me personally and professionally and are a wellspring of hope that I am able to pass on to others in my personal life and professional work.

I also want to thank my personal group counselors and fellow group members I crossed paths with years ago who helped me look at my blind and hidden spots as a human being and thereby invited me into a new way of living. Thank you for being a part of saving my life. We had quite an adventure together, and I am grateful to each of you for being my buddies on that journey.

I also want to thank the North Carolina Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Studies Board and its coordinator, Dr. Jim Edmundson, who invited me to be a trainer of group counseling skills, at their winter and summer schools, year after year. These opportunities allowed me to practice what I love (group counseling) with those I respect (addiction counselors), counselors who are working so hard to be a part of saving the lives of addicts and their loved ones who are suffering with the disease of addiction. A special thank you goes to Jane Albers, reviewer of this workbook, who currently serves on the board and kicked off the idea for this workbook over a dinner years ago.

Additionally, I want to thank the people at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., who helped me write this book in so many ways: Marquita Flemming, my editor, who has helped me be the best writer I could be on this book and on two previous books. Marquita’s knowledge, precision, enthusiasm, high expectations, and sustaining support have been gifts to me; I’d also like to thank Sherry Wasserman, Senior Editorial Assistant. There are numerous other employees behind the scenes at Wiley who helped me, and I thank each of you. A special thank you goes to two individuals: Judi Knott in Marketing and Kim Nir in Production. Judi is amazingly bright, hard-working, kind, and thoughtful, continually dedicated to what is best for me, the book, and the readers of the book. Kim is thorough, precise, and delightful to work with on the seemingly endless details that go into producing a book.

I also need to thank my computer teacher, George Dennis, who remains kind, smart, patient, and honest; and Leila Weinstein, another friend and colleague, who assisted me in the compilation of materials required in the writing of this book.

I also thank my friends: Susie Greene, Kathleen Kasprick, Alice Krueger, Pat Mitchell Anderson, Laurie Percival Oates, Rod and Marilou Steinmetz, and Sue Sweeting, each of whom showed me kindness, compassion, and support in the safe havens they provided for me in the writing of this book. I also thank my Saturday-morning coffee-drinking buddies, who continue to believe in me personally and professionally.

I thank the employees of the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center: Jodi Cash (director), Paul Moore (assistant director), Michael Darling (personal trainer), and all the rest of my friends who work there and work out there for being one of the special, significant communities in my life who are a wellspring of hope and laughter to me.

Thank you also to the owners of the Higher Ground Coffee Shoppe in Boone, North Carolina, Matt and Gloria Scott, who let George and I work on the book for hours in their shop and for sharing their delightful personalities and intelligence with me.

And an extra-special thank you to Ron Hood, my husband and best friend, who read every word of every draft of this book and gave up weekend and evening time with me so I could work on the book. In so many ways, I truly could not have written this book without you. My thank you remains the same as it has been in other books I have written: “Thank you, Ron, for being with me on this life path. I love you.”