Why Group for PTSD, Trauma and Addiction?

This blog post was written by guest blogger, Judy McLaughlin-Ryan. She has been conducting a group for women with issues of trauma, sexual abuse, and addictions for over two decades, in Westwood, California.  For further information please go to judy@asrtherapy.com or contact me directly at jmcr4444@aol.com.

Please note that the opinions presented in the article are that of the author and not necessarily the opinions of RHN. RHN chooses to publish articles and share individual sites to evoke discussion and show all options, ideas and beliefs.

Increased clinical awareness and patient accessibility of group psychotherapy for the treatment of trauma issues and addictive disorders is the focal point of my most recent chapter. Increased interest and research continues to expand in this area, especially with the most recent annual American Group Psychotherapy Association taking place this March of 2012, with group treatment as it’s focus.

A panel of presenters (I am unable to attend) for the March 2012 AGPA conference, will discuss the the topic of our most recent publication coming soon from Routledge Mental Health, Self Experiences in Group, Revisited Affective Attachments, Intersubjective Regulations, and Human Understanding.  This publication has been a collective effort, and describes a variety of approaches and perspectives regarding “Group Treatment”.

I have provided an excerpt from the chapter, which is published in the above manuscript, as a way of encouraging clinicians, and clients who have trauma issues and addictive issues to utilize GROUP as an adjunctive.  The manuscript is available for purchase as of April 2012, through Routledge Mental Health, all rights reserved.

Chapter 10: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Addictive Disorders Effects of Group Interactions on Affect, State, Intimacy, and Isolation

The similarities between the constellation of symptoms of PTSD and AD, supported by research findings, point to the necessity of integrating social support into the treatment. Twelve-step group support and/or psychotherapeutic group support offers reparative experiences in the areas of regulation, attachment, and brain functioning. The individual therapeutic relationship can reinforce and further develop the patient’s exposure to understanding and interpretation of traumatic-based reac- tions, as well as a dyadic regulatory experience. This exposure, along with the group experience, builds an increased internalized experience for securely based attachment patterns. As the psychobiological secure inter- active experiences build and increase, the need for the patient to isolate is likely to decrease. While the group experience helps the patient build secure attachments, it also informs, educates, and interactively demonstrates the balancing of affect and state experiences that move towards ongoing closeness to others. The psychotherapy group, or 12-step group, in which members have had the actual real-life historical personal experience of trauma and addiction in their lives outside of the group, gives group members the unique potential to share with one another an experience-based wisdom and altruistic service to one another. The patient’s development of internalizing the ability to experience closeness to others increases, while the impulse to isolate decreases. The interactive experience further develops affiliative behaviors.

Chapter 10/ do not duplicate without permission of author and publishing company above. Not for reproduction purposes without permission from the author.  Pg Self Experience 01-p.qxd 23/1/12 12:50 Page 179180 J. McLaughlin-Ryan


Elana Clark-Faler
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