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Alcoholic Anonymous

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Participation Patterns and Make-up of Group (5 Points)

1. What is the makeup of group? (i. e. genders, age ranges of people present, ethnicity, races, smokers and/or non-smokers present, number of individuals attending, etc.) • This AA group consisted of 6 caucasians, three women and three men. All members were around their 50s except for one of the guys who seem to be on his late 20s.

2. Who does the talking in the group? (I.e. is it mostly the group leader; one particular group member; or other members?) • Most of the talking was done by the group leader. She initiated the meeting by saying a prayer, reading the rules, and having everyone introduce themselves, but other than that all the other members contributed a good amount of talking by sharing their life experiences as they related to alcohol.

3. To whom do the group questions go to: the leader, the group itself, or individual members? • Members of they group shared their life experiences, but no questions were asked and the leader never mentioned anything regarding this. At the end of the meeting one of the group members asked me if I had any questions which he then answered.

4. Do group members who don’t talk much or participate, seem to be interested or not? If not, what do they do instead? • One group member who did not seem interested in the discussion, he did not share anything with the group, he seem distracted and hyperactive. During the discussion the member was checking his cell phone.

A) Communication (6 Points)

1. How clear are the group members in communicating their ideas, values, and/or feelings? Do they appear to understand what others are saying? • All group members were able to communicate effectively. They all shared the same idea that AA has helped them in their recovery and how they will continue to be members of the group. They shared their feelings of how it was to be an alcoholic and how their life’s have changed now that their not.

2. Do members feel free to ask for clarification if they don’t understand something? • One of the group members shared the same idea with the rest of the group of how AA has helped her recover from alcohol, but she seem unable to put her thoughts together and went on to a different topic that didn’t relate to her life experience. The group members seem kind of confused by her story, but didn’t ask for clarification. Therefore, it seems as if they don’t feel comfortable clarifying something that they don’t understand.

3. What non-verbal communication is used? (I.e. hand gestures, head nodding, smiling, etc.) • During the discussion most of the nonverbal communication included head nodding, smiling, and laughing. Hand gesture was also used by some of the group members as they shared their life experiences with the group.

4. Does any of the group members’ body language seem to indicate any underlying emotions such as tension/relaxation, anxiety/comfortable, happiness, fear, discomfort or any other particular emotion? • All group members except for one seem to be very comfortable with each other and open in sharing their life experiences. They all showed happiness and optimism in their life’s and in being members of AA group. Their was a new member in the group who seem uncomfortable in sharing with the group members. He was asked to share, but didn’t have anything to said.

5. When group members express their ideas, do other group members seem to understand and agree with the ideas? Or do they seem to not agree/understand? • All group members share the same idea as how AA has and will continue to help them stay sober. They also agree how important it’s to attend the meetings especially when they feel that they don’t need to go. They all understand and agree with each others ideas as it shows by their nonverbal behavior of nodding.

6. Are there any attempts by any group members to disrespect/disrupt the group? • One of the group members showed no interest in the group, but was not disrespectful or disruptive to the group members.

C) Cohesion and Atmosphere (5 points)

1. Does it (the group) seem to function as a cohesive unit? i. If so, what is the evidence of its functioning as a cohesive group? (I.e. group members calling it “my group” or “our group”) • This group functions as a cohesive unit, they refer to the group as an “our group”. I also notice that at the end of the meeting they all help clean up and they leave the building together.

2. Does the group and its members seem open (or not) to new members and/or visitors? (i.e. is group and its members warm/welcoming vs. cold/hostile) • All group members were very nice and welcoming to the new member and me, they introduced themselves before the meeting was started and ask if we had any questions.

3. Do the leader and/or group members seem to promote a group atmosphere that is: i. Formal (i.e. specific agenda, rules, identified leaders) • The meeting went according the AA format agenda led by the leader. She described the rules and started with a moment of silence followed by the serenity prayer.

4. Can group members’ negative or different points of view be expressed without fear of punishment or other consequences? • On this day, their was no negative or different points of view expressed by the members, therefore I don’t know how they would react to that kind of situation.

D) Group Support (5 points)

1. Do group members tend to identify with and support one another? i. If so, how is this support shown? • Group members show support to one another by listening and by expressing how they can relate to one another. They also show support by participating in the meeting with their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

2. Is there any evidence of how the group chooses to give rewards to its group members? (I.e. tokens, gifts, pictures, key chains, etc.) • During the announcements their were tokens for the members to purchase. They also announce that their would be a celebration for one of the members who had completed 15 yrs of sobriety.

3. Do these rewards seem to be positive or negative influences on the group and/or its members? • In regards to the tokens no one seem to be interested in purchasing any of them, therefore, I think that they don’t cause any negative or positive influence on the members. On the other hand, celebrating a member’s sobriety seem to be positive for the members as it showed by their enthusiasm of attending the celebration. Celebrating encourages other members to continue in the right path and shows that their appreciated and supported.

4. List and define at least 5 of Yalom’s group curative factors. (Yalom’s Curative Factors of Group Treatment, p. 1). • Altruism- opportunity to rise out of one self and help someone else • Universality- demonstration that we are not alone in our misery or our problems • Installation of hope- faith that the treatment mode can and will be effective • Catharsis- opportunity for expression of strong effect • Imparting information- didactic instructions about mental health, mental illness, psychodynamics or whatever else might be the focal problem of the group. • Interpersonal learning- receiving feedback from others and experimenting with new ways of relating. • Direct advice- receiving and giving suggestions for strategies for handling problems

E) Group Styles, Phases, and Roles: (8 points)

1. Define the group terms: • Autocratic- make decisions without consulting their teams. This is considered appropriate when decisions genuinely need to be taken quickly, when there's no need for input, and when team agreement isn't necessary for a successful outcome (Ellis & Hartley, 2009 p, 17). • Democratic - allow the team to provide input before making a decision, although the degree of input can vary from leader to leader. This type of style is important when team agreement matters, but it can be quite difficult to manage when there are lots of different perspectives and ideas (Ellis & Hartley, 2009, p. 19). • Laissez-Faire- don't interfere; they allow the team to make many of the decisions. Typically this happens when the team is highly capable and motivated, and it doesn't need close monitoring or supervision (Ellis & Hartley, 2009, p. 20). i. Which of the above terms would you use to describe the AA group you attended? • The democratic type of leadership was used in the meeting. They all worked as a unit.

2. Define at least 5 group role terms: i. e. dominator, seducer, etc. • Dominator- tries to assert authority or superiority in manipulating the group or certain members (Iowa State University, p. 3). • Blocker- tends to be negative to all ideas, rejecting without beyond reason (Iowa State University, p. 3). • Recognition seeker- seeks in whatever way possible to call attention to himself, his deeds, accomplishments, and/ or problems (Iowa State University, p.2). • Opinion seeker- ask for clarification of the values pertinent to what the group is undertaking or of values involved in a suggestion made or in alternating suggestions(Iowa State University, p. 2). • Information giver- offers facts or generalizations which are authoritative, or relates his own experiences to the group problem (Iowa State University, p. 2). • Elaborator- spells out suggestions in terms of examples, offers a rationale for suggestions and tries to deduce how any idea or suggestion might work out if adopted by the group (Iowa State University, p. 2).

3. List and discuss the phases of the group process • Beginning phase- commences as soon as the group begins to meet. Members introduce themselves, a leader can be selected, the group purpose is discussed, and rules and expectations are reviewed (Videbeck, 2011, p. 57). • The working phase-group characteristics may be seen. Group cohesiveness is a desirable group characteristic. It is evidenced when members value one another’s contributions to the group; members think of themselves as “we” and share responsibility for the work of the group (Videbeck, 2011, p. 57). • The final phase, or termination- occurs before the group disbands. The work of the group is reviewed, with the focus on group accomplishments or growth of the group members or both, depending on the purpose of the group (Videbeck, 2011, p. 57).

4. Which phase was your AA meeting in? • The meeting seem to be in the working phase. All members have establish cohesiveness as it should by them working together and referring to the group as “our” group.

F) Your AA/NA experiences- (6 Points)

1. Whether or not you would recommend AA &/or NA to someone with a chemical dependency problem. If yes, why? If no, why not? • I would definitely recommend AA to anyone who wants to stop drinking. AA helps members by offering support and understanding of their addiction. Members share life experiences and encourage each other to continue recovery.

2. What were the positive things that you liked best about your experience? • What I liked best about this experience was the honesty that the group members shared with one another and their continued desired to attend the meetings even after they been clean for years.

3. What would you change if you were the leader and in charge of the group that you attended? • If I were the leader of the group, I would of encourage the new member to interact with the group. I would of gave a few more words of encouragement, but other than that the leader did a good job at directing the group members and letting everyone interact.


Ellis, J. R., & Hartley, C. L. (2009). Managing and Coordinating Nursing Care (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Iowa State University. Worksheet for Group Member Roles. Retrieved November 12, 2010, from
Videbeck, S.L. (2011). Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing. Neurobiologic Theories and Psychopharmacology. (5th Ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Yalom’s Curative Factors of Group Treatment. Retrieved November 12, 2010, from…...

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