For some people in recovery, SMART Recovery groups are a valuable alternative or addition to traditional 12-step groups, according to a researcher at Penn State University.
SMART Recovery groups are facilitator-led, structured discussion groups that are closely aligned with counseling techniques. Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous and other traditional 12-step groups, SMART Recovery focuses on self-empowerment instead of surrendering to a higher power, says Deirdre O’Sullivan, PhD, Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education at Penn State.
Dr. O’Sullivan discussed results from a recent study she conducted on SMART Recovery group members and facilitators, at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders annual meeting on September 22.
Of the 3.8 million people who received treatment for substance abuse in the United States in 2011, 2.1 million received treatment exclusively at a peer support group, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Dr. O’Sullivan said receiving help from a peer support group is more important than which support group a person attends. “Extensive and rigorous research findings indicate peer support group attendance enhances remission rates,” she said.
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