Group Cognitive Therapy for Addictions

Amy Wenzel, Bruce S. Liese, Aaron T. Beck, and Dara G. Friedman-Wheeler

Hardcovere-bookprint + e-book
July 1, 2012
ISBN 9781462505494
Price: $43.00 $30.10
274 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
July 27, 2012
ePub ?
Price: $43.00 $30.10
274 Pages
print + e-book
Hardcover + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $86.00 $47.30
274 Pages

This pragmatic guide — from a team of experts including cognitive therapy originator Aaron T. Beck — describes how to implement proven cognitive and behavioral addiction treatment strategies in a group format. It provides a flexible framework for conducting ongoing therapy groups that are open to clients with any addictive behavior problem, at any stage of recovery. Practical ideas are presented for optimizing group processes and helping clients build essential skills for coping and relapse prevention. Grounded in decades of research, the book features rich case examples and reproducible clinical tools that can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8½" x 11" size.

“Finally, someone has been able to present an addictions treatment model without debating the disease- or harm reduction models and without arguing over the effectiveness of twelve-step groups, reality therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or existential, psychodynamic, or psychoanalytic approaches. In promoting the cognitive therapy addictions group (CTAG) model, the authors have artfully provided a well-explained text, divided into three sections, that details the particulars of CBT and the nuances of applying CBT to addiction groups....The flexibility of this model lies within the group process itself. By using a variety of interventions, specific group tasks, and interpersonal dialogue, clinicians and participants join in creating a unique group dynamic that addresses the objectives of addiction treatment in an active and meaningful way. Group Cognitive Therapy for Addictions will appeal to a wide range of mental health professionals-rookies and veterans alike. Clinicians new to group work with addictions would greatly benefit from the clarity in which the CTAG model is presented, including useful diagrams, written homework assignments, and group closure strategies; an 'Old Sock', like myself, can appreciate the authors' fresh perspective of cognitive behavioral addictions treatment and will find this book a useful resource for teaching and supervising others.”


“Takes readers on a comprehensive trip through every aspect of a cognitive group model for addictions, including cognitive theory, group psychotherapy theory, and practice and how addictions are treated using this framework….Based on two decades of research and clinical practice in cognitive therapy, this model, referred to as the Cognitive Therapy Addiction Group or CTAG, includes many elements that make it relatively easy to learn and apply across settings and clients….Highly useful.”

Social Work with Groups

“Offers an approach to treatment that is flexible, well thought out, and solidly based in research. The book's authors make a convincing case that their CTAG can address a diverse of individuals with differing presentations. For clinicians who regularly work with these individuals, the book can serve as a valuable component of a comprehensive treatment approach. For those who are not versed in the care of people struggling with addictions, [ital] Cognitive Therapy for Addictions[/ital] is an excellent introduction to a modality that can be of benefit to a particular subset of patients.”


“This book describes what a cognitive model of addiction looks like and presents a clear rationale for an open-ended group. Clients are encouraged to discuss their challenges, with a strong focus on achievable changes that they can implement. The cognitive model guides rather than drives the discussion. This team of authors knows the field very well, and the book is well illustrated with excellent practical examples. This book has real depth. It is an admirably clear call to skillful practice.”

—Stephen Rollnick, PhD, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, United Kingdom

“Although the group format has become one of the most widely used modalities for treating substance use disorders, books that offer scientifically based, practical guidance for leading these groups are rare. This book presents a comprehensive cognitive model of addiction and provides a fresh approach to extending cognitive interventions to the group setting. Rather than creating a 'cookbook,' the authors have maintained a nice balance between the process of group therapy and the application of specific techniques.”

—Mary Marden Velasquez, PhD, Director, Health Behavior Research and Training Institute, School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin

“This very welcome book expands the domain of cognitive therapy. Building on the empirical literature, the authors adapt cognitive therapy for conducting open therapy groups with clients who have a variety of addictive disorders. The extensive emphasis on—and many examples of—cognitive case conceptualization is particularly helpful.”

—Mark B. Sobell, PhD, ABPP, and Linda Carter Sobell, PhD, ABPP, Center for Psychological Studies, Nova Southeastern University

“Both novices and experienced professionals will find a clinically sound, theoretically supported, and empirically grounded model of group therapy for people struggling with addictions. Strengths of this reader-friendly treatment guide include clinical illustrations; clear and informative figures, tables, and forms; and cognitive case conceptualizations that illustrate how to apply cognitive theory to individual group members and the group as a whole. The authors do a superb job of translating theoretical and empirical knowledge into practice principles. This is a first-rate book that will be a welcome addition to the libraries of addictions professionals.”

—Meredith Hanson, DSW, Professor and Director, PhD in Social Work Program, Fordham University

Table of Contents

I. Background

1. Scope of the Problem

2. Theoretical Framework: A Comprehensive Cognitive Model of Addiction

3. Theoretical Framework: Group Theory and the Stages-of-Change Model

4. Overview of the Cognitive Therapy Addictions Group (CTAG)

5. Cognitive Case Conceptualization

II. Cognitive Therapy Addictions Group Session Components

6. Introductions

7. Evaluating Thoughts and Beliefs

8. Developing Coping Skills

9. Homework and Closure

III. Summary and Integration

10. Conclusion: Implementing the Cognitive Therapy Addictions Group

About the Authors

Amy Wenzel, PhD, is Clinical Associate in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She is the recipient of awards from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Wenzel lectures and provides training and consultation in cognitive-behavioral therapy nationwide.

Bruce S. Liese, PhD, ABPP, is Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he has taught and practiced psychology for almost three decades. He is a recipient of the Presidential Citation for Distinguished Service to the Society of Addiction Psychology (Division 50 of the American Psychological Association).

Aaron T. Beck, MD, is the founder of cognitive therapy, University Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, and President Emeritus of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Dr. Beck is the recipient of awards including the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, the Distinguished Service Award from the American Psychiatric Association, the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award in Applied Psychology from the Association for Psychological Science, and the Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health and Gustav O. Lienhard Award from the Institute of Medicine. He is author or editor of numerous books for professionals and the general public.

Dara G. Friedman-Wheeler, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Friedman-Wheeler has received several awards from the National Institutes of Health. Her research interests are in the areas of coping, affect regulation, outcome expectancies, mood disorders, and health behaviors/outcomes.


Clinical psychologists, social workers, substance abuse counselors, psychiatrists, and other clinicians who treat clients with addiction and substance use problems.