by Rod Mullen
Illustrated with powerful and compelling vignettes from actual encounter groups, these videos explore how encounter groups have evolved, what we can do to improve groups and overcome pitfalls, and what the keys are to leading successful groups.
Encounter groups are at the heart of therapeutic communities. They demonstrate a break from traditional addiction counseling techniques and have been proven to be an effective and important means for change. However, institutional demands including increased paperwork and funding cuts have recently threatened the livelihood of encounter groups. In this DVD series, Rod Mullen creates a strong argument for how and why we need to keep the encounter group thriving. Illustrated with powerful and compelling vignettes from actual encounter groups, these videos explore how encounter groups have evolved, what we can do to improve groups and overcome pitfalls, and what the keys are to leading successful groups.
Volume I: Evolution of the Encounter Group
Mullen explores the evolution of encounter groups beginning with the first groups created by Synanon founder Chuck Dederich in the 1950s. Mullen discusses the essential elements of these first groups including honesty, authenticity and mutual self-help—elements that are still core to encounter groups today. He highlights that although the brutal confrontational style of the first groups have softened, the commitment to hold oneself and other accountable remains central. He also discusses the challenges that face encounter groups and offers guidance on how to work within managed care systems while holding on to the traditions that make encounter groups such an effective means for change.
Volume II: Pitfalls & Solutions
Mullen walks us through several groups to show us what works and what does not work when facilitating an encounter group. He warns us of several traps facilitators can fall into: dominating the group, getting into power struggles, not being prepared or knowing the group members, and leading groups that are too large and don’t go deep enough. Through numerous vignettes, he illustrates solutions to these common problems, and offers words of experience and wisdom to the encounter group facilitator: know your people, be prepared, get feedback, and listen, listen, listen!
Volume III: Keys to Fostering Growth
Mullen discusses several key components to fostering growth and change in groups. He first explores the “marathon group” and how these day or weeklong sessions can bring participants into deeper understanding of themselves and what they need to change. He then discusses the importance of moral growth and ways in which facilitators can lead groups that foster moral growth by providing credible role models, healthy levels of conflict, role-reversal, and the teaching of responsibility. Finally, Mullen discusses the prevalence of PTSD among addicts and how encounter groups offer opportunities to heal from childhood abuse.
Thank you for offering Rod Mullen's DVD series on Encounter Groups. These media are a one-of-a-kind opportunity for viewers to observe the 'life' of a group and the transforming power of an effectively-facilitated encounter group. The videos present a spectrum of groups -from those that do not work to those that do- and are outstanding reference points for master clinicians and novices alike. I have used the videos to great effect in Master's Level Counseling courses, as well as in certified substance abuse counselor training, and highly recommend them."
<- Jonathan Porteus, PhD, Director of Clinical Services, The Effort, Inc. Sacramento, CA
"I use both the Encounter Groups for Addictions and The Therapeutic Community DVDs as part of our training package. What I like best about both series is the time spent on understanding the underpinnings of our clinical work. That focus allows skilled helpers coming into the field to both understand the origin and the evolution of our work with residents in treatment. I highly recommend these training series for all levels of practitioners."
- Bob Neri, Chief Clinical Officer, Westcare
- Describe the integral elements of encounter groups that have remained unchanged since the 1950s, and significant ways that encounter groups have changed.
- Implement strategies for running effective encounter groups and overcoming impasses.
- Discuss the keys to running marathon groups, fostering moral growth within groups, and working through trauma in groups.
Length of DVD: 1:05:00
Rod Mullen, President and CEO of Amity Foundation, has been working in therapeutic communities since 1967. Rod has written numerous articles and book chapters, produced a number of video projects about therapeutic communities, and presented at numerous state, national and international meetings and conferences.