Group leadership is significantly affected by the personal qualities of the group leader. Each of us brings our unique personal strengths and weaknesses to the process. Understanding how those traits affect group dynamics is, therefore, crucial. The readings in this unit focus on the personality traits that affect group leadership style. Chapter 6 of Tip 41. Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy provides a summary of relevant personality traits to consider (SAMHSA, 2005).
Culture also plays a significant role in shaping group dynamics. Group leaders bring their own culture and biases into their role. Given the potential for negative outcomes when counselors fail to recognize the impact of culture, researchers have explored whether matching clients and counselors based on cultural backgrounds can improve counseling outcomes. Karlsson’s review of multiple studies examining the relationship between treatment matching and psychotherapy outcome points out how complex this question is to research (2005).
The variables that affect this research, including level of acculturation and within group variability, make generalized conclusions very difficult. In contrast, Flicker, Waldron, Turner, Brody, and Hops provide a specific example of how ethnic matching was associated with better treatment outcomes for Hispanic adolescents in treatment for substance abuse (2008). While the researchers call for further study, it is worth noting the importance of cultural competence in the treatment of substance abuse.
Flicker, S., Waldron, H., Turner, C., Brody, J., & Hops, H. (2008). Ethnic matching and treatment outcome with Hispanic and Anglo substance-abusing adolescents in family therapy. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(3), 439–447.
Karlsson, R. (2005). Ethnic matching between therapist and patient in psychotherapy: An overview of findings, together with methodological and conceptual issues. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 11(2), 113–129.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U. S. Department of Health & Human Services (2008). Tip 41. Substance abuse treatment: Group therapy. Retrieved March 9, 2009,
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Identify models for group leadership.
2. Analyze the impact of cultural factors on group methods for the treatment of compulsive and addictive behaviors.
3. Recognize appropriate utilization of clinical supervision to address cultural issues.
Use your textbook, the Internet, and the library to complete the following:
• In your textbook, read Text Appendix D, pages 351–359.
• Review SAMHSA’s Tip 41. Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy, Chapter 2, and readChapter 6.
• Read the Flicker, et al 2008 article, Ethnic Matching and Treatment Outcome with Hispanic and Anglo Substance-abusing Adolescents in Family Therapy Journal of Family Psychology, 22(3), 439–447.
• Read Karlsson’s 2005 article, Ethnic Matching Between Therapist and Patient in Psychotherapy: An Overview of Findings, Together with Methodological and Conceptual Issues. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 11(2), 113–129.
Question 1: Personal Qualities of Group Leaders – 1 page needed with 2 references.
Review the personal qualities for group leaders that are described in Chapter 6 of Tip 41. Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy. Choose two of the personal qualities that best reflect your strengths and two that would be most challenging to you. Discuss how these strengths and weaknesses might affect groups you lead.
Question 2: Merits of Ethnic Treatment Matching – 1 page needed with 2 references.
Choose either article in u04s1 on ethnic matching and take a position weighing the merits of this approach. Based on your readings, would you support placing clients in groups based on the ethnic match between counselor and clients? Provide a clear explanation for your answer.