12 Step Facilitation Therapy

The 12 step program has been one of the most widely used treatments for addiction for nearly 100 years. And, while there has been some controversy over the effectiveness of the 12 steps themselves, there are 1000s of success stories involving success in sobriety, thanks to 12 step programs. In the last 50 years, the 12 step process has expanded and adapted to be even more effective. One of these adaptations is 12 step facilitation therapy.

What is 12 step facilitation therapy?

facilitation therapy

Participating in 12 step meetings helps you stay sober.

According to the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, 12 step facilitation involves engaging people battling addiction with the purpose of getting them into 12 step programs, and helping them stay in them. When this facilitation is performed by mental health or addiction specialists, the result is 12 step facilitation therapy. It is an evidence based approach, and is regulated by manual. The benefits to this process are:

  • more participation in 12 step programs,
  • fewer relapses in early treatment,
  • better chances of completing 12 step treatment,
  • individual counseling and instruction from the facilitator, and
  • drastically increased rates of lifelong sobriety.

These benefits demonstrate the usefulness of 12 step facilitation.

How it is different from traditional 12 step programs

On the surface, there are not many differences between 12 step facilitation therapy and traditional 12 step programs. That is because 12 step facilitation is more of an adjunct to the 12 step program than a separate entity. That is, 12 step facilitation doesn’t interfere with traditional 12 step meeting processes or values. Rather, it is an extra layer that exists outside of the 12 steps and 12 traditions, designed to help people get a good start in a 12 step program. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are three main principles to 12 step facilitation therapy:

  • Acceptance- This principle incorporates a number of things, including:

o realizing that addiction is a disease,

o that life with addiction has become unmanageable,

o the fact that power of will is not enough to overcome the problem, and

o that sobriety is the only remaining solution.

  • Surrender- This principle also includes a number of things such as:

o giving control to a higher power,

o accepting the help and insight of other recovering addicts, and

o following the process of recovery as laid out by the 12 step program.

  • Active participation- The final principle is self-explanatory. It means continued and whole-hearted participation in everything related to the 12 step recovery process.

Acceptance and surrender are the primary goals of any therapist involved in facilitation, with active participation being the key to achieving those goals.

Is 12 step facilitation successful?

According to the Virginia Department of Mental Health, attendance and participation are the keys to success in 12 step programs. This is where 12 step facilitation therapy helps. It greatly increases the chances that people seeking treatment in a 12 step program attend and participate meetings. In this way, it has shown to greatly increase the likelihood of successful sobriety. If you or someone you know is considering getting help for addictive behaviors, it would be wise to consider 12 step facilitation therapy.

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