Lesson Plan Format

Every lesson plan follows the same format – designed to promote group consistency. The first two pages of every lesson contain the same information written to the facilitator. Not knowing which lesson plans would be chosen to develop a specific psychoeducational program – the information in the first two pages need to be available for all group facilitators. After the initial two pages…you will see that the individual specific topic information begins. All lesson plans are set up in this format:

 Title of Lesson Plan

EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICES (EBP): Integrated System of Care; Universal Dual Diagnosis Capabilities; Principles of Empathy and Hope; Motivational Interviewing Approach; Stages of Change Model Design; Strength Based; Skill Building; Solution Focused; Neurochemistry Based Disorders of the Brain; Symptom Identification; Symptom Management; EBP Curriculum Topics, i.e. Nutrition, Stress Management, Cognitive Behavioral, and more
Consistency in the Group Setting
The importance of consistency in a treatment setting can’t be overstated.  This is especially true when people are placed in vulnerable situations. Inconsistency can, at best, increase uncertainty and insecurity for the person receiving services.  At worst, unpredictability can create a sense of helplessness while simultaneously decreasing a person’s development of self-reliance.  In fact, all human beings benefit from a dependable approach in the treatment of chronic disorders.  When a person learns they can rely on consistency, they are less stressed and more relaxed.  Consistency in the group setting includes the group structure, psychoeducational material, and the approach.

Each agency or facility will have different requirements – such as group receipts or paperwork – however, consistency can still include a structure similar to the following:
1. Group members pick up: a. Clip Board, b. Paper, and c. Pencil/Pen as they enter the room.
2. Group facilitator picks up the group receipts from each person in the group, and/or the group facilitator passes out the sign-in sheet for the group members to sign.
3. Group facilitator provides a Positive Group Beginning, Consistent Psychoeducational Material, Consistent Approach, and a Positive Group Closure.
Psychoeducational Groups and Crisis Event Processing (when requested)
Notes to Facilitator(s):
1. THE BASICS, Second Edition meets the definitions and goals of Psychoeducational Groups, Skill Building Groups, and Cognitive Behavioral Groups.
2. Group participants who have become accustomed to Interpersonal Processing Groups – as well as staff who have facilitated them – may find it a challenge to now facilitate Psychoeducational Groups.
3. Likewise, facilitators who may have followed a more lecture-style education presentation, may find it challenging to now devote at least 1/3rd of group time to specific topic discussions and interactions.
4. Both types of groups (Interpersonal Processing Groups and Psychoeducational Groups) are extremely important, yet each has different goals and structure.
5. The structure of Psychoeducational Groups, Skill Building Groups, and/or Cognitive-Behavioral Groups in no way means that there will not be interaction – far from it. It just means that the interactions, discussions, and exercises will be about the topic(s) of each group.
6. Facilitators may – or not – still want to allow time in each group for the group member(s) to discuss a crisis that may have occurred since the last group.
7. We do know, of course, that every person in group is typically experiencing many challenges each and every week; however, most of these incidents are often best resolved in ways other than group time where the event does not pertain to every group member.
8. Suggested responses to a challenge, problem, or crisis can also include suggesting the person contact their primary care provider; schedule a 1:1 appointment; reschedule their next 1:1 to an earlier time; or, meet with the facilitator after group to explore options and develop a plan.
9. A facilitator would, of course, not “grade” an event as being worthy or not for group time. If a person requests individual time in the group, then that would be accepted as valid and time allotted at the end of the group.
10. Over time, the group begins to understand the differences between a situation, a challenge, a problem, or a crisis and can make decisions to utilize group time or continue with the current psychoeducational topic.
Prepare Professionals
Review all content material, appendices, and/or handouts prior to group to avoid a lecturing style.
1. Decide beforehand the key points to be covered in each group to produce flexibility for group responses, discussions, or questions.
2. Gain an overall understanding of the content so summarizing is possible in order to create an interactive facilitation style.
3. Determine the group structure to achieve the essential balance between education and discussions.
4. Check group room to be sure there are enough clipboards, pencils or pens, and markers or chalk for the board.
5. Make enough copies of any handouts before group.
6. Write any group content on the board prior to the beginning of group whenever possible.
Master Guide & Master Tips to Professionals
1. Master Guide: Interactive Style (pages Master Guide 10-11)
2. Master Tip #1: Suggestions for Beginning Group (pages Master Tips 1-4)
3. Master Tip #3: Empathetic Treatment Approach (pages Master Tips 7-9)
4. Master Tip #4: Promoting Hope (page Master Tips 9)
5. Master Tip #5: Maintaining a Consistent, Nonjudgmental, and Positive Attitude (pages Master Tips 10-13)
6. Master Tip #12: Responding to Requests for Copies of APPENDICES (pages Master Tips 27-29)
7. Master Tip #13: Depth of Psychoeducational Content (pages Master Tips 29-30)
8. Master Tip #14: Group Closure Suggestions (pages Master Tips 30-31)
9. Master Tip #16: Motivational Interviewing (pages Master Tips 31-32)
Present Curriculum/Topic
1. It is extremely important that each group participant leave every group with more Psychoeducation than they came in with – which may also include discussing a “familiar topic” yet with a “present-day” focus. Psychoeducational Groups are designed to provide education about all areas related to the management of Substance Use Disorders and Psychiatric Disorders.  Psychoeducational Groups are not Interpersonal Processing Groups – even though interaction and processing the particular psychoeducational topic(s) is essential to individualizing the topic(s) or skill(s) presented.
2. It is recommended that a minimum of 1/3rd of group time be devoted to interaction (therapeutic counseling topic discussions). This can be accomplished –depending on the individual style of the group facilitator(s) – by any “present education-interact/discuss – present education-interact/discuss” combination while still structuring the group to include the curriculum/topic education to be covered.
3. The presentation of material will, of course, be modified by the facilitator to match the functioning skills of group participants. It is important to note, however, that THE BASICS, Second Edition was written in a conversational language while taking into consideration a wide-range of symptom acuity and severity.  Persons with co-occurring psychiatric and substance disorders benefit from learning about their disorders and how to manage them, as do all individuals with any chronic disorder(s).  Each group participant will retain what is meaningful to them at the present time.
Group Beginning Suggestions
A positive group beginning (and ending) is extremely important.  Positive beginnings can include:
1. Reading the Thought For The Day from a meditation book. (Note: The daily meditation book Easy Does It also has an index of topics at the end of the book. This is helpful in choosing a specific reading to fit with the topics presented in group.)
2. AA Slogan(s) with brief explanation or AA/NA/Dual Recovery inspirational reading.
3. Inspirational or humorous curriculum handout reading from THE BASICS.
4. Deep breathing or stretching exercise.
5. Each person telling the group one thing they are grateful for.
6. Each group member mentioning one positive thing they did that contributed to their recovery.
* Recommended Beginning: Breathing Exercise (Master Tips-3)
Practice Curriculum/Topic
Practicing subject material is the best way participants can internalize and personalize the curriculum content. Practice includes the group interactions, worksheets, exercises, handouts, and content discussions.
Group Beginning
Positive group beginning (suggestions are located on the previous page).
1. Brief Group Introductions: (Note: The interactions in a psychoeducational group are discussions about the topics, not inter-personal processing or case management questions which do not apply to the entire group.)
     a. Ask the group members to tell the group their name.
     b. Welcome any group members who are new to this group or phase.
2. Crisis Processing (when requested and optional):
     a. Ask the group if anyone has experienced a crisis since their last group, and if they need/want additional time in this group to discuss it, i.e. what happened, how they managed the crisis, and/or explore options and develop a plan.
     b. Let the person(s) know that you will allow time at the end of this group for them to share their experience and receive support from their fellow group members. 

Summarize Introduction of the Group Topic and Why It’s Important

Psychoeducation Topics and Focus

Skill Building Exercise and Discussion – Suggestions For Topic Discussions

Notes To the Facilitators: ……………..Notes To the Group:

Crisis Processing (when needed)

Group “Paper Work”

Group Closure

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