Curriculum Organization




The curriculum content in VOLUME I is:


People certainly don’t progress through the Stages of Change in the time it takes to work through this curriculum – or even attend a treatment program for that matter – since each stage can take months or even years to complete. You will have people in your group with the same Psychiatric or Substance Disorders who will be at different levels of readiness to change their behaviors. Even the same person can be in different stages of change for different behaviors. For instance, a person may be in the Action Stage of Change regarding cocaine abuse, yet in the Pre-Contemplation Stage of Change regarding alcohol abuse, and perhaps in the Contemplation Stage of Change regarding a Psychiatric Disorder, such as Major Depression. The possible scenarios are only limited by the number of people you have in your group and by how many disorders or behavior change goals each person has!

It’s still extremely important to organize the subjects of the curriculum so they correspond to the Stages of Change. This provides a foundation of program development that’s consistent with the way people progress through stages when changing a behavior. It also provides you with specific points of reference to identify the Stages of Change of each group and treatment participant. This knowledge will guide your individualized responses to specific group members, as well as provide the basis of their individualized treatment planning.

Remember, our job is to help people work through their treatment goals – not identify people as resistant or unmotivated because they are not working toward our treatment goals for them. It’s also inconsistent to have a treatment philosophy of supporting a person’s self-efficacy (sense of capability to master challenges and achieve goals) and at the same time treat the person as if they have no say or understanding of what they need. For instance, throughout any given treatment experience, some people will remain in one Stage of Change (for instance, the Contemplation Stage of Change) during one treatment experience for either one behavior change or more or even all behavior changes regarding their Psychiatric or Substance Disorder.

By accurately matching each person’s level of readiness for change and supporting their self-efficacy in meeting the goals for that stage, each person is much more likely to move to the next stage of readiness to change. For instance, in Pre-Contemplation a person may simply want to complete treatment to make “them” happy, such as the legal system or a domestic partner. Mismatching the level of readiness for change, such as trying to push a “pre-contemplator” into an “action taker,” can produce a sense of hopelessness for the “treated” and the “treater.” It also makes a person much less likely to move ahead in the stages of behavior change.

The curriculum also contains different sections designed to educate group members about the Stages of Change. It includes ways they can identify their own levels of readiness to change specific behaviors.

The curriculum is purposefully designed in this way, divided first by subjects, then by sections, and then presented in segments to allow for (1) flexibility in presentation, and (2) create a presentation style of interaction. The curriculum divisions allow you to meet the needs of the group by paraphrasing subject material, highlighting the main points, briefly summarizing the material, or choosing to focus on specific sections while skipping others altogether. Each subject can be easily presented throughout a number of group sessions or presented in its entirety in a single group session by choosing the highlights, paraphrasing topics or skipping others altogether.


The curriculum content in VOLUME II is:


The subjects of the curriculum follow the Stages of Change Model following way:


The language of the curriculum is also consistent with the Stages of Change in the following ways:


Each subject – made up of four sections – is designed around three segments that make up the Presentation Style. The segments of each group are: (1) PREPARE (prepare professionals, prepare the group), (2) PRESENT (present curriculum topic(s) of the group), and (3) PRACTICE (discussions, exercises, worksheets).Each one of the eight subjects is divided into four sections with the express goals of allowing the material to be easily presented, as well as easily divided into several groups to meet your curriculum needs. The subjects are approximately 80 pages each and the sections are approximately 20 pages each. SUBJECT ONE and SUBJECT FOUR have APPENDICES that contain material to be presented with the relevant subjects. In these two subjects, the actual APPENDICES make up one of the four sections.


The sections are divided by SUGGESTED TIME FRAMES, which serves the dual purpose of dividing the subject material as well as providing actual SUGGESTED TIME FRAMES for single group presentations.

The SUGGESTED TIME FRAMES are for a 1¼ hour group or a 3½ hour group. They can provide you with some guidelines to help manage group time. Of course, coverage of subject material is always flexible. The time frames are simply that – suggestions.

The actual time will vary from the suggested time depending on the needs of the group and the group discussion time spent on particular key points of a subject. Always keep in mind, the most important aspect of any group is the interaction generated between group participants, especially during the handout discussion. The group should never feel like your need to cover the material, instead of interacting with them, is your most important goal.

That’s all the more reason to prepare beforehand, in case you need to skip forward in order to highlight key points in a particular subject. In other words, if the group’s desire to productively discuss a specific point or subject goes twice as long as you thought it might – then jump ahead to your key points. You would still, of course, end the material presentation within the SUGGESTED TIME FRAMES that match the recommended time to fully cover the subject handout and group closure. The recommended time for working on the handout and discussion is 25 minutes for a 1 ¼ hour group and 60 minutes for a 3 ½ hour group. The recommended time for the group closure for either group is ten minutes.