Presentation Style



THE BASICS, SECOND EDITION is composed of VOLUMES I & II that are further divided into a total of EIGHT SUBJECTS and SIX APPENDICES. 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 presentation style is then divided into three segments which are Prepare, Present, and Practice.


Every subject is divided in a presentation style of three segments of Prepare, Present, and Practice (Rhonda McKillip: McKillip and Associates © 2004). Each segment has very explicit purposes in providing treatment to people with co-occurring disorders.

This Presentation Style was designed to create a group format that surrounds the person with a style and approach that helps create an atmosphere where learning, sharing, discussing, and connecting can be encouraged.

The subjects, sections, and segments are outlined at the beginning of each subject in the presentation guide as follows (G. Dunbar, personal communication, August 30, 2002):



Professionals are encouraged to prepare themselves for group by:

  1. Reviewing the subject goals, objectives, methods, subject material to be presented, appendices, and handouts.
  2. Deciding beforehand the key points you want to cover in each group. This will help you be more flexible for group discussions, questions, or sharing. For example, if you intend to cover ten pages in a session, review those ten pages for key points. Allowing group members to discuss the material is always more important than covering all ten pages.
  3. Paying particular attention to the sections of TIPS TO PROFESSIONALS throughout each subject and the “Master Tips to Professionals” located at the back of Volume I. They offer valuable information that’s specific to providing integrated treatment to people with co-occurring disorders. The tips will reinforce things you already do and may provide some new treatment ideas as well.


Professionals are encouraged to prepare the group for each day’s subject presentation by:

  1. Briefly explaining the format of each group, such as the division into sections, the subject or main points you’ll be discussing, break times, and especially the fact that time will be devoted to handouts and discussion, as well as group closure and support.
  2. This structure helps relieve the typical anxiety related to just being in a group, particularly for people with co-occurring disorders.
  3. Most of us generally appreciate knowing this type of information when we are attending a class or conference, and if nothing else, it’s the respectful way to let people know what to expect in each and every group session.

A description of the number of sections can be found in the beginning of each subject. The division of the sections is also indicated by the SUGGESTED TIME FRAMES throughout the subject material. You may choose to use TODAY’S SUBJECT AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT, found in the beginning of each subject, to tell the group members about the key points of the particular subject. This will also provide the relevance or importance of specific material to their recovery.


Professionals present the SUBJECT material to be learned.FIRST, PROFESSIONALS PRESENT SUBJECT MATERIAL


Professionals present the APPENDICES to be learned.

  1. SUBJECT ONE and SUBJECT FOUR contain the DRUG CATEGORIES SECTIONS found in APPENDIX IA (Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs on Mental Health), APPENDIX IB (Acute Withdrawal Symptoms From Alcohol and Other Drugs, APPENDIX IVA (Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs on Physical Health), and APPENDIX IVB (Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs on Fertility, Pregnancy, Delivery, and Prenatal Effects on Infants Through Their Adulthood). These APPENDICES are designed for brief discussion within the specific subject material. More detailed information, as well as the SUGGESTED TIME FRAMES for covering each of the APPENDICES, is located in the corresponding subjects.
  2. SUBJECT TWO and SUBJECT THREE contain APPENDIX II (The Basics and Symptoms of Psychiatric Disorders) and APPENDIX III (The Basics of Substance Disorders). These APPENDICES are designed for expanding the specific subject material. They are not designed to be covered in the subject itself. Another purpose of the APPENDICES is to provide flexibility in meeting the needs of your particular group. For example, if your group is comprised primarily of people with Major Depression, then you may choose to very briefly cover Thought Disorders and give a more expanded coverage of Major Depression. APPENDIX II will give you that flexibility because it covers all the Psychiatric Disorders that are primarily related to co-occurring disorders more extensively than in the subject itself. APPENDIX II (The Basics and Symptoms of Psychiatric Disorders) and APPENDIX III (The Basics of Substance Disorders) are also designed to provide ample information to answer questions and provide cross-training in the areas of Psychiatric Disorders Within a Co-Occurring Diagnosis (SUBJECT TWO and APPENDIX II) and Substance Disorders Within a Co-Occurring Diagnosis (SUBJECT THREE and APPENDIX III).

If you cover only portions of the subject material, and at least one-third or one-half of the group time is devoted to interacting about the particular subject, working through the Worksheet Handout, and discussing the Inspirational Handout, you are doing exactly what this curriculum was designed to encourage professionals to do.


An interactive facilitation style helps people individualize, personalize, internalize, and implement the subject material. If education was all that was needed, people could be given books to read and that would be that – no more Psychiatric or Substance Disorders. Interaction encourages group participants to learn at their own pace, based on their own functioning level, readiness for change, and personal motivation. Interacting with others helps group members incorporate new skills, behaviors, and tools into their personal recovery plan by trying them out in the group process. The presentation of material is designed for interaction through the use of recommended group discussions, worksheets, and handouts.


It’s essential to never lecture to the group or simply read the lessons. Of course, you’ll be referring to the subject content more with some sections and less with others, that’s still different than a straight lecturing style that’s void of any interaction with the group itself.

While all subjects contain a wealth of information, it’s not intended to overwhelm the professional or the group. You can avoid a lecturing style by becoming familiar with the material beforehand. Ample information is designed to actually give you the opportunity to cover some sections in depth or skip others altogether, depending on the interests or needs of your particular group. As you read over the material beforehand, you’ll gain an overall understanding of the content. You may then paraphrase, summarize, and hit the highlights

Becoming familiar with the material before the group is particularly important when it comes to the DRUG CATEGORIES SECTIONS in the APPENDICES. Simply reading a list of the possible medical complications is not helpful to the group. Familiarizing yourself with these sections prior to group will give you an overall pattern of the effects of specific drug categories. This will give you a good idea of how to summarize the material in your own words. For instance, you may talk about how cocaine is particularly bad on the heart or how alcohol irritates every system of the body. You can also engage the group by asking them how specific drugs have affected their mental and physical health.


I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand. Ancient Chinese Proverb

The practice of the subject material, which includes the handouts and group discussion, as well as the group closure and support, also helps participants internalize and personalize the subject material


All handouts in the curriculum are designed to provide education in two different ways. One is through the Worksheet Handouts where group participants will practice specific skills by filling out the questions on the handout, and then by sharing these with others. The second is the Inspirational Handouts designed to provide encouragement in the form of inspiration, humor, or wisdom. Both Worksheet and Inspirational Handouts are also designed to provide information on specific subjects so group participants can have educational information to take home with them.

All handouts are written to involve the group in productive conversations and are an important part of every group, whatever the length of the session. Discussion of the handouts is intended to take one-half (1¼ hour group) to one-third (3½ hour group) of the total group time.

Group interaction will, and should, determine the amount of time you spend on actual subject content. This is not to imply that the subject material is not important, it is very important to educate people about their illnesses and the recovery process designed to stabilize these illnesses. But simply being informed is not the same as being in recovery. Interacting and connecting with others, receiving and giving constructive feedback or support, or socializing and communicating with others are just more important. This means the interaction time with the handouts should never be sacrificed so more education can be provided.


Group closure allows participants to practice sharing experiences, thoughts, and feelings related to the subject material as well as providing the opportunity to give support to and receive support from others.