Why You Should Facilitate Groups Using Positive Psychology

I facilitate a Motivation for Recovery group every Tuesday at 10am. At the start of each group I ask the clients to go around the room and answer the question "what's your motivation for recovery?"

Here are sample responses from last week:

  • To be happy
  • One day have a family and kids
  • Make my parents proud
  • Be a productive member of society
  • Be a better father and a better person
  • Get involved in the community
  • Graduate from college
  • Realize my full potential
  • Live a better life

The examples listed above of clients' motivation for recovery fit perfectly into the principles of positive psychology. Those principles include positive emotions, engagement, meaning, relationships, and accomplishment.

I have been asking this question for almost two years and have noticed some very similar themes, and think positive psychology covers them well. By using the clients' own stated motivation for recovery, I have a great starting point to further motivate and inspire them for change.The principles of positive psychology can be used as a framework to help clients discuss and understand their own intrinsic motivations.

Motivation for Recovery groups are complementary to more traditional treatment approaches and self-help programs. Short-term coping skills for recovery are absolutely necessary, but I think that programs and clinicians could use more tools for supporting the client’s central motivations, as expressed by them. Also, I think we can do a better job of talking about and encouraging long-term recovery.
That’s what my groups do – they support, encourage and motivate clients to remember their own motivations for recovery, and to think about how to create a meaningful and happy life.
Personally, I think this is what keeps people in recovery over the long run, so I’m writing a group curriculum to share that with others. My goal is to write the curriculum with enough explanation, guidance, and tools that other clinicians can facilitate similar groups with their clients.

Motivation for Recovery is the group I wish I had experienced when I was struggling with addiction. And the principles of positive psychology (hope, optimism, gratitude, positive emotions, engagement, meaning, relationships, and accomplishment) are EXACTLY what keep me in long-term recovery.