By Terence T. Gorski

people in group therapy talking

Problem-Solving Group Therapy teaches a powerful and effective model of group therapy that meets the needs of behavioral health professionals including counselors,
supervisors, group members, group leaders, and clinical managers, both in person and virtual settings. This evidenced based group process has evolved fifty years of clinical practice and application, and has helped thousands of people improve their life and remain substance free.

The CENAPS System of Problem-Solving Group Therapy includes using a series of group exercises or techniques that have consistently produced positive results for clients. Most group leaders find that their groups become easier to lead, more effective, and create a positive motivation for recovery in most group members.

The CENAPS System of Problem-Solving Group Therapy allows clinicians to execute strategic treatment plans in groups, which is a requirement of most behavioral health providers. Patients/clients support this model because it’s easy to learn, and it provides the structure and skills training that is needed for successful group therapy. Clients know what’s expected of them; they learn techniques that they can use in all aspects of their lives; and they see timely, tangible improvement in the target problems they have identified.

This model of group therapy has stood the test of time. The early development of this model was done in the Alcoholism Treatment Program of Grant Hospital of Chicago between 1969 and 1973. Richard D. Weidman developed and taught a 40- week course on problem solving group therapy in 1970 using the integrated principles of Adlerian Group Psychotherapy. The course demonstrated through training exercises how to structure the group therapy session, integrate group and individual therapy, and integrate the group treatment of alcoholism with self-defeating personality styles. It was based upon a fluid combination of the medical disease model of alcoholism, the principles of Twelve Step Recovery, Adlerian Group Psychotherapy, Gestalt Therapy, and Transactional Analysis. The techniques that I learned in this course, observed, and used in my own groups would still be considered advanced, even in today’s standards.

As I used the Problem Solving Group Therapy method in my own clinical practice, I continued to find ways to improve upon it. I found the need to develop clear operational guidelines for all of the procedures. What emerged was this comprehensive model for conducting Problem-Solving Group Therapy sessions. When I began directing addiction programs, I used this model as a standard procedure in all groups. Over time, this emerging system of problem-solving group therapy became a much-demanded service. Since 1982, I’ve taught thousands of professionals to conduct groups by this highly effective method, at workshops and training sessions around the world.

To learn and utilize the method, we now are offering the tools on, including an updated poster series with a fresh look that can be purchased as a printed set or download. The series of work includes, “Problem-Solving Group Therapy- A Group Leader’s Guide for Developing and Implementing Group Treatment Plans”, “A Group Member’s Guide to Brief Strategic Problem-Solving Group Therapy, Making Group Therapy Work for You”, and “Poster Series-Brief, Strategic Problem-Solving Group Therapy”.

At CENAPS, we always welcome your comments about this process as we continue to improve all of CENAPS models, with our goal always being to help persons with behavioral health disorders live a life free of the suffering addiction can cause. The foundation of Problem-Solving Group Therapy has remained effective over decades of use.

Terence T. Gorski has spent many years developing resources, publications and relapse prevention models and mechanisms to change behavior patterns of those who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse disorders. He has helped people abstain from drugs and alcohol, and assists with their mental health conditions.