Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


Addiction Treatment programs have long used group therapy as an integral modality in their treatment programming. While considerable research has been conducted regarding these groups, few if any have considered patients' perspectives of the factors most helpful in the group process. Furthermore, and more importantly, little research was found that considered the use of group therapy in the treatment of Native Americans who suffer from substance use disorders. This absence in the literature seems ironic considering the extreme occurrence of alcoholism in this cultural group.

This research project considered the reported experience of Native Americans in inpatient addiction treatment groups. Sixty Native Americans, who had been admitted to the Chemical Dependency Unit at the North Dakota State Hospital for the treatment of alcoholism, participated in this study to determine the value attributed to Yalom's Therapeutic Factors and the potential influence of traditional Native American values on such factors. The results of this study suggest that, with this particular subject group, traditional Native American values did not have a significant influence on the rankings of the therapeutic factors. However, similarities in the ranking of Therapeutic Factors were noted, when compared with research studies that considered similar short term, inpatient therapy groups.

Unfortunately, this study has significant limitations and the results cannot be generalized beyond this subject group. I recommend that further research be conducted to examine the influence of Native American cultural values on the perception of the group experience, especially in regard to the treatment of substance use disorders.