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There are a number of forms of group treatment in use today. Perhaps the type of group treatment affecting the greatest number of patients is the self-help group; this usually consists of a large group treatment supplemented by other, smaller groups, as exemplified by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Members of self-help groups share a common condition and a common goal. Such groups are conducted by the members, without the presence of professional group leaders, and comprise a variety of types of groups. Meetings are free of charge, and relationships made in the group are commonly continued outside of the group setting. In addition to the achievement and maintenance of abstinence, such 12-Step programs encourage the development of mutual support, and eventual personality change. Members are welcomed over the course of a person's lifetime, either on a continuous basis or on an as-needed basis. AA has a spiritual foundation, whereas a number of other self-help groups do not. Attendance at AA meetings on a regular basis has been noted to help reduce drinking and increase a member's capacity to function (Emrick et al. 1993).

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