United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Mental Health

Self-Help Toolkit: The 3-Step Referral Method for Group/1:1 Therapy

banner: Self-Help Toolkit
The 3-Step Referral Method for Group/1:1 Therapy
The 3-Step Referral Method is an empirically validated method for referring patients to self-help programs. This step-by-step method augments standard referral practices with the addition of a few new components. The method was found to improve patient attendance and engagement in self-help programs and abstinence rates at one year.

Key elements of 3-Step Referral Method are:

Download 3-Step Referral Method Protocol
  • Step 1: Provide patients with a self-help journal and brochures to acquaint them with self-help meetings and identify frequent obstacles of attendance.

  • Step 2: Identify a local meeting to attend and arrange for a current self-help member to accompany the patient to the meeting.

    video icon
    View a video about the 2nd step of the 3-Step Referral Method
    Document icon
    Read recommendations from VA SUD providers for how to implement Step 2

  • Step 3: In a subsequent session, assess if the patient attended a meeting, how they liked the meeting, or, for those who did not attend, identify a new meeting to attend.