Clients don’t always recognize the benefits of group therapy in addiction treatment and the role it plays. Group therapy plays an inherent role in getting to the core of a person’s addiction and showing them new perspectives so that they can start recovery on a solid foundation.
The Purpose of Group Therapy
In individual counseling sessions, a single client meets with a therapist or counselor in order for the two to gain a better understanding of how the client’s background and cognitions have been influencing their behaviors, particularly the behaviors related to substance abuse.
This counseling is important to receive in an addiction treatment program, but will often entail very personal, private information that most people wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing in a group setting. However, there are other types of counseling that are appropriate for a group setting in which several individuals can benefit from the learning of relevant information or useful skills.
Group therapy—which involves a group of patients meeting with one or more therapists—is largely an educational form of counseling. Although group therapy frequently employs some of the same psychotherapeutic modalities as individual counseling, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy (MET), the clients are frequently receiving much more information than they are sharing.
Additionally, group therapy has been shown to be beneficial as a social tool. Clients are able to interact with others who may suffer from similar conditions or have had similar experiences, which affords each client in the group a sense of community and belonging. These individuals may then become much more comfortable with sharing things about themselves and their experiences as they tend to feel much more accepted in a group that consists of peers with similar views.
However, one of the most valuable aspects of group therapy is the fact that, while individuals in a group will often have one or more traits that they share or have in common, they will also have very different perspectives or opinions. When an individual in a group session learns about something familiar from a different perspective or point of view, this can be very enlightening because it helps them to consider things in new ways.
How Group Therapy Helps People Overcome Their Addictions
Due to the educational and social aspects of group therapy, it’s a form of counseling that’s very frequently implemented into addiction treatment curricula. In terms of the educational side of group therapy, these sessions may involve a therapist or another type of professional teaching very beneficial skills and strategies to a group of patients in recovery.
For instance, group sessions have proven to be very helpful to individuals with poor anger management or stress management skills. In effect, group therapy arms them with a variety of tools that will allow them to cope with feelings that might otherwise trigger their substance abuse and, therefore, a relapse.
Similarly, addicts often lose much of their social skills while in active addiction, which is another way that group therapy can be very useful in recovery. Due to habitual substance abuse, individuals often lose perception and the ability to make contextual inferences while communicating with others as a side effect of their continuous preoccupation with finding and consuming mind-altering substances.
As such, individuals will often need to relearn essential communication skills while in recovery. Group therapy is an effective medium for learning how to be social and communicate without substance abuse as it puts individuals in a group with people they perceive as being their peers or being similar to them in some other way, making it easy to open up and socialize. In fact, members of substance abuse therapy groups often create lasting friendships with individuals with whom they received group treatments.
Recovery Is a Phone Call Away with the Palm Beach Institute
Group therapy has been used to help countless individuals for a myriad of different afflictions. However, the reason substance abuse treatment is synonymous with group therapy is that it’s an incredibly effective tool for helping individuals in recovery learn communication and relapse-prevention skills that will allow them to sustain their sobriety.
If you or a loved one is struggling with keeping sober, it may be necessary to seek more drug and alcohol treatment. Come to the Palm Beach Institute, where we treat you like family, provide a supportive community, and work hard to teach inherent life skills to practice in recovery. Call our 24-hour helpline at (844) 318-0071 and start living sober today.