Why Group Therapy is Successful in Treating Drug Addiction
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Why Group Therapy is Successful in Treating Drug Addiction

Every person is different, coming from different backgrounds with their different experiences, aptitudes, diverse knowledge and beliefs, and so on. However, addiction happens to be a very personable disease, occurring in numerous different ways depending on an individual’s choices and behaviors. There’s a wide variety of other factors that can contribute to one’s developing an addiction as well. For instance, there’s widely believed to be a biological or genetic basis for addiction due to the tendency for the disease to appear to run in families. Additionally, substance abuse can also be a learned behavior that individuals adopt after having been exposed to someone else’s substance abuse while at a young, impressionable age. Clearly, there are a diverse number of ways that a person can become addicted to alcohol, drugs, or even a number of harmful behaviors.

Fortunately, there are ways that individuals can fight back against this disease, reclaiming their health and independence. Since the path to addiction is so variable, the path from addiction back to sobriety can take many different forms as well. Millions of addicts have achieved lasting sobriety after joining twelve-step programs while others have been successful in more faith-based programs like Celebrate Recovery. However, the preferred method of overcoming alcohol or drug addiction of most recovery professionals would be for an individual to complete an addiction treatment program. These programs consist of a variety of different treatments that are designed to target the specific effects of addiction, addressing the deterioration that addicts experience while in active addiction and helping them to return to a state of sobriety.

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Although individual therapy is a big part of these treatment programs, most people will likely associate addiction recovery programs with group therapy, which is another mainstay of recovery programming. Therefore, the following will explain the purpose of group therapy, including some of the most common and beneficial uses and how group therapy can help individuals achieve long-lasting sobriety.

The Purpose of Group Therapy

In individual counseling sessions, a single patient meets with a single therapist or counselor in order for the two to gain a better understanding of how the patient’s background and cognitions have been influencing his or her behaviors, particularly the behaviors related to substance abuse. While this is an important part of the counseling one receives as part of an addiction treatment program, this 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. As such, 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 and motivational enhancement therapy, the patients are frequently receiving much more information than they are sharing.

Additionally, group therapy has been shown to be beneficial as a social tool. Patients are able to interact with others who may suffer from similar conditions or have had similar experiences, which affords each patient in the group a sense of community and belonging. Consequently, these individuals often become much more comfortable with sharing 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 oftentimes 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 will often 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.

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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 perceptiveness 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 variety of different afflictions. However, the reason that substance abuse treatment is synonymous with group therapy is because 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 someone you love would benefit from learning more about group therapy or other forms of treatment, the Palm Beach Institute is here to help. For a free consultation and assessment with one of our recovery specialists, call us today at 855-960-5456. With one phone call, you or your loved one can begin the healing journey and reclaim health, happiness, and independence.

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