There are many therapies and treatment methods for people suffering from substance use disorders, though none is as well known as group therapy.
Most people get their perception of group therapy from movie depictions of Alcoholics Anonymous. However, this form of treatment is heavily outdated, and group therapy has evolved to take a much more modern, specialized approach to addiction treatment than ever before.
What Is Group Therapy?
Group therapy involves experienced therapists working with 5-15 people who meet together to undergo a specific treatment plan or program. Most drug or alcohol rehabs offer some form of group therapy, and this aspect often forms a vital component of successful addiction treatment.
Group Therapy vs. Individual Therapy
There are several differences between group and individual therapy, including:1
- Individual therapy is usually more expensive than group therapy.
- Group therapy offers more benefits to people who require relatability and support throughout their recovery process.
- Group therapy requires sharing experiences in a public setting, whereas individual therapy involves only the patient and the therapist.
- Group therapy may build a greater sense of accountability than individual therapy.
Types of Group Therapy
Group therapy no longer only involves going around the group and allowing each to talk. Today, there is a wide range of group psychotherapy options like:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy involves identifying and learning coping strategies to deal with substance abuse triggers or situations that contribute to addiction. This medically reviewed form of group therapy can also help identify a mental health condition exacerbating the triggers leading to substance use.
- Educational groups: Life or career skills are taught in a group setting to encourage a sense of community and support among participants.
- Support groups look a lot like what you’ve grown to expect from group therapy and involve sharing experiences, struggles, and triumphs in your recovery journey. They play a vital role in long-term sobriety.
What to Expect from Group Therapy
Group therapy sessions differ in their setup according to the type of treatment you’ll be participating in. However, commonalities between all group therapy sessions are that they will consist of 5-10 people. All members of the group are expected to participate in the activities the group offers in some form. Chairs are usually placed in a circle, and sessions can take place either indoors or outdoors.
Sessions can last between one to three hours, depending on the size of the group and the treatment plan for that particular meeting.
What Are the Benefits of Group Therapy?
Even if you’re not an extrovert, group therapy can offer a range of benefits including:2
- Developing your social skills and learning to interact with others in a non-judgmental, supportive way.
- Building a support network of people who are going through the same thing you are.
- Sharing similar difficulties experienced during recovery with people who are also on the same journey.
- Discussing similar issues, you may be experiencing in your daily life like overcoming a fear or successfully placing boundaries between you and the people detrimental to your recovery journey.
- Accessing more affordable sessions than with individual therapy.
- Overcoming feelings of loneliness or isolation and realizing you’re not the only one experiencing the challenges and victories associated with recovery from substance use disorders.
- Providing motivation by hearing other peoples’ inspiring stories or how they dealt with a crisis during recovery.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Group Therapy?
Although therapy groups often play a vital role in recovery, they have some disadvantages, including:
- Causing difficulties and discomfort for people who are shy or who suffer from social anxiety.
- No build-up of mentor-mentee trust as can occur in an individual therapy environment.
- Conflict between individuals with different personalities.
- Feeling a lack of privacy or confidentiality regarding their treatment and experiences.
Is Group Therapy Beneficial During Addiction Recovery?
Participating in group therapy or attending a support group could play a vital role in your successful recovery. However, group therapy alone may not be enough to help you deal with triggers or build the right strategies to maintain sobriety.
Group therapy is often most beneficial and successful when combined with individual counseling, medication-assisted treatment, or intensive addiction treatment programs.
Where to Find Group Therapy Programs
If you are interested in participating in group therapy, most substance abuse treatment centers provide outpatient or inpatient programs that involve some form of group therapy.
Adelante Recovery Center offers group therapy as part of its detox or inpatient residential programs. These therapy sessions are held daily and are supplemented with regular individual counseling sessions as well.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction and requires help, contact our team today at (949) 427-9099.