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How Does Group Therapy Help Addiction?

Benefits of Group Therapy Sessions In Addiction Treatment

While the importance of focused individual therapy in addiction treatment should not be understated, therapy groups are also often an important part of the recovery process for people undergoing substance abuse treatment. And while most people have a basic idea of what happens in group therapy, they may not be aware that group therapy sessions actually come in several distinct forms.

In fact, a publication by the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration called Group Therapy: Treatment Improvement Protocol describes five types of group therapy. These include interpersonal process groups, which focus on trauma, abuse, psychodynamics, and humanistic topics. More specifically, interpersonal process groups help patients to understand how their past is influencing their present, allowing them to connect their struggles with substance abuse to experiences earlier in their life.

Then there are cognitive-behavioral groups, which help teach patients critical skills they will need in their recovery, such as emotional regulation skills that they can use to deal with negative emotions rather than resorting to substance abuse.

One might also encounter skills development groups, which are similar but more focused to the patients’ specific needs and on life skills training. For instance, skill development groups could focus on parenting skills, financial skills, handling substance use triggers, or communication skills. Then, there are psychoeducational groups, which primarily impart information about topics like anger management, conflict resolution, culture and family, and wellness and health.

Finally there are support groups, which can focus on relapse prevention, issues specific to gender or identity or to a specific comorbid mental health condition, and healing and spirituality. A support group will likely use the group setting primarily to provide emotional support to and receive it from other group members.

All of these kinds of therapy groups serve important functions, and someone who is beginning their recovery journey in may be exposed to any combination of these kinds of group sessions in either inpatient of outpatient substance abuse treatment centers.

Patients whose drug or alcohol addiction is severe enough that they risk serious withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to detox unsupervised should probably begin treatment in residential American addiction centers, where treatment providers capable of rendering medical advice will be able to step in in the case of a medical emergency.

This is also true of those whose drug and alcohol abuse is complicated by mental health issues that are severe enough that they are at risk for self-harm if they live independently. However, for those who have milder substance use disorders, outpatient therapy provided by a qualified mental health clinic may be an appropriate option.

Group sessions are usually overseen by one or more therapists, who will serve as the group leader. Such a group therapist should be experienced and educated in the field of addiction treatment, and should have a sophisticated understanding of the group process necessary to ensure the development of a supportive environment, which involves an understanding of the way group dynamics evolve over time.

This leader will guide and facilitate group discussions, ensuring that the group therapy setting remains a safe space for all involved. They will also be responsible for communicating group rules and holding group therapy participants to the maintenance of those rules, which usually include the clause that nothing a group member reveals in a group discussion should ever proliferate beyond the therapy group to ensure appropriate confidentiality.

Group therapy may be provided in a small group or large group setting, and a therapy group may or may not be open to new members after group therapy has begun. Related but distinct from group therapy are self help groups, like those associated with twelve step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. While these can also serve as important sources of addiction support, they differ from group therapy in that they are facilitated by a group leader who is not a professional therapist.

Many who attend group therapy while in American addiction centers and find that group therapy helps them will move on to these types of support groups after they complete substance abuse treatment, with many AA group members having been part of the fellowship for well over a decade.

Many American addiction centers also incorporate twelve step meetings or philosophy into their substance abuse treatment programs, which can help ease the transition from group therapy into such a fellowship.

Another method of treating addiction that is distinct from both group therapy and individual therapy is family therapy, which involves the participation of family members of the person struggling with drug abuse rather than unrelated group members. This method is also an important supplement to individual therapy because it allows the family as a whole to heal from the trauma of dealing with one member’s substance use and to establish a healthier new communication style and dynamic.

Though there have been adverse consequences alleged from individual therapy groups, as a whole, most research has found group therapy effective, which is why group therapy has become such an important part of programming at most American addiction centers.

Group psychotherapy is also thought to be particularly important in addiction treatment as opposed to treatment programs focusing on other mental health issues because of the intense sense of isolation often associated with substance use disorders.

By allowing group members to connect with one another and to come to terms with their substance use, group therapy helps recovering addicts to rebuild their self-esteem and capacity to connect with others and find motivation and inspiration for recovery in the form of those connections and that increased self-worth.

Connect With Other Group Members In Substance Abuse Treatment At Reco Intensive

Reco Intensive is a Delray Beach addiction treatment center respected as one of the best treatment centers in the South Florida area. Our treatment programs incorporate group therapy, individual therapy, and a variety of other scientifically-backed treatment options.

We also offer variety of more holistic treatment options aimed at healing the “whole person” rather than addressing a drug addiction in isolation, such as yoga, equine therapy, adventure therapy, and expressive arts therapy. Our addiction treatment programs are also equipped to handle patients who suffer from behavioral addictions as well as those who struggle with substance abuse, and who have co-occurring mental health issues.

Like most addiction treatment programs, we are able to work with many forms of health insurance. If you or someone you love is currently considering addiction treatment, feel free to call us anytime at 844.955.3042 or to fill out our online contact form here to learn more about our admissions process and how we can help you get back on the road to addiction recovery and a brighter future.

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