By far the biggest aspect of drug and alcohol rehab and recovery is the therapy component. Without truly understanding what led you to addiction, you can never really begin the recovery process. Add in the fact that therapy is a great way to learn how to live your life clean and sober going forward and it’s no wonder that therapy is such a large part of the rehab and recovery process.
When it comes to therapy, there are two main categories, including individual counseling and group counseling. It is necessary to focus on the group therapy for substance abuse component and find out what you can expect from it. Learning about the benefits from a rehab standpoint and how addiction group therapy can even help in aftercare is essential!
What Is Group Therapy for Substance Abuse?
In basic terms, group therapy is any therapy session that involves a therapist and more than one patient. While individual therapy focuses on the one-on-one aspect of therapist and patient, group therapy focuses on the group aspect and the building of a support system.
Those participating in group therapy sessions will typically take turns talking about a variety of addiction and rehab-related topics including their feelings, goals, experiences, and even struggles. Group therapy sessions might focus on a specific topic or they might be more general.
Counseling in a group setting is a great way for people to share their feelings and experiences in a safe environment, surrounded by others who have gone through the same or similar experiences.
Additionally, addiction group therapy sessions can provide a space to learn ways to go about the recovery process from others who have gone through similar experiences. Individuals can share what worked for them and what didn’t. This can be beneficial for those on the journey to recovery as they work through their challenges.
Types of Group Therapy
While you might think the concept of group therapy is cut and dry, there are actually many different layers to the process. Different types of group therapy sessions accomplish different goals and focus on unique topics. When it comes to group counseling, there are traditionally five different types of models. The five different types of group therapy are:
- Support groups
- Skills-development groups
- Cognitive behavioral groups
- Interpersonal process groups
- Psychotherapy groups
Support groups might compose one of the most important types of group therapy available. One of the biggest keys to staying and remaining sober once treatment is complete is to develop a strong support system.
These groups focus on developing and nurturing this type of support system by providing just this. Support groups can help members manage anything that might come up in their day-to-day lives that might make them want to use again. Additionally, these group sessions can provide a great place to meet and make new friends that share common interests and goals.
Skills-development groups are designed to help those in attendance deal with their triggers and urges. Using a cognitive behavioral model, these types of group meetings focus on developing the skills needed to fight away the urges and triggers that pop up during daily activities. These types of therapy sessions can also help manage mental-related issues such as anger management that might have played a key role in addiction.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Groups
Cognitive behavioral group therapy focuses on cognitive behaviors and learning how to alter your behavior in order to curb your cravings and urges. During cognitive behavioral group sessions, you will discuss and understand the behaviors that might have led to your addiction and modify your thinking, beliefs, and perceptions in order to help overcome your addiction.
Interpersonal Process Groups
Interpersonal process groups focus on the interpersonal process model. This model focuses on human sociability as it relates to attachment and rivalry. The interpersonal process model also emphasizes how certain connections can lead to social, cultural, and spiritual hierarchies.
Psychotherapy groups are designed to focus on the psychological aspect of substance abuse. They focus on the medical, behavioral, and psychological consequences of addiction and teach those involved how to avoid situations that might cause them to want to use again.
What to Expect When Attending Group Therapy
Group therapy sessions are either open or closed. An open group therapy session means that new people can come and join whenever they want. On the other hand, a closed session means that the people in the session remain the same the entire time. Closed groups tend to have a specific time frame for how long they last, typically anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Open groups tend to be ongoing, meaning that people can come and go from the group from meeting to meeting.
While group sessions typically are led by a single therapist, in some cases two or more therapists might lead the session. All therapists are licensed and specially trained to conduct addiction therapy sessions. Unlike in individual therapy sessions, the role of the therapist during group meetings is to set and reinforce group rules and guidelines.
The therapist will also lead the group process and ensure that the atmosphere is cohesive, healthy, safe, and productive for all participants. During the session, the therapist will typically ask questions, give feedback when necessary or appropriate, encourage participation, and obverse how everyone is behaving and interacting.
Just as it is with individual therapy, the goal of group therapy is to get everyone to participate in a way that will move them closer and closer to their goal of sobriety. Group sizes vary and with that so do the length of the meetings. The meeting length is set to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute and participate.
Understanding the Benefits of Addiction Group Therapy
Group therapy for substance abuse has many great benefits, which is one of the reasons why such a premium is put on it during addiction treatment. After all, treatment centers wouldn’t continue to focus the bulk of their addiction treatment around it if it wasn’t effective. Here are some of the biggest benefits of substance abuse group therapy:
Giving and Receiving Support
Once again, by far the most important aspect of addiction group therapy is the support system aspect. In this support system, everyone benefits; the person receiving support benefits just as much as the person giving it.
This is what makes it one of the most powerful tools in the recovery process. Not only can everyone support one another, but they can also provide helpful knowledge and tips based on their own experiences in order to help someone going through something similar. This is also a great way to boost someone’s self-esteem which is a key component of maintaining sobriety.
Learning How To Better Communicate
One of the great life lessons that group therapy can provide is to teach those participating better ways to communicate. For some, they have to relearn communication skills after detoxing and rehabbing from drugs and alcohol. For others, they have never been good at communicating and need to learn how to do it effectively.
No matter what category someone falls under, group therapy sessions can be a great way to practice communicating in an assertive, open, honest, and respectful manner. By doing so in group therapy, people can practice in a safe setting without having to feel like they need to get defensive.
A Sense of Belonging
When a person gets addicted to drugs or alcohol they tend to become isolated. They might pull away from friends and family members, oftentimes only associating with people that they might use with or can get them their next fix. Group therapy allows for these people to remember what it’s like to be around a group of people that have their best interest at heart and want to see them do well and succeed.
Something as simple as knowing that you are not alone can go a long way during the recovery process. Simply knowing that someone is out there cheering you on can help boost someone’s morale and let them know that there are people out there that want them to get healthy and sober.
Are You Interested in Group Therapy for Substance Abuse?
While individual therapy is an important aspect of the rehab and recovery process, addiction group therapy is equally important. At Harmony Place, we know the importance of therapy, both individual and group, which is why we make a point to offer it to everyone who needs it while they attend treatment at our Los Angeles, California addiction rehab center.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction and could benefit from group therapy for substance abuse as part of one of our many treatment programs, contact us immediately. It is our goal to treat every person that walks in our door and help them get started with their new happy, healthy, and sober life. Learn more about how Harmony Place can help you today!