Group therapy is an essential part of treatment for substance abuse. People who start their clinical recovery journey often feel alone and isolated. Group therapy gives the patient a type of community where they can communicate with other people who are going through the same process they are.
Individual therapy allows the patient to bring up issues that they don’t want to discuss in group and group might help a patient start to feel comfortable enough to share certain issues that they have been struggling with within both group and individual therapy sessions.
It is not usually recommended for a patient to only utilize individual therapy or group therapy. Both are important for building the tools for a lasting road to recovery. At Free by the Sea, we provide group therapy as well as other healing tools to help you find your road to recovery.
What are the Different Types of Group Therapy?
There are several different types of therapy groups. The therapy portion of your clinical recovery treatment may involve more than one type of group therapy type.
Patients learn about the consequences of substance abuse mentally, emotionally, and how substances harm the body physically. This group also focuses on the recovery process. One of the most important functions of this group is that it helps get rid of any denial the patient might still have about whether they have a substance abuse disorder. People often get so wrapped up in substances that they have a hard time accepting the reality of what these substances are doing to them.
Skills Development Group
This type of group therapy helps patients develop new skills such as controlling powerful emotions, working on techniques to help the patient refuse substances after they are reintegrated into the community, and much more.
The professional leader of the group will work to tailor the content and direction of the group to topics that personally benefit the group members. Skill Development Group can help you find the tools to help you say no even in harsh and tempting situations.
In this type of group therapy, patients learn to overcome harmful thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions. Individual forms of cognitive-behavioral group therapy are also often offered as well. It is important to talk to your therapeutic team about access to all types of Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Cognitive-behavioral groups and most CBT and CBT-based individual therapies also only last a short period of time.
During this type of group therapy, patients help each other stop using excuses, while at the same time promoting constructive changes. Change can be very scary, even positive change. In a support group, clients can start to come to terms with what they are doing to themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally when they abuse substances. They can also use compassionate constructive criticism instead of hearing harsh directions and reprimands.
Interpersonal Process Group Psychotherapy (Interpersonal Process Groups)
Also known as group psychotherapy, the patients help each other talk about the past and work through experiences that caused them to start on the path of addiction. Many people who turn to substance use have experienced trauma or suffer from either untreated or incorrectly treated mental illness.
What Are Some Benefits of Group Therapy?
A big benefit of any sort of group therapy is that if a participant feels uncomfortable sharing, doesn’t feel like they have much to say on the topic, or otherwise can’t or doesn’t want to contribute, they can still benefit by listening to other group member’s input. Knowing and hearing that others are going through the same struggles they are can make the group participants feel less alone.
Often a group setting, especially one where the same participants come to every meeting, can build a sense of community for the participants. As they get to know each other better they may begin to feel more comfortable sharing personal experiences and problems. This feeling might not be as common in therapy groups where the same individuals are not always present.
Individual Psychotherapy and Group Therapy Work Well Together
Group therapy and individual therapy can play off each other in a very beneficial way. During individual therapy, individuals can explore personal issues in a more confidential setting. They might also discuss things that they are not comfortable with having others know. The patient then might take those issues to group therapy and use the group as a sounding board to bounce various ideas off and get more feedback.
If it is a topic that the patient does not want to talk about, they can still listen and bring up new ideas and thoughts with their individual therapist at their next session. The benefits go the other way too. A patient might become aware of an issue they might have never thought of during group therapy. They can continue to explore it in a more private setting during individual therapy.
One of the benefits of having a professional lead the group is that the leader has the authority to mediate and bring balance to the discussion. When a professional leads the group, it can help the overall structure of the group. The professional can also help to encourage participants to explore different topics that they personally need to address instead of focusing on socializing with each other.
Denial is one of the biggest problems patients face before, and to some degree during, their clinical recovery journey. Like most therapeutic tools, group therapy is also geared towards breaking through that denial completely.
Every trained group therapist has a different approach. There are many theories out there about the most beneficial way to lead and work with patients with an addiction disorder in a clinical setting. Many therapists modify different treatment theories to create a unique and beneficial experience for their clients. Every group is influenced by both the participants and the professional group leader.
Can Member Led Group Therapies be Beneficial?
Group therapies without professional supervision can sometimes be helpful. Two of the examples of these groups are twelve-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
AA and NA are both self-governing and self-sufficient. Many clients who are discharged from their clinical recovery center are referred to a 12-step program. However, it is very important to find a group that works for you and is comfortable. Being uncomfortable in a group does not mean that it is a bad group, it just means that it might not be the right one for you. Even if it is a closed group in which a slot just opened or a group that one of your friends goes to, it is important to remember that you feel comfortable in the group.
Where Can I Find Group Therapy Outside the Clinic?
Once a client completes their clinical recovery journey, they may find that they can continue to benefit from group therapy. Many mental health offices either provide group therapy or know where and how you can find meetings that will suit you as a person.
These groups may or may not have a trained therapeutic leader. Many groups can be very beneficial and constructive outside of residential treatment whether or not they have a therapeutic leader. Often residential treatment programs give clients the tools and experience they need to succeed in a group therapy setting even if there is no therapeutic leader.
There are Many Support Groups Open
There are many support groups around the country and several groups are nationwide. This means that if you are in a different area and you experience cravings or any other indicators that your road to recovery might be at risk, you can visit other groups. They might be strangers but they have the same goal you do. A long-lasting road to recovery.
Many therapeutic tools are available even at the beginning of your road to recovery. The input of other people who are going through the same struggle as you can be emotionally healing in itself. Addiction might make you feel isolated. But there is a community of people, all in various stages of their road to recovery, who can support and help you. One of the first steps on your road to recovery is actively seeking help. When you are ready to start your healing journey contact us.