Therapy is an essential part of any drug or alcohol treatment program. Before we begin discussing the many benefits of group and individual therapy, having a basic comprehension of this psychotherapy practice is important and useful.
What is Psychotherapy
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The American Psychological Association defines it as: “Psychotherapy is the informed and intentional application of clinical methods and interpersonal stances derived from established psychological principles for the purpose of assisting people in modifying their behaviors, cognitions, emotions, or other personal characteristics in directions that the participants deem desirable.”
Group and individual therapy sessions are considered “psychotherapy.” In more layman terms, psychotherapy includes the use of the psychological techniques by a trained therapist to help people to modify their unhealthy thinking or behaviors by focusing on their emotions during critical events or issues during someone’s life.
A Brief Overview Of Therapy
Therapy is a type of treatment that includes meeting and working with a therapist to assist with various issues affecting one’s life. This can include things like:
- Traumatic events
- Personal feelings
- Struggles with personal relationships
- The loss of a loved one
- Daily triggers and stressors.
Therapy assists someone with various problems or can be used simply to help someone feel generally better and more optimistic while dealing with everyday life and all that it implies.
Finding the Right Therapist
When someone begins going to a therapist, it is imperative to find a therapist that you feel comfortable with and enough so that you can trust to open up and confide in. Often people will not share their inner turmoil or pain, and that is because they often face trust issues, so it is most important to find a therapist that you feel truly comfortable with.
Not every therapist will mesh well with everyone, so if you are seeking therapy and do not feel comfortable in sharing, don’t give up; simply move on and find another therapist until you feel it is a good fit for YOU!
During therapy sessions, your therapist will focus their energy and time on you during your meetings and will assist you in achieving whatever aspirations, goals, and desired outcomes you want to deal with or change.
What Are The Benefits of Group and Individual Therapy?
The various benefits of therapy include but are not limited to:
- Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Working with a professionally trained therapist to learn healthy coping mechanisms like talk therapy, meditation, and physical exercise, to name only a few. These coping skills will help you to navigate the difficult life challenges.
- A Sounding Board: The therapist’s main job is to listen, ask appropriate questions, and then work alongside you to help find solutions to the many of life’s difficult challenges.
- Achievement Of Goals: Your therapist will help you to set future goals and will assist you in fulfilling and reaching the goals set by increasing confidence and utilizing other means to assist your progress.
- Overcoming Trauma: Therapists are professionally trained, and they learn and implement science-backed techniques to assist you in moving past previous trauma that often leaves people feeling sad, hopeless, and often even depressed.
- Improved Personal Relationships: Healthy relationships can benefit us greatly; however, poor and dysfunctional relationships can do the opposite. Your therapist will work with you on which relationships are healthy and how to improve your relationships primarily through talk therapy, individual and group therapy sessions.
- Overcoming Bad Habits: When working with a therapist, you will have the opportunity to reduce self-destructive habits by the therapist, providing various constructive alternatives in behavior.
There are many benefits of therapy, whether it is associated with individual or group therapy. Each Therapy is designed to focus on self-improvement and betterment.
What Is Group Therapy?
Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that includes one or more therapists working together with several people at the same time in a group setting. Group therapy can sometimes be used alone. However, it is also commonly integrated into an inclusive treatment program that includes medication and individual therapy.
The principles of group therapy include but are not limited to:
- Giving Hope – The therapy group consists of people at various different stages of a treatment program. People benefit by witnessing others who are recovering or coping and instills hope to people in the beginning stages of treatment.
- Universality – Being part of a group of people who share similar or the same types of experiences assists them in seeing that what they are going through is universal and that they are not alone.
- Imparting Information – Participants in group therapy help each other by sharing information together in the group setting.
- Altruism – Participants in group therapy will share their courage and their strengths, which not only help them through talk therapy but will assist others in the group, which helps to boost confidence and self-esteem.
- Development of Socialization Techniques – This group therapy environment encourages the active practice of newly learned behaviors. The group is designed to be supportive and safe, which allows the members within the group to experiment with the new behaviors without judgment for error.
- Imitative Behavior – People will learn to imitate the positive behaviors of others within the group as well as model the behaviors of the therapist.
- Interpersonal Learning – Due to the interactions of the others within the group and the therapist, it assists the individuals in gaining a better understanding of oneself.
- Group Cohesiveness – The therapy group is unified by a shared goal; group therapy members will feel acceptance and a sense of belonging.
- Catharsis – While in a group therapy session, by expressing feelings and sharing experiences with the group, it assists with relieving guilt, stress, or pain.
How Group Therapy Works
Group therapy sessions usually meet once or twice a week and, on average, for one to two hours per session. Sessions can have as few as three people but often involve larger groups consisting of as many as twelve per therapy session.
The minimum group therapy session requirement starts around six, but more commonly, it is recommended to complete an average of 12 months. There are open group therapy sessions that allow new members to join, and sometimes there are closed group therapy sessions where only a limited number of members are allowed to participate.
Getting Used to the Group Therapy Setting
Group therapy can often scare people because they may fear the setting. That is why group therapy is set to meet in private rooms with chairs placed in a circle so that everyone can see each other and their reactions giving everyone equal opportunity to be close to the therapist and one another. This often gives a real sense of comfort rather than anxiety.
The manner in which the group therapy session is held depends largely on the specific goals of the therapy group and the individual style of the group therapist.
Some therapists will inspire a free-form style of communication and dialogue. This allows each member of the group to participate as see fit. Other therapists instead have a specific plan for each session that might include having clients practice new skills with other members of the group.
Individual therapy exists through a therapeutic session where a person is involved in various therapeutic processes with at least one professionally trained therapist. Individual therapy is different from seeking advice from family, friends, and acquaintances because it is a medical service performed by an unbiased and trained professional.
The principles of individual therapy include but are not limited to:
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy – An individual will openly discuss their past and experiences through what is considered talk therapy based on the belief that childhood trauma and the unconscious affect behavior.
- Play Therapy – The individual (typically a child) will act out a scene from their life using psychoanalytic therapy where the interaction with props or toys are used instead of talk therapy.
- Behavior Therapy – An individual learns to overcome certain fears through several stages of relaxation techniques through the principles of learning to adjust negative behaviors.
- Cognitive Therapy – The individual learns not to generalize a complete lack of success based on a single failure through awareness of a cognitive process that helps the individual to eradicate negative thought patterns.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – An individual learns to identify harmful behaviors to overcome disorders and other negative effects by working to change harmful behaviors and cognitive distortions.
- Humanistic Therapy – The individual learns to speak openly about the thoughts that keep them from achieving their goals by Increasing self-awareness and acceptance through the focus on their conscious thoughts.
How Individual Therapy Works
Individual therapy sessions benefit by giving someone the opportunity to open up and speak in confidence through situations or problems with a professionally trained therapist. It helps equip individuals with the types of tools they need in order to cope with their problems more appropriately and with a healthy approach.
This type of therapy is commonly used alongside other types of behavioral and mental health treatments like group therapy, substance abuse counseling, and family therapy.
Often people choose individual therapy over group therapy because they may fear to express themselves in public or may simply have a fear of opening up because they believe their problems will not be understood by others. Individual therapy helps them to feel like they have someone who is unbiased to give an honest opinion on the problems they currently or have faced in their pasts.
Individual therapy may be short-term, which primarily focuses on present issues or long-term, which dives into more complex problems from past situations or trauma. The number of individual therapy sessions depends on the individual’s own issues and from the recommendations of the therapist.
Do Not Wait, Call Today!
At Free by the Sea, our team is ready to help anyone who has the courage to finally take back control of their life after struggling with a substance abuse disorder. The path to sobriety can be difficult, but those with an unparalleled support system will put themselves in the best position for living a substance-free life. Our facilities offer several addiction treatment programs. If you are ready to recreate a sober and healthy life, then please contact us today! Our representatives are standing by.
Dr. Richard Crabbe joined our team in 2019 as our psychiatrist and medical director. He attended the University of Ghana Medical School where he became a Medical Doctor in 1977. From 1978 through 1984, he was a medical officer in the Ghana Navy and provided a variety of services from general medicine to surgeries. He received his Certificate in General Psychology from the American Board of Psychology and Neurology in 2002.