Group Therapy in the Treatment of Addiction
There are many forms of therapy available for drug and alcohol treatment. . The therapy is typically part of a cohesive treatment plan created by a quality rehabilitation center. The peer support network that exists within a group form of therapy can aid the recovery process in many ways.
Characteristics of Group Therapy
Group size can be as few as three and upwards of 15. A group typically meets once or twice a week, and can occur in a residential or inpatient rehab facility, as part of an outpatient program, or within a community setting. The therapist determines the type of group and methodology, and there are many types, including skills development, cognitive-behavioral and relapse prevention.
Peer Support and the Common Denominator
A major benefit of group therapy is the peer support that a person in recovery receives from people who have common characteristics. The group participants share a goal: to manage their addictions. A person struggling with drugs or alcohol feels less alone and can start to see hope in recovery by learning about the experiences of other people in the group.
The group also provides the opportunity to hear other perspectives on coping with intense cravings, which can come in very handy down the road. When another group member explains difficult situations they encountered and steps they took to overcome it, another group participant can adjust his or her view on the issue to a personal situation and potentially find a new way to overcome it.
The Motivational Aspect of Group Therapy
The group setting is great for individuals in recovery to motivate one another and cheer on one another’s successes. This feature is absent in the individual setting. If someone in the group has a specific objective to reach, others can comment, provide advice, and encourage the individual.
The received motivation can help keep a person in recovery from giving in to urges to return to self-destructive behaviors they experienced while they were using. It can also fend off a potential relapse. Should a relapse occur, group members can provide feedback that helps the individual get back on his or her feet.
Also, support received in group therapy can improve a person’s self-esteem, which is often low at the start of the rehab journey. The group format provides the opportunity for expression in a non-judgmental, understanding environment when a group is well led. A core rule of the group is that anything spoken about during a session is confidential. As they speak, opening up gradually, recovering individuals can develop confidence, improve self-care, and feel less ashamed.