Getting sober is not a quick or easy path. It takes a lot of time and effort to get off of an addicting substance and regain complete control over oneself. Often there are many feelings of shame and guilt that go along with addiction to alcohol or illicit drugs. These feelings cause the path to recovery to be marred by loneliness and regret. This road is not hopeless, however. There are many tried and true methods which are used to help people get and stay sober. One such method is called Group Therapy. Let’s take a look at this component of treatment and learn why group therapy works.
What is Group Therapy?
Group Therapy is a method of recovery that uses the support of group members who are all attending a rehab center and are receiving addiction and substance abuse treatment. It allows individuals to observe the actions and life stories of others and helps them to be once again able to view the world around them in the clean and bright light. Some of the goals are to help clients rediscover themselves through the viewing of other peoples stories, to regain self-confidence after addiction, to help recovering addicts learn how to function with people again, and learn or relearn how to communicate. By seeing the path that others have gone down, clients can look deeper into their own life story and gain new insight on the decisions they have made and discuss some of the deep-rooted problems that may have been critical contributors to starting them down the path to substance abuse.
One of the main reasons why group therapy works is that it is led by a group counselor. This person is trained to help people through the many stages of addiction recovery. In a group therapy session, a counselor will bring discussion topics and encourage everyone in the group to participate. A group setting allows for people to show other sides of their personalities. Being able to view the social side the people put on can, in some cases, help the counselor view habits that may be portrayed in day to day life that could lead to recurring substance abuse. They then can target addiction recovery group topics in the direction of subtly handling these issues. These items significantly improve the quality of the rehab program.
Common addiction recovery group discussion topics include:
- Personal stories of addiction and how they found their way to recovery
- Identifying triggers in everyday life
- Planning how to avoid and handle triggers
- Going over the importance of nutrition in regards to healing from addiction
Types of Group Therapy
There are many types of addiction recovery groups. The two main group categories are commonly called fixed and revolving. In a fixed group, the members will not change, i.e., you will be with the same people throughout your group therapy sessions. In a revolving group, more members may be added as they come into recovery themselves, or group members may leave as they complete the recovery process. There are many groups specialized in focusing on different aspects of addiction.
Some other types of group therapy are:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy – These groups encompass a large area of behaviors. They start by going into details on how dependency is a learned behavior and go on to cover all the actions associated with addiction.
- Interpersonal process therapy – This covers the way people can create attachments to other people and things which can become detrimental in an addictive situation.
- Skills development groups – These most commonly focus on coping skills, which will help the former addicts learn how to deal with and overcome triggers in daily life and gain the skills they need to remain abstinent.
- Support groups – These are for those who need to be heard and given support and confidence as they make their way through recovery.
- Specialized group therapy – These groups focus on a specific substance. This way, the group of people all have something in common and can find realities and encouragement from one another.
- Psychoeducational groups – These groups are meant to educate former substance abusers as to the truth about drugs and illicit substances and teach them about the behaviors related to drug use and the consequences.
Group Therapy Promotes Teamwork
By attending group therapy, recovering addicts can feel like they are part of a team, working together towards the same goal. An addicted person often thinks they are all alone and this does not help them feel like they are worth much. By being able to contribute to another person’s self-betterment, individuals can feel like they are part of a group with mutual beliefs and realities. This is part of the reason why group therapy works so well for recovering addicts.
Group Therapy Activities
There is a wide range of activities employed during group therapy sessions. These are chosen based on the recovering addict so that the activity directly benefits those in the group. Here are some, but not all, of the events that may be used in group therapy:
- Discussing personal journeys from the start of an addiction to where they are now.
- Discussing how they feel their recovery is going.
- Going over the importance of nutrition.
- Discussing the importance of making new goals.
- Going over the ways one can cope with triggers found in daily life.
- Role-playing/acting out how a person’s addiction has affected other people, from the other person’s viewpoint.
- The importance of self-care, physical fitness, and sleep.
There are many more activities that may be used in group therapy. The exercises used will vary depending on the rehab center you choose.
Why Group Therapy Works
Group therapy is one of the primary tried and true methods of addiction recovery. By giving people the chance to have a safe place in which to tell their story and be understood and encouraged – without being judged – individuals gain a feeling of empowerment and self-worth. It allows them to reflect and grow as people overcoming addiction. It teaches individuals to work as a team to help each other through the difficult task of ending dependence. Being a part of an addiction recovery group creates renewed life in individuals and helps teach them to be once again functioning members of society. If you would like more information about why group therapy works, please call our toll-free number today.