Recovery outcomes are more successful when a sense of community and support is established. While you are ultimately responsible for your own sobriety, the encouragement and feedback received in the sober community can help you overcome difficult situations or experiences. Group therapy is one of the most effective ways to develop relationships with sober peers. Not only is it vital to successful recovery, but it also helps a person consider other points of view and learn how to better interact with others.
In addition to providing essential support, the establishment of community through group therapy in a dual diagnosis treatment center creates a safe place for clients to understand and develop healthy, effective communication skills. This not only helps clients develop healthy relationships moving forward, but also helps clients acquire the skills necessary to begin mending relationships harmed by addiction.
Types of Group Therapy
Similar to individual therapy, there are several types of group therapy a person may engage in over the course of their recovery. Depending on their individual needs, they may find some of these forms of therapy to be more beneficial than others. Subsequently, a person may move through various forms of group therapy over the course of their recovery as their needs change over time.
Some types of group therapy include:
- Psychotherapy Groups: This form of group therapy is designed to help clients understand the impact of relationships on their ability to manage everyday life. Working with others who share similar goals, clients work with the therapist to practice empathy and learn how to effectively express their needs. This not only helps clients share their setbacks and victories with others, but it also builds a sense of community where people can feel safe and supported. Psychotherapy allows clients to both give and receive support in a healthy and productive way.
- Cognitive Therapy Groups (CBT): Cognitive Behavioral Therapy groups are highly popular, especially in early recovery. This form of therapy focuses on helping clients identify the thoughts and behaviors that reinforce patterns of substance abuse. The group focuses on helping clients develop tools to cope with stressors and triggers in a healthy way rather than giving into temptation. It is a much more proactive approach to overcoming addiction than other forms of therapy.
- Dynamic Group Therapy (DBT): This form of group therapy works by helping clients uncover similar threads in experiences and examine common issues group members face. Dynamic group therapy is set in a supportive environment that allows the group to explore topics such as feelings of isolation, loneliness, or shame, and how it affects the development and progression of addiction. In this setting, clients can establish goals to work towards that focus on learning how to control their emotions and deal with triggers without using drugs or alcohol to cope.
- Relapse Prevention Groups: Completing treatment does not mean the recovery journey is over. In most cases, clients transition into a form of aftercare services to continue maintaining their sobriety. Relapse prevention groups are often a staple of aftercare programs as they work with clients to identify potential triggers and pinpoint how to prevent relapse. These groups focus on further refining skills learned in recovery and applying them to situations they encounter in their everyday lives. This extra support, especially early on, is vital in helping clients transition from recovery to independent living.
- Mutual Self-Help Groups: Self-help groups are common forms of group therapy that are readily available in many communities. Often times, these groups are run by the participants and work to help members of the community no matter where they are in their recovery. Many of these groups are self-run and focus on supporting one another through difficulties. There is also a heavy emphasis on the achievements of group members and celebrating abstinence.
The Benefits of Group Therapy
Regardless of what method of group therapy you engage in, there are countless benefits to recovery. Specifically, group therapy is designed to help foster a sense of community and develop healthy relationships with peers who can readily relate to one another. In this setting, clients are able to learn how to express themselves in a healthy way and begin developing tools to cope with their addiction. Group therapy also removes barriers and helps reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. In these meetings, clients are able to share their experiences with one another and realize they are not alone in their struggles. This can help develop self-confidence, reduce stress and feelings of guilt, and improve relationships with peers.
Additionally, groups are relatively small in number and meet regularly to help foster the development of relationships. Depending on what is occurring, group therapy sessions may be structured or more free-flowing for natural conversation to develop. Regardless of the structure of the session, it is important for all participants to be open, be receptive to giving and receiving feedback, and focus on group dynamics. The therapist who leads the group can guide clients through the process and ensure the session is helpful to the group’s needs.
Group therapy also provides a safe place for clients to discuss ways to avoid falling into old habits. Instead of using drugs or alcohol to cope with stressors, clients can learn effective ways of dealing with triggers from others. Being provided with unique viewpoints from peers can help alleviate the stress experienced when trying to navigate recovery alone. Instead, clients can engage in discussions, give and receive feedback, and better understand their needs in treatment. This can also be valuable for other members of the group as they can learn from one another and apply others’ insight onto their own experiences.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 888.855.6877 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.