A significant step toward recovery is committing to a treatment program. Addiction treatment can be a terrifying idea, but Intrepid Detox offers several programs that make the process more comfortable. Therapy is an integral part of treatment and recovery. We design our programs to put our clients in a position to work through their challenging issues, gain insight into their addiction, and learn new skills to improve their quality of life. Group therapy for substance abuse is an excellent tool that provides several benefits in and after treatment. 

We encourage our clients to use each resource available to keep them on track for recovery. This includes both individual and group therapy. 

What is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a unique form of therapy involving two or more individuals and a trained therapist. These therapist-led sessions let members take turns talking about their emotions, experiences, struggles, and goals.

Group therapy promotes interpersonal growth with its participants and gives them an experience different from individual therapy. One-on-one therapy is beneficial for many people in recovery. Group therapy for substance abuse, though, allows like-minded individuals to help and relate with each other. 

Group Therapy for Substance Abuse

This mode of therapy has several unique aspects that make it a staple in substance use treatment. For example, when joining group therapy, you will have at least one thing in common with each participant: struggle with substance or alcohol use. This is a powerful aspect of group therapy for substance abuse because it allows participants to relate and provide experiential feedback. It is important to note, an experienced therapist leads each group session. 

Another element of group therapy is that it provides an environment to practice newly developed social and interpersonal skills. It’s an excellent place for individuals to utilize social coping techniques in a real-world situation. Group therapy is often paired with individual therapy. Both forms of psychotherapy work in conjunction with each other to promote healthy emotional and behavioral skills.

What Should I Expect From Group Therapy?

s Group Therapy Effective

Group therapy has many functions and is coordinated in many ways. When going to group therapy, one can expect:

  • Open or closed sessions: Some group therapy sessions allow new members to join at any point, while some require a membership and consist of the same individuals from the first session to the last.  
  • Therapy sessions to be led by one or two therapists: Each therapist is licensed and experienced in leading group therapy sessions. 
  • Confidentiality: All participants should feel safe to open up in group therapy sessions. Each person is there for a particular reason — to achieve and maintain recovery. Group members are expected to honor each person’s confidentiality. 

Goals of Group Therapy

People who join group therapy usually have many questions. Should I open up about my addiction? Is my story too embarrassing? Will anyone else have a story like mine? How much should I share? 

Keep in mind that one of the goals of group therapy is to make each participant feel comfortable. Each person should feel comfortable telling as much of their story as they want. When people elaborate on their story in a group setting, they better understand their addiction’s roots. 

Ultimately, group therapy for addiction makes a huge difference in recovery. When starting, participants are strangers, but after a few sessions, they become the central pillar of support within the recovery process. 

What is the Structure?

Sessions typically last at least an hour, and they often range from one-and-a-half to two hours. Group therapy is structured so each person may have an opportunity to contribute. Group sizes vary but usually consist of five to 10 participants. 

In outpatient programs, group therapy sessions are once a week. Other treatments, such as residential, partial hospitalization, and inpatient, meet more often. 

Benefits of Group Therapy For Substance Abuse

Group therapy is a vital aspect of substance use recovery. It’s a proven method that promotes growth and change within its participants. This form of treatment gives people an outlet to express themselves. Opening up about struggles and emotions paves the foundation for recovery. While group therapy may be uncomfortable for some, it provides several benefits. 

Five simple benefits of group therapy include:

  • Diversity: Differing viewpoints and opinions drastically help in treatment.
  • Trust building: Group settings promote vulnerability and understanding.
  • Support and encouragement: Each participant wants their peers to succeed in treatment.
  • Behavioral improvements: Group settings provide real-world practice for individuals to utilize social skills learned in individual therapy.
  • Perspective: Participants may have breakthroughs regarding their behavior or emotions due to added perspective from other group members.

Unique Benefits of Group Therapy

Group therapy provides a sense of belonging for its participants. People struggling with addiction deal with isolation because of their substance use. It’s not uncommon for relationships with friends and even family to cease because of substance use. Group therapy for substance abuse offers a feeling that many people may be missing. Reconnecting with that feeling of “you are not alone” is an essential part of treatment.

In group therapy, patients often help each other and offer feedback. Fortunately, this process is beneficial for both parties. When an individual provides support for one of their peers, it empowers them. This results in improved self-esteem for the entire group. Receiving and giving help to others is a learned ability. Group therapy provides unique benefits for everyone involved. 

Group Therapy vs. Individual Therapy

Group Therapy for Substance Abuse

Research shows both group therapy and individual therapy as equally effective. Each varies in function and provides different therapeutic factors. Group therapy may be more cost-effective since it is often cheaper than one-on-one style therapies. 

Each form of therapy may help specific conditions more so than the other. For instance, someone struggling with social phobias or interpersonal issues may benefit more from group therapy. An individual requiring one-on-one treatment for a specific disorder may benefit more from individual therapy. 

These forms of therapy are not mutually exclusive. Both are vital parts of almost every recovery program. Research shows that group and individual therapy programs give patients the best chance of healing and recovery when used in combination. 

Individual Therapy

As mentioned before, individual therapy is a talk therapy method involving a patient and a professional therapist. Individual therapy allows patients to discuss their behavior, challenges, and emotions in a one-on-one, completely confidential setting.

For patients to have a successful recovery, it is crucial for them to understand their addiction. Therapists in individual therapy typically work with the patient to find their triggers or underlying co-occurring disorders that feed their addiction. Once an individual understands their triggers and addiction, they can then address their behavior. 

For some patients, individual therapy works well as a prerequisite to group therapy. A few critical aspects of individual therapy include:

  • Stripping down bad cognitive habits: Patients work to improve their thought processes to create a successful and long-lasting recovery.
  • Motivation: Individual therapy shows patients the possibility of positive change in their lives. 
  • Guidance and support: The impact of this is similar to group therapy. However, some patients prefer individualized support.  

Advantages

Individual therapy has several advantages, including:

  • A comprehensive and individualized analysis for anyone participating in treatment.
  • An adaptable pace of therapy. The therapist can adjust the speed of treatment depending on the individual.
  • Scheduling based on the individual’s availability.
  • A stronger relationship with a therapist. Research shows effective therapy sessions often involve a strong relationship between therapist and patient.
  • Practices in developing self-awareness.

Disadvantages

Some relative disadvantages include:

  • The cost of individual therapy is typically more than that of group therapy.
  • Patients’ inability to relate with their therapist. In this instance, they may feel more comfortable in a group setting with like-minded individuals.
  • Patients who struggle with being the center of attention. Therapy is most successful when the patient is comfortable with opening up.   

Is Group Therapy Effective?

Addiction is a lonely disease. As mentioned before, people in treatment are often isolated. Group therapy gives people the opportunity to grow and heal with their peers. Group therapy is effective in teaching understanding and companionship. 

There is no perfect solution to addiction or substance abuse. It is often difficult for patients to see the road of emotional healing ahead of them. Group therapy proves effective in giving patients confidence, relief, and insight to assist them throughout their recovery journey. 

Group therapy is certainly effective, especially when combined with treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. Intrepid detox offers several other therapy programs that help clients maintain and sustain recovery:

  • Holistic therapy
  • Meditation therapy
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Relapse prevention training
  • Art therapy
  • Yoga therapy
  • Life skills training 
  • 12-step meetings
  • Family therapy
  • Addiction therapy

Find Relief Today at Intrepid Detox

Historically, group therapy has played a critical role in addiction treatment. Group therapy often scares new participants since it is often uncomfortable to be vulnerable to new people. The same reasons why it’s difficult are also what make it successful. Support gained from group settings is priceless in recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please contact us today.