Although individual psychotherapy is at the core of addiction treatment, group support is vital for recovery. However, those in addiction recovery feel a level of intimidation when it comes to the group therapy topics they can expect during treatment. The truth is that these group conversations can be quite intimate and expose realities. Sometimes even those in recovery try to avoid talking about it altogether.
In essence, group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves one therapist working with several people at the same time. This type of treatment is not exclusive to addiction recovery; hospitals, mental health clinics, and community centers rely on it all the time. Usually, group therapy is integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that involves individual therapy and medication-assisted treatment.
1. Family Dynamics
Perhaps the most talked-about group therapy topic is by far family dynamics. Even though many addiction treatment programs incorporate family therapy, discussing dynamics in groups can be quite helpful for many. So, many therapists believe introducing the subject of family in group therapy can give participants some perspective on how different families address the matter.
2. Trauma Experiences
Without a doubt, past trauma is one of the most common group therapy topics in rehab. On average, 75 percent of people in substance abuse treatment report histories of trauma and abuse. Leaving the subject out of the conversation would be like ignoring the big elephant in the room. While no one is forced to discuss past trauma, everyone is encouraged to do so. Group therapy offers a unique and special safe place to share thoughts and emotions about trauma, as many others in the group have lived similar experiences.
3. Trigger Management
Almost 60 percent of those in addiction recovery experience a relapse. A typical group topic is how to control these triggers or how to recognize them at first. Triggers and cravings to go back and use substances again are all around them. Sharing how they cope with triggers and how they manifest to them can help them feel less isolated and try different coping strategies.
4. Self-Care Sharing
It’s common for those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction to let go of any self-care practices. Talking about self-care in group therapy can give people an insight into what others do to take care of their physical, mental, and spiritual health. It’s good to know how someone’s recovery strategies have helped them take control of their self-care.
5. Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
Everyone has goals in addiction recovery. Both short- and long-term goals are vital in developing a recovery plan. Sharing these goals in group therapy gives people a sense of accountability and responsibility. It also helps create a community of encouragement and support to help everyone achieve their goals.
6. The 12 Steps
Beyond group therapy, those in addiction recovery are encouraged to attend 12-step meetings in their communities. These types of meetings will be available when they leave treatment and are easily accessible in almost every city in the world. However, in rehab group therapy, the 12-steps are discussed, analyzed, and celebrates within the structure of the treatment program.
7. Group Therapy Activities
On occasions, therapists will use group therapy activities to break the ice and participate in the conversation. Overall, these activities can be as simple as answering questions on a sheet of paper to group activities like playing a game. Activities are common therapy techniques used in group counseling to foster a sense of community and encourage participation.
8. Management Skills
Many in addiction recovery struggle with anger management and stress management, for example. It’s common for substance abuse group members to share what works and what doesn’t, the coping skills they might have learned in individual therapy they want to share with the group. This also helps them build healthy social skills they’ll be able to use in real-life.
In early recovery, resentment is a common emotion among group members. They feel resentment towards themselves, their doctors, family members, and friends. The mental health professional leading the group therapy session will most likely incorporate techniques that help them find a place of forgiveness and improvement.
10. Coping Mechanisms
Last but not least, coping is a vital group therapy topic to expect in rehab. How to cope with fear, anger, triggers, relapse, and everything that can tamper your recovery journey. Therapists may incorporate different activities to let members test their coping strategies and share how they’re improving their coping mechanisms as they progress.
Why is Group Therapy Beneficial
In the end, there are many benefits of group therapy, especially for those in alcohol or drug addiction recovery. Plus. discussing these group therapy topics in this environment helps those in recovery feel supported and understood.
- Ongoing support and encouragement: People participating in group therapy can see others going through the same struggles, which helps them feel less alone and more understood.
- Access to positive role models: Having someone who can successfully cope with a problem imparts hope in recovery. As each person in the group progresses, they become role models for others, which helps foster feelings of accomplishment and success.
- Very affordable: Unlike individual therapy, group therapy is often a more flexible and affordable treatment plan. Many support groups are donations-based.
- A unique safe space: Addiction can lead to a sense of isolation; when people experience receiving support from other group members, they can start to feel comfortable about discussing their struggles. Group therapy creates a safe setting that allows people to talk transparently and honestly about their efforts. It also promotes positive and safe behaviors that contribute to recovery.
- Improve social skills: When you work in a group setting, therapists can better assess how each individual responds to other people, and they can provide valuable feedback that encourages them to continue making progress.
Here, at Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our therapy group sessions are tailored to its members’ progress and needs. As part of our comprehensive treatment plans, group therapy helps us build a sense of family while promoting healing and fostering a sense of community and fellowship.