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why is group therapy beneficial

Why is Group Therapy Beneficial for Addiction Recovery

If you are attending inpatient addiction treatment for the first time, you should expect that the majority of your stay will consist of group therapy sessions in one form or another. A licensed therapist will facilitate many of these sessions. They will revolve around pertinent recovery and addiction-related topics, such as relapse prevention, dual diagnosis disorders, trauma, and healthy relationship building. Let’s explore why group therapy is beneficial for addiction recovery.

What is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves one therapist working with several people simultaneously. This type of therapy is not exclusive to addiction recovery; hospitals, mental health clinics, and community centers rely on it all the time. Often, group therapy is integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that involves individual therapy and medication-assisted treatment. 

The principles of group therapy come from self-reports of those who have been involved in the process but are eerily accurate:

  • Instill hope
  • Impart information
  • Develop socialization techniques
  • Interpersonal learning
  • Altruism
  • Catharsis 

Types of Group Therapy Sessions

You will likely be exposed to many group therapy sessions, many varying in structure and intention. Take a look at some standard session formats to help further familiarize yourself with what to expect.

Gender-Specific Group Therapy

Because group therapy sessions require individuals to open up honestly about highly personal topics they may not typically discuss, gender-specific addiction treatment proves hugely beneficial. Therapists will work to uncover the underlying causes of substance dependency in group settings. 

In many cases, underlying causes are directly tied to past emotional, sexual, and physical trauma. A large percentage of women suffering from addiction and alcoholism underwent some form of significant sexual trauma at some point in their lives – usually at the hands of a member of the opposite sex. Because of this, women typically find it far easier to openly discuss personal matters in a group of compassionate and same-gendered individuals. 

On the other hand, many men have a hard time openly discussing painful experiences and deep-seated emotional distress in the presence of members of the opposite sex, usually because societal gender roles disallow men from conveying what they mistakenly view as weakness. 

Therapeutic Discussions

Group discussions will be facilitated by a single licensed addiction therapist or a group of licensed clinicians. They will allow clients to discuss recovery-related issues in a safe and supportive environment openly.

Usually, these types of therapies work as an introduction to the 12-step process of recovery. Here, participants are introduced to the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Getting familiar with these programs is paramount for long-term recovery.

Relapse Prevention

Therapists and a team of licensed addiction specialists will facilitate groups geared towards installing relapse prevention techniques. Patients will be taught healthy coping mechanisms, how to deal with potentially triggering situations, and what steps to take in case they feel their recovery is ever being compromised. 

Role-playing, self-depiction, and dramatization help to take a further look into the participants’ lives. Acting out specific events helps clients relive, address, and heal on a deep and thorough level.

In relapse prevention, meditation and spirituality classes also play a huge role. Spirituality classes focus on the part of spiritual connectedness in addiction recovery. They promote a connection with a higher power of their understanding through mediation, prayer, and specific holistic healing methods.

Why is Group Therapy Beneficial

There are many benefits of group therapy, especially for those in alcohol or drug addiction recovery. 

  • 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. Some groups work on donations.
  • 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 provide valuable feedback that encourages them to continue making progress. 

Getting Help

If you are looking into an inpatient treatment program, be sure to ask about the specific program’s group therapy sessions. The incorporation of therapeutic healing in a group environment is essential to early recovery. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorders, don’t hesitate to contact us today. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we incorporate group sessions in most addiction treatment programs to offer a sense of community. We believe in the power of ongoing support from the moment you step into our treatment center. 

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