Role of Group Therapy in Substance Use Disorder Recovery
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What is Group Process Therapy for Substance Abuse?

Group process therapy is a type of counseling where a trained therapist or counselor treats a small number of patients simultaneously as a group. It can be used to treat many issues such as grief, trauma and depression but it’s also used in drug and alcohol treatment centers. It’s most often used in conjunction with individual counseling and family counseling.

There are four common types of group therapy used for substance use disorder treatment.

Psychoeducational Groups:

Counselor-led discussions related to unique and tailored topics, such as triggers in recovery, dual diagnosis disorders, family and relationships, etc. While these groups are educational, they also encourage participation of the patients through relating real-life experiences and asking questions. Rather than the material being presented as a lecture, the patients are involved in the discussion and help each other process certain events, triggers, and life circumstances that can lead to healing and progress in recovery. This is achieved with the direction of the therapist.

Skills Development Groups:

Participants learn a skill that can become asset to a life of recovery, such as positive coping mechanisms or goal-setting. The group participants help one another process past, current, and potential future events and circumstances, by relating to the event and the skill being presented. The process component of group therapy affords the opportunity for patients to emotionally and mentally integrate the specific knowledge presented in group.

Cognitive Behavioral Groups:

These groups are a goal-orientated approach to problem solving. The goal is to change negative thinking which leads to the behaviors that contribute to perpetuating drug addiction and alcoholism. The group helps participants identify negative and positive behaviors, and process the feelings that arise during the discussion. The goal of this type of process is to reduce negative feelings and increase positive feelings, which ultimately can lead to behavior changes that will reduce the urge to use drugs and alcohol as a coping skill.

Support Groups:

These are not simply 12 step meetings, as the name may imply. 12 step meetings are self-help groups and are not lead by trained clinical staff. In therapist-lead support groups, patients help one another gain emotional support and validation from similar situations, and generally do not have a preplanned topic.

The Role of Group Therapy in Recovery

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), behavioral therapies such as group counseling are one of the most commonly used forms of drug and alcohol addiction treatment. NIDA also states that participation in a group therapy program during and following treatment can help maintain abstinence.

Studies have shown that group counseling in a treatment program is paramount and can be more effective in gaining and maintaining recovery than individual counseling. A group therapy program is highly beneficial to recovery from a drug addiction and alcoholism, and dual diagnosis disorders. It provides hope in a way that no other program can by developing a sense of camaraderie among other recovering individuals. When you can relate to others who have similar experiences to yours and have progressed in recovery, a sense of hope arises that you, too, can overcome and a live a life free from substance abuse.

In addition to the priceless sense of fellowship that’s developed, an effective group therapy program provides important skills to further ensure your likelihood of success after leaving treatment. These skills address triggers, positive coping mechanisms, stress management, incentives for recovery, problem solving skills, positive relationships, and building a sense of community through positive activities and involvement to replace the constant cycle of addiction and withdrawal.

The bonds that are built during treatment provide patients with much-needed peer support, even after being discharged from drug and alcohol treatment. It alleviates you from experiencing a sense of isolation when you know you’re not traveling the recovery road alone. Group therapy is also effective after discharge from a drug and alcohol treatment center on an outpatient basis.

The comprehensive and integrated treatment program at a Behavioral Wellness and Recovery includes group therapy, which we feel is paramount in overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. You can get started on the road to recovery today by calling 800-683-4457.




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