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Regardless of what addiction treatment center you look into, there is bound to be some aspect of group therapy involved. In fact, I haven’t heard of a rehab facility that doesn’t include group therapy in one form or another. It can be casual, such as doing morning “check-ins” with the group and sharing about life events. Or it can be more detailed and involved such as group feedback therapy or interpersonal process therapy. The term “Group Therapy” is really a vague label, and the large amount of different levels and types of group therapy may surprise you. But does group therapy work with treating addiction? If it is such an integral part of virtually all professional treatment centers then it must be helpful, right?
Is Group Therapy for Me?
Many people can be resistant to group therapy. It is difficult enough to seek help and open up to family or a therapist, but a group of strangers? There are worries about identifying, with different demographics such as gender, age, religion, and more. It is common in addiction for people to become anti-social and to isolate from other people. Oftentimes we hide our feelings or are reluctant to talk to others about our addiction problems. Once the initial reluctance to participate in group therapy passes the person often experiences unexpected benefits from participation. Group therapy has been a core aspect of drug and alcohol addiction recovery for several decades, and it has proven to be very effective. Here are some reasons why anyone seeking treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction should consider participating in group therapy.
Benefits of Group Therapy
- Building a Support Network: Being in a group therapy setting means having several other people cheer you on and help you set and achieve goals toward your drug or alcohol addiction recovery. Each person in the group should be able to relate to each others experiences and this removes any feeling of judgement or stigma for past behaviors or lifestyles. Instead of being judgmental or criticizing, most group therapy is filled with support and understanding.
- Learn to Communicate Complex Feelings and Stress: In our active addiction we often internalize or “sweep our problems under the rug”. Rather than face unpleasant realities or confront someone with an issue, we just bury or ignore it. Group Therapy can be the most effective tool in getting people to improve their communication skills and break down the interpersonal barriers to connection with others.
- Group Therapy Can Promote Social Skills: Groups not only help to ease that sense of isolation, but also give the opportunity to practice re-engaging with people,” Johnson says. By participating in a group, you see that you can get along with others, which can be a large part of a person’s start in recovery.
Group Therapy During Addiction Recovery Provides Accountability: One of the things a person quickly learns when attending group therapy sessions is that they are stronger together with their peers than they are alone. This mutual responsibility is invaluable, because when one of the group members is in trouble and about to relapse they know that they can call on any of their peers to help them through a difficult moment....