In most treatment centers for substance abuse, clients will, at some point, engage in group therapy. At first, group therapy may seem intimidating — opening up to strangers can be frightening. However, group therapy during treatment is beneficial to you as a person in recovery and crucial to your healing. Some of the benefits include not feeling alone, ears and attention on you, being a part of a group, promoting social skills, and introducing you to new and different perspectives.
What Is Group Therapy?
Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves one or more mental health practitioners who deliver psychotherapy to several individuals in a group at one time. Groups usually consist of somewhere between five and 15 people. This type of therapy can be used in the process of treating:
- Various anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic disorder
There are several different types of group therapy, and treatment models will vary from group to group. Some of the most common types of group therapy include:
- Psychoeducational groups: Psychoeducational group therapy focuses on educating attendees on various mental health disorders and providing them with coping strategies. These groups typically only focus on a specific disorder, such as addiction or depression.
- Skills development groups: These types of groups focus on introducing and improving coping skills for mental health disorders and may incorporate aspects of psychoeducational groups.
- Cognitive-behavioral groups: Cognitive-behavioral group therapy takes the same approach as cognitive-behavioral therapy in restructuring the beliefs a person has, leading them to harmful behaviors. For example, a cognitive-behavioral group may focus on addiction and how to identify situations and environments that can be triggering. With an understanding of their behaviors, an individual can develop management strategies.
Individual vs. Group Therapy: What Is the Difference?
The most apparent difference between individual and group therapy is the size of sessions. Group therapy consists of multiple people and sometimes numerous therapists as well. On the other hand, individual therapy is one-on-one, with one participant and one therapist. While the two have different benefits, both individual and group therapy effectively treat addiction and mental health disorders. Which type of therapy proves more beneficial will be up to the individual. Some people work well in groups, while others may find more success in a one-on-one therapy environment.
Not Feeling Alone
Sometimes we feel as if we are facing our giants alone and that no one else could ever possibly understand where we are coming from in life. Partaking in regular group therapy sessions takes away that overwhelming feeling of loneliness. It lets us know that there are others out there that are battling the same battles as you. This is important because feeling alone can trigger some people in recovery, and group therapy offers a practical solution to avoiding that particular trigger.
Ears and Attention on You
Having a “sounding board,” so to speak, is beneficial to your recovery as well. It is imperative to feel like you are being listened to and that your problems are important. Group therapy values each participating person’s opinions and issues. What is important to you is also important to the members of your group.
Being a Part of a Group
As human beings, it is essential for us to feel like we belong to something bigger than ourselves — group therapy can provide that. You can gain a lot of good advice and encouragement from the other members of your group. Seeing others do great things will inspire you to keep pushing on. Being in group therapy also gives you a chance to help others. Sometimes advising others on how to handle certain situations will indirectly teach you also. Helping others with their issues can also help you learn more about yourself and how you think which can assist tremendously in navigating life and loving yourself. Confidence is crucial, and knowing who you are builds confidence.
Promotes Social Skills
Often, it is difficult to maintain relationships while struggling with addiction. However, group therapy teaches you how to navigate life while in recovery. It surrounds you with like-minded people who care about you and your struggles. Sometimes group therapy results in lifelong friendships. Being in group therapy will provide you with social skills that you will use for the rest of your life.
Introduces You to New and Different Perspectives
Whenever we are in the midst of a conflict, it is often hard to see past our own noses, meaning it is hard to see beyond our own feelings and opinions on the issue at hand. Group therapy provides perspectives that you might not have considered before. Therefore, helping us reach a solution to the conflict we are involved in.
Group therapy is a beneficial option for clients in recovery actively seeking help. It offers many benefits that may surprise you, such as promoting social and life skills, introducing you to new perspectives on specific issues, helping you not feel alone in your suffering and battles, and feeling a part of something bigger than yourself. When seeking out help, finding a suitable facility and group that fits your personal needs is essential. Here at West Coast Recovery Centers, we provide a diverse collection of therapeutic modalities, including group therapy. Our goal is to connect you with various traditional and non-traditional recovery methods to help you navigate your personal rehabilitation journey. We want to help you or your loved one take back control of your life and sustain a long-term recovery plan with the right tools and resources, with group therapy being one of your many options. For more information about our program, call us at (760) 492-6509.