Group therapy is a cornerstone of care at West Coast Recovery Centers. It exists for a variety of reasons, one of those being preparation for post-treatment socialization.
What Is Group Therapy?
The book Group Therapy by Akshay Malhotra and Jeff Baker defines group therapy as “the treatment of multiple patients at once by one or more healthcare providers. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions. These include, but are not limited to emotional trauma, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse.” Group therapy has existed in treatment for decades and offers a safe and open environment for people to express themselves and find support, including post-treatment socialization.
What Types of Group Therapy Are There?
Group therapy exists in a variety of forms, including the following.
Traditional Group Therapy
This type of group therapy is most often associated with recovery programs. It is used for people who are attempting to come to terms with their substance use issues. Traditional group therapy helps them tackle a variety of issues in a safe and secure environment, whether it is inpatient or outpatient. In traditional group therapy, individuals:
- Receive feedback from others in treatment
- Learn to give feedback to others
- Express their true emotions
- Define what substance use means to different people
- Discover proper post-treatment socialization techniques
Creative Group Therapy
People are often familiar with traditional group therapy. Yet they may not realize that these types of groups often only help with specific aspects of mental health. For people in recovery programs, there are other aspects of mental health that are just as important as the concepts listed above.
Creative group therapy allows people to get in touch with the more emotional aspects of their issues. These can lead to a deeper understanding of their situation, how it makes them feel, and how they communicate with others on an entirely different level.
Post-Treatment Support Groups
In these groups, people have left treatment programs and are now reintegrating themselves into society. These groups exist independently or as offshoots of existing recovery programs. They are often informal, with people choosing to attend as often as they prefer. This may be multiple times a day or perhaps even once a month. They exist to help those who need an extra boost and support as they navigate their lives.
The Importance of Preparing For Post-Treatment Socialization
For people that are involved in any type of group therapy, the concept of socialization is explored in a very direct way. One of the main issues with substance use disorders (SUDs) is their ability to isolate individuals from friends and family. Because of this, people often need to be retaught how to interact with others.
It may seem trivial to some, with the general population simply seeing individuals as either antisocial or introverted. The fact is that these individuals have emotional issues caused by the continued use of illicit substances. For these people, post-treatment socialization is something they have trouble understanding and navigating.
That is why group therapy is integral to a person’s path to recovery. It is all well and good for an individual to go through detox and discuss their issues directly with a therapist. Yet the idea of sitting in a group, listening to others, and respecting opinions can be a struggle. The thought process is that group therapy combines the clinical with the social and, in doing so, helps to rebuild a well-rounded individual who is ready to conquer the next phase of their life.
Lasting Benefits of Post-Treatment Socialization Planning
When individuals are given a chance to develop their socialization skills in group therapy, they show greater promise of developing a social safety network. This means that should situations become untenable, they will be able to reach out to those around them. It also means that they will begin to establish new connections that will propel their social life and keep them active and allow them to focus on things other than their previous substance use issues.
For some people in recovery, their inability to move on to the next step may hinder a number of aspects of their life. Therefore, as they travel their path into post-treatment, they will find that the stepping stones have been placed and the signposts have been followed. It can be an entirely different scenario for those that have not had the benefits of socialization planning.
West Coast Recovery Centers is aware of the fact that everyone comes to treatment with different expectations and needs. The goal is to handle each person individually while creating an overall program that places them on an even footing.
It is important to the recovery process that people are given every opportunity to learn socialization. If they do not, there is less likelihood that they will be able to reach out to others and, therefore, a higher likelihood of relapse. While relapses do happen, proper socialization mixed with effective group therapy can have lasting effects that will assist people for the rest of their lives.
Group therapy is the cornerstone of most inpatient and outpatient recovery programs. It often brings together people with issues socializing, teaching them to be themselves in a normal social situation. West Coast Recovery Centers puts group therapy at the forefront of its programs. We believe that one of the critical parts of reentering a post-treatment society is socialization. Our goal is to bring people together to discuss their current issues and what they may face during the next phase of their process. We take on the stigmas with gusto, allowing clients to express themselves and their concerns. For more information about West Coast Recovery Centers, call us today at (760) 492-6509.