Substance Abuse Group Therapy
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One of the top reasons that people resist substance abuse group therapy is that they believe they can beat their addiction on their own.
The truth is that, while possible, recovery without support is incredibly difficult.
Types of Support for Substance Abuse
Social support during recovery can come from family members and friends, an individual therapist, or other individuals in recovery.
These communities can be reached in local group meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), through online support forums, or in treatment programs that incorporate group therapy.
Group therapy for substance abuse involves one or more therapists addressing anywhere from a few to a dozen clients at one time. These groups may focus on specific aspects of recovery or treatment modalities.
For example, those participating in Tranquil & Quest, will attend groups on topics such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Relapse Prevention.
As is the case with Tranquil & Quest, it is not uncommon for people to receive individual therapy as well as group therapy during addiction treatment.
Benefits of Substance Abuse Group Therapy
First, consider the benefits of social support, in general. According to a 2006 journal article, social support serves two main functions: indirect stress relief and direct assistance.
Cherry lists 15 major takeaways that Yalom observed from patients who participated in group therapy. (Read full list and article here.)
In addition to the component of skills education in many support groups, individuals learn from others and their stories. Which experiences or aspects of recovery were most difficult, and how did others successfully cope?
Not only will members of the group be able to emulate these experiences, but also to avoid those that were unsuccessful.
Further, individuals will learn more about themselves as they hear feedback from their therapists and fellow group members.
Confidence and Hope
“[A] group contains members at different stages of the treatment process. Seeing people who are coping or recovering gives hope to those at the beginning of the process.” -Kendra Cherry, About.com
In addition to addressing recovery techniques and individual struggles, group therapy often encourages individuals to identify their strengths and accomplishments.
Members of a group can help individuals to identify their own strengths, and provide them with the encouragement and confidence they need to believe in themselves and their recovery.
Stemming from Greek terms for “cleanse” and “pure,” catharsis is the complete release of emotions. There is a science to the relief that people feel after “venting” with someone, and it’s the same science involved in talk therapy.
The American Psychological Association (APA) lists seeking social interaction or support as one of its five tips for managing stress. A group therapy session offers confidentiality and validation by providing a safe space to share thoughts and feelings.
Acceptance and Belonging
For individuals struggling with addiction, a group setting shows them that they are not alone in their emotions and experiences. Groups provide a community one can feel that they are a part of; a place where they fit in and are accepted.
For more information and questions to consider before joining or attending a substance abuse group therapy session, check out the American Psychological Association’s (APA) page here.
For a full list of Tranquil & Quest’s substance abuse treatment groups, click here.