A long-time staple of treatment for substance use disorders, group therapy allows clients to learn from each other and improve communication skills. This format allows a therapist to see how clients react to others, and it can be a great supplement to individual therapy.
So why exactly is it so effective? Here’s the science behind it.
In group therapy, one or more therapists usually lead a group of three to four people in a guided discussion. Some groups are known to be as large as 12 clients.
The exact timeline of treatment varies according to individual needs, but it’s typical to remain in group therapy for anywhere from six months to a year.
There are variations to these sessions. Usually, the same group of clients meets with the same therapist on an ongoing basis. This helps to foster trust within the group.
The format will vary depending on the therapist leading the discussion. Oftentimes, the therapist highlights a particular topic for the session and gives clients a chance to discuss their individual struggles. Some therapists allow for more of an open discussion format, whereas others keep the discussion more focused.
Group therapy is very common. You might receive it in hospitals, mental health clinics, community centers, or private clinics.
There are times when it is used on its own, but it is usually part of a comprehensive recovery plan. Oftentimes, group therapy is the primary form of therapy used in addiction treatment programs.
Group therapy is a blanket term for various kinds of group counseling.
In all group therapies, a counselor will notice your visual cues and body language. They will see how you interact with a group, as what you do in a group dynamic often mimics what you would do in the outside world.
If you believe that group therapy and support groups are the same thing, you’re not alone. The major difference between group therapy and support groups is that support groups are not led by a professional. They are led by a member of the group.
While support groups can be a vital form of ongoing support, they aren’t a substitute for therapy.
The goal of a support group is to provide a form of emotional support to people who are dealing with a shared problem. Support groups are led by people who are going through the same thing, whether that is substance misuse, depression, or a loss of some kind.
Support groups are a healthy way to explore emotions with people who will understand how you feel. The environment is often more dynamic than an individual session with a doctor or health care practitioner.
Participants often form strong relationships with people from their support groups. Some groups promote this with the sponsor/sponsee structure, where a more seasoned group member assists a new member. Participants can then reach out to other group members when they are struggling, and this instant support can be key to avoiding relapse.
As with group therapy, you can find support groups in a variety of scenarios. Meetings may be held in churches, hospitals, and community facilities. They may be held in person, over the phone, or even online. When appropriate, facilitators might invite a guest doctor, nurse, or other qualified professional to speak on relevant issues. Most often, however, a member of the group will speak during meetings.
Since group therapy is actually therapy, you’re likely to experience more personal growth in these sessions than in support group meetings. You’ll benefit from working directly with a therapist.
Ultimately, both group therapy and support group participation can greatly help your overall recovery process. They don’t replace each other, but they can complement each other nicely.
A plan for recovery from substance abuse will include more than group therapy and support groups. Your recovery plan must be tailored to your needs to ensure the best chances of sustained sobriety.
Group therapy and individual therapy are both effective in treating addiction and mental health issues; you just have to choose which one will best suit your individual needs.
Although group therapy and individual therapy both provide confidentiality, this is more easily maintained in individual therapy. This mode of therapy can also be offered at a pace that is convenient for you. People who prefer one-on-one attention may also prefer individual therapy since group therapy is shared with other people.
On the other hand, more extroverted people may prefer group therapy, as it allows them to interact with others and share similar experiences. Group therapy also offers many perspectives instead of just one, which can open your mind to new ways of thinking.
We suggest trying out individual therapy along with group therapy since they can both provide you with different things. When you arrive at Footprints, speak with one of our staff members to find out which type of therapy is best for you.
Group therapy is likely to be a major part of your overall recovery plan. If you have any reservations or questions about it, ask your case manager or supervising therapist.
Group therapy is only one component of our comprehensive treatment plan at Footprints. Contact one of our representatives for a free consultation on what kind of addiction treatment would work best for you. You don’t have to recover from substance abuse alone. Our licensed medical staff can provide you with everything you need to have a comfortable and effective experience here.