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Why is Group Therapy So Important for Addiction Treatment?

Millions of people struggle with substance abuse and addiction in the United States. The consequences of an untreated addiction can be overwhelming. People can suffer serious damage to their mental and physical health, get into legal or financial trouble, and become isolated from the people they love the most.

People who live with addiction often feel lonely. They may push away the people they care about or hide parts of their lives to keep the addiction a secret. The addiction may also cause strain in relationships that take work to repair.

It is almost impossible to have healthy, fulfilling relationships of any kind when you live with an addiction. Getting addiction treatment can help you learn the skills you need to overcome your addiction and move towards healthier, more sustainable habits.

There are many different forms of addiction treatment and several levels of care offered. One common part of many addiction treatment plans is group therapy. If you have never participated in group substance abuse counseling, the idea of sharing details about your addiction in a group setting may seem intimidating.

If you or someone you love require addiction treatment, it can be helpful to learn as much about what will happen so you can feel as comfortable and engaged in treatment as possible.

What Happens During Group Therapy in Addiction Treatment?

You might have an idea of what group therapy is like based on what you’ve seen on TV or in movies. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to group therapy in addiction treatment programs, groups involve a wide variety of activities and approaches.

First, the name says it all: group therapy happens in a group. The size of the group depends on the type of program or the treatment facility. A group therapy session might involve education about coping skills, cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques, or community recovery resources. People may share their stories, provide feedback to one another, and offer support.

It’s normal to feel a little unsure about sharing your experiences with addiction with strangers. Your feelings and emotions matter. The goal of group counseling is to create an intimate community of peers who share some similar experiences and can offer unique support to each other. In time, the people in the group feel less like strangers and more like trusted friends.

What Are the Benefits of Group Substance Abuse Counseling?

Having the support of a group of people who have similar experiences can take away the feeling that you are alone in your addiction. For people who have been isolated or do not have support from friends or family, this can be especially powerful. Everyone benefits from hearing the experiences of people who have overcome their addiction and hearing the experiences of people working towards recovery.

Other benefits of group counseling include:[1]

  • Increased feelings of self-confidence and self-worth
  • Support of a community
  • Learning how to hear and accept feedback
  • An outlet for thoughts and feelings about addiction and substance abuse
  • A non-judgmental atmosphere
  • Diversity
  • Ability to see addiction and recovery from other points of view
  • The chance to rebuild trust in others
  • Behavioral changes
  • Learning how to relate to others

While it might feel uncomfortable in the beginning, as the benefits of participating in group therapy start to emerge, you will likely come to consider this group therapy a vital part of your recovery journey.

What Are Common Types of Group Therapy in Addiction Treatment?

While group therapy does sometimes happen in the same way it is portrayed on TV, there are also many other forms that it can take. Group substance abuse counseling can take place in many settings. It is an important part of inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment.

Group therapy in addiction treatment can be:

  • Large group meetings where people take turns sharing their stories and listening to peers
  • An educational meeting led by an addiction or mental health professional
  • 12-Step meetings or 12-Step facilitation therapy
  • Support meetings led by a peer in recovery
  • Holistic therapy groups–this may include yoga, art or music therapy, nutrition education, hiking/outdoor recreation, or sober events like concerts or parties

Group therapy can happen in a variety of settings and can be tailored to meet your unique needs. For many people, the support of a community is a vital part of their addiction treatment plan.

Find Help Today

If you or someone you love is living with an addiction or struggling with substance abuse, you do not have to carry this burden alone. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery journey, reach out to the staff at the Mandala Healing Center. We offer carefully-designed programs that can be tailored to meet your unique needs.

If you have been waiting to get the help you need, don’t put off this life-changing decision for one more day. To speak with one of our compassionate staff about starting treatment, please contact us today.