How Does Group Therapy Work?

How Does Group Therapy Work?

Do you have a loved one going through treatment for addiction who is reluctant to try group therapy? Are you aware of the many benefits of group therapy? Most recovering individuals undergo a therapeutic one-on-one process with therapists and counselors during treatment. Individual therapy ensures that therapists and counselors conduct a thorough review of a patient’s personal history and particular needs. Receiving one-on-one attention from the therapist can be very helpful, and the patient’s privacy is also protected.

While individual therapy is a standard practice for those in addiction recovery, group therapy in the form of one health professional leading a group of patients into discussion and conversations is also a critical stepping stone in the recovery process. They provide people in recovery with a community of supportive peers who can empathize with their situation. Individual and group therapies can play complementary roles in supporting someone in recovery.

What Are the Benefits of Group Therapy?

People going through addiction treatment can benefit from group therapy as it provides a space for interacting with peers who share similar experiences and offer emotional support. Sharing similar experiences of addiction and recovery assures participants of group therapy that they are not alone in these struggles.

Sharing one’s experiences with others who have had similar problems is considered therapeutic by itself. Facilitators of group therapy should provide a safe space for individuals who may otherwise be hesitant to discuss their feelings. Many recovering individuals struggle with their feelings, so being able to verbalize these can be life-changing.

Members of therapy groups have the opportunity to both receive and give emotional support to others. This helps build a sense of individual agency throughout the process. Sharing support is part of building strong social bonds. Participants can relearn communication and socialization skills, and some can even make breakthroughs in their recovery journey. Therapy groups are also a good source of accountability.

Why Types of Group Therapy Are There?

Depending on people’s mental health conditions and the clinical methods used by therapists, group therapy can be categorized into different types. For example, cognitive-behavioral groups center on identifying and changing distorted thinking patterns and behaviors, while skills development groups focus on improving socialization skills in people with mental health issues or disabilities.

Among the many different types of group therapy, the most widely adopted program in many addiction treatment centers is the 12-step group. This is a more interpersonal support group focusing on shared experiences and social interactions. In a 12-step group meeting, participants will gather with the chairs arranged in a large circle so that all members can see every other person in the group. The genius of the 12-step group is that it follows a logical progression founded on proven principles of honesty, humility, and self-control.

The 12-step group allows certain members to serve as role models for new members of the group. Because everyone is on a different journey towards recovery, observing how a fellow group member successfully copes with a problem can offer hope for recovery. This is also a place to celebrate small victories. As each person progresses, they can support others. This fosters feelings of collective accomplishment and social identification.

What Does Good Peer Support Look Like?

Good group therapy provides peer support which protects attendees from a sense of isolation during the long journey of recovery. Good peer support comes from a safe space where members feel comfortable sharing and addressing personal struggles. Group therapy promotes giving advice and encouragement to others.

There may be hiccups or awkwardness when a group first forms and people get to know each other in the beginning, but as time goes on, a good peer support group will grow stronger together to withstand pressure and meet with challenges. Again, group therapy is not just individual therapy in a group; it has its own processes and strategies. It takes a community of committed members to make a therapy group into a strong peer support group.

A good group therapy sets people’s expectations upfront. Group leaders should remind participants that it may take weeks or even months to feel the benefits of being in a group and to see true change. There should also be ground rules to protect privacy, individuality, mutual respect, and to build cohesion.

What Are the Steps to Join a Therapy Group?

Because there are many types of group therapy that address different needs, the best way to find a group to join is to consult a physician or personal therapist for a recommendation of the best type according to one’s needs and mental health condition. They can help patients take the steps to get them involved in the group as well.

One should consider whether they want to be in an open or closed group therapy session. Open group therapies can constantly add new members, while closed group therapy sessions are attended by only a core group of members.

Are you aware of the benefits of group therapy? Are you hesitant to share with a group of strangers about your experiences in treatment and recovery? Many people frown upon joining a good therapy group. The truth is, every recovering individual needs a strong recovery community. Group therapy is a great way to build a support system, which is critical for long-term recovery. If you want to learn more about how to make the best use of group therapy to take advantage of continued care, accountability, and a support group, talk with a recovery specialist at Laguna Shores Recovery. Our licensed mental healthcare professionals and therapists can answer your questions. We also offer diagnosis, behavioral therapies, 12-step programs, and customized treatment plans. Our 12-step group is a proven method of group therapy in the field. Call us at (866) 906-3203. You can become a part of a strong recovery community today.