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Five Ways Group Therapy is Effective for Treating Addiction

Three young people standing together outside of a treatment facility

Three young people standing together outside of a treatment facility

Alpine Recovery Lodge helps people regain their independence. We offer an individualized approach to treating addiction.

But, drug recovery doesn’t end after rehabilitation or an inpatient treatment program. It’s an ongoing struggle that addicts will deal with for their remainder of their lives.

We understand the desire to increase your chances of recovery. People always ask if there are resources that are available after detox or inpatient treatment. It’s essential that addicts continue to explore ways to cope with their urges. This includes group therapy.

If you or someone that you know suffers from addiction, then discover the advantages of therapy in a group setting. Here are five ways that group therapy is effective for treating addiction.

#1 – Group Therapy Helps You Realize That You’re Not Alone

One of the main benefits of group therapy is that it helps you realize that you’re not alone.

The peer support that you receive cannot be matched. You get to share your experiences with a group of people that understand what you’re going through. They can sympathize with your struggle in a way that other people can’t.

Realizing that you’re not alone can help deal with one of the biggest challenges of addiction – the isolation. Substance abuse tends to lead to a sense of isolation that makes it difficult to resume a normal, productive life.

When you connect with people that are dealing with the same issues, you realize that you’re not alone. The sense of isolation begins to get replaced with a sense of hope.

Along with this isolation, it’s easy to become focused on your own impulses, thoughts, and problems. Yet, many of the people in your group will be going through the same thing.

With repeat visits, along with support from group members and group leaders, there is continual encouragement to attend these group sessions. There is also a commitment from all members to attend these sessions. Not only do you want the support of others, but you also don’t want to disappoint them by not showing up.

This support and encouragement make it easier to stick with the program, and users are more likely to continue attending a group therapy rehab session. During these sessions, users will also begin to see things in a new light…

#2 – Group Therapy Can Help You See From a New Perspective

The fact that everyone is different and has different experiences can be incredibly beneficial. In a group setting, you can see things from a new perspective.

When you attend a group therapy session, you will hear experiences, problems, and stories from someone else’s point of view. This can give you new insight into your own problems.

Learning more about other people’s problems can also provide inspiration. Not everyone will be at the same stage of recovery. There may be individuals that have maintained their sobriety for years.

By paying attention to what these people say, it’s possible to learn new coping techniques and find inspiration that you too can remain sober.

Remember, there is a sense of isolation that goes hand in hand with addiction. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own head. You may not want to open your eyes to what’s going on around you.

When you get stuck seeing things from your own isolated perspective, it’s harder to look at the big picture. It’s more difficult to have hope.

Group therapy provides a direct contrast to this problem. With this new perspective, you may see your problems in a different way. You can find solutions where previously you only saw obstacles.

Also, when you hear drug abuse stories from others in the group, you are more likely to take the details of their story seriously. This is someone that has gone through a somewhat similar experience and is sharing details of what they went through.

You can often find ways to relate their stories to your own condition. Drug abuse stories can provide insight, encouragement, or fear. The fear of repeating the same actions as others offers additional motivation to remain clean.

The sharing of these stories does more than just give you a new perspective. You are also more likely to share your own experiences. This can help improve confidence and self-esteem, while also teaching new social skills…

#3 – Group Therapy Can Help Teach New Social Skills

Dealing with the real world can be a challenge for recovering addicts. After years of struggling with addiction, some people lose touch with certain social skills and behaviors.

Our behavior is directly influenced by the behavior of our peers. For this reason, a group therapy session is a healthy environment to begin relearning these social skills.

You learn how to relate to people again. At the same time, you also learn how to relate to yourself. This can really open your eyes to the inter-connectivity of people. You’ll begin to see the importance of sharing and socializing again.

Along with social skills, you can learn other skills. This includes skills to avoid engaging in destructive behavior. For example, you may learn how to avoid seeking out drugs or how to replace your old habits with healthy, new habits.

These skills may be acquired based on experiences shared by others in the group or with the help of trained professionals. When an experienced counselor or therapist is in charge of the therapy session, they can provide suggestions and advice for treating addiction in the real world.

A trained professional may offer techniques that limit the chances of relapse. For example, there is a technique called DEADS. This is an acronym that offers steps for dealing with drug cravings and urges. Each letter stands for one step in the approach:

  • Delay – most cravings need to be waited out
  • Escape – get away from the situation or negative environment
  • Accept – accept that your cravings are natural and will eventually pass
  • Dispute – dispute the need for your cravings and urges
  • Substitute – substitute your cravings with an activity or thought

That is just one of many methods that are often explored during these group therapy sessions. You will hear about these various methods and listen to others explain what worked and what hasn’t. You can even share your own experiences about what worked for you.

#4 – Group Therapy Provides a Safe Environment for Sharing

People are more willing to share when they are surrounded by their peers. You can share details that you might be too embarrassed or guilty to share with family or friends. Yet, these thoughts and experiences need to be brought to the light of day.

When you bury your emotions, you are more likely to withdraw. You’re less likely to accept help or realize that help is available. These issues can lead to relapse.

Luckily, we’ve found that most people are able to open up and share their thoughts and feelings in a group setting. The structure and formal setting of a group therapy session make the experience feel a little less personal.

It’s easier for some people to open up in these types of settings, compared to a one-on-one counselor or therapy session. By sharing your experiences with others, not only are you letting your emotions out, but you are also addressing your concerns, doubts, and fears.

When you share, then others can present their own ideas and opinions, along with encouragement. At the same time, you may be able to find strength in sharing your personal experiences.

Sharing your drug abuse stories could help someone else that is going through the same thing. You can give and receive support.

#5 – Group Therapy is Suitable for All Forms of Addiction

Group therapy is an effective solution for treating addiction of all types. This includes illegal drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and opiates, along with addictions to stimulants, depressants, or pain medication.

The truth is, all addictions share a common trait – the effect that it has on your brain. There is a compulsion to continue this destructive behavior, even when you know that it’s bad for your mental and physical health.

If you or someone that you know is suffering from any type of addiction, then group therapy could be the right option after rehab or detox. Though, it’s just one of many types of drug treatment available.

Group Therapy is One of Many Resources for Treating Addiction

There are many different forms of group therapy. There are self-help groups, often using the 12-step program. These groups may have a leader, but the group is self-governing. Examples of this include NA (narcotics anonymous) meetings.

Other group therapy sessions might be led by a trained professional. These sessions give the opportunity for continued outpatient treatment. This can be part of a complete recovery plan.

At Alpine Recovery Lodge in Utah, we recommend that our patients continue to seek support, even after leaving our personalized treatment programs.

Group therapy offers numerous advantages. It can help you realize that you’re not alone. It provides support and decreases your chance of relapsing.

The bottom line is that group therapy helps people develop the skills needed to cope with their addiction. It’s a safety net that can provide support and insight. But, group therapy is just one of many possible treatment options.

In addition to group therapy, individuals suffering from addiction should consider a rehabilitation program if they’re still using. Getting the substance out of your system is one of the first steps in conquering an addiction.

The use of private treatment facilities, such as the inpatient programs available at Alpine Recovery Lodge in Utah, can give you the optimal setting for going through withdrawal and learning some of the skills that will help you avoid relapsing.

For those that are trying to get by in the real world and continue to struggle with cravings, group therapy offers beneficial support. After you’ve gotten the drugs out of your system, you still need to deal with the cravings and urges.

Whether you’re currently in treatment or having trouble fighting your urges, you should look for a drug abuse therapy group that you can join.

Thank you for reading. You now know the benefits of group therapy and how it can be an effective method for treating addiction.

If you enjoyed this, please remember to share it with others. Use the social media sharing buttons to share this with your friends or family members – or take the next step and start looking for a group therapy session in your area.