For most clients entering a rehab treatment facility, this significant life change brings some fear. That natural fear often relates to particular aspects of rehab, such as detox and therapies. For many, group therapy is the most intimidating. But those same people go on to enjoy the benefits of our addiction group therapy sessions and even seek to maintain their peers’ mutual support long after rehab here in Palm Springs, CA.
What is Group Therapy?
Addiction group therapy refers to a therapy setting in which multiple individuals discuss their past experiences and the feelings they associate with said experiences. It is meant to reduce stigma while encouraging those struggling with addiction and mental illness to communicate honestly with others. This form of open dialogue is crucial in cultivating a sense of comradeship and belonging among clients. It also sets them up to make long-lasting bonds, so that they can continue to support one another after treatment has ended. These sessions are conducted by a licensed counselor or therapist that keeps the discussion moving and constructive. Participants are meant to leave sessions with the understanding that they are not alone and that there are many people who have their backs.
Why Do I Need Addiction Group Therapy for Recovery?
Group therapy is one of the best methods for treating addiction, especially alongside trauma-informed care. Current group therapy programs use a variety of methods and approaches. These include educational sessions, in which you learn about addiction. You also learn about co-occurring mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, or trauma.
Some of the education of your group therapy program involves learning coping skills as part of relapse prevention. After all, your biggest goal in recovery is to maintain that recovery. This means staying sober. To stay sober, you must know what potential relapse looks like and how to stop it.
Peer Support and Relationships
Group therapy also involves bonding with your peers in treatment. Rehab programs seem like a forced environment of widely varied personality types, at first. But in group counseling, you quickly find common ground with your peers. You learn to support each other, communicate better, and even lean on the people around you when you need to do so.
From your peers, you learn what works in recovery and where others suffer setbacks. This helps you make informed decisions in your own life. You soon find yourself using what you learn in your group therapy program as part of your daily life and even as you build new relationships.
Of course, group sessions also delve into why you started abusing drugs or alcohol in the first place. Sometimes this self-discovery and growth feel uncomfortable. But as you maintain your course and engage in your group therapy, you start seeing changes.
The Benefits of Group Therapy for Substance Addiction
Group therapy has been a core substance abuse treatment method for many decades and has been proven to be very successful. Listed below are a few benefits of group therapy that can help people during substance addiction treatment:
- Peer support. This is one of the main benefits of group therapy. Members will have many other peers who can cheer them on and help them achieve their drug and alcohol addiction recovery goals.
- Hearing other perspectives. Other group members may bring up challenges they are dealing with, which you can also relate to. While you only see the problem from your perspective, seeing it from somebody else’s may give your issue a new light. Suddenly, your challenge becomes a group challenge with an easy solution.
- Practicing skills learned. Group therapy programs are a great way to experiment with new behaviors. Members can try out new ways of relating and thinking in their group environment before applying these in the real world. Members will also quickly discontinue thinking that they are alone and have nobody that can relate to them. At this point, all the members will realize they do share a lot of similar experiences.
- Working with others. Working with a drug or alcohol addiction group is one of the more natural ways to overcome problems like addiction. Members work together with each other and with their families. Humanity was meant to learn and grow in the presence of others, and therefore therapy follows these principles.
Where to Attend Addiction Group Therapy
Once a decision has been made to participate, the next question is where to find a drug and alcohol addiction group therapy program. Both residential treatment centers and outpatient rehab centers will offer many forms of group therapy programs that address substance abuse and other issues members are dealing with.
Other forms of group therapy are 12-step programs offered by groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. These groups will typically be held at numerous locations and times, so members can always find them conveniently.
Additionally, group therapy programs may also include:
- Art therapy
- Body image and nutrition groups
- Life coaching
- Mood disorders
- Process groups
- Relationship skills
- Yoga therapy
Between your addiction treatment team and therapist, you will find which benefits of group therapy will be the most effective for your recovery.
Group Therapy Models
Those participating in group therapy know that there are five separate models of group sessions you may enroll in. A proficient and knowledgeable treatment specialist and group therapy model can offer significant benefits, but each specific model will fit each particular need. Therefore, some group therapy programs will use several models during the meetings as they shift from one model to another.
This form of group therapy’s primary focus is to educate members on mental health, substance use, related behaviors, and consequences. These meetings are held in a classroom-like setting, and the material will be presented through either lecture, audio, or video format.
Psychoeducational groups are helpful for many scenarios as they teach members:
- To understand the impact of substance abuse
- About addiction, the obstacles of recovery, and how to live a sober lifestyle
- Skills like meditation, healthy eating, relaxation, and anger management
Skill Development Groups
In these groups, the leader will act as a teacher. The material presented will be more specific to members of the group and their particular needs. Skill development groups are more structured on the members communicating with each other than only the leader talking to them.
Skill development group sessions will center on skills that contribute to the members’ ability to remain sober. Potential skill development group topics include:
- How to handle triggers when they come around
- How to interact and communicate positively with others
- Changing the way you respond to anger
- Enhancing parenting skills
- Managing financial obligations
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Groups
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based therapy style that treats patients with the assumption that negative behaviors are acquired and strengthened over time. Modifying these behaviors means the patient must change their thoughts, feelings, and actions that contribute to substance abuse. Users beat themselves up by telling themselves they’re not strong enough to get clean. By altering negative thoughts and feelings, the patient can begin the changes required to support recovery.
To achieve these changes, cognitive-behavioral therapy groups will:
- Identify group members distorted beliefs and negative behaviors
- Educate and encourage new thought and behavioral patterns
- Administer relapse prevention education
A support group’s primary focus is to offer understanding and care to all group members. This support comes from the group leader and is passed on from each member to another. The group leader will help each member to improve their interpersonal skills while sharing experiences, engaging in group discussions, and assisting other members with the challenges they face.
The treatment therapist will illustrate the level of communication, model respectful conversation, and provide positive support.
Interpersonal Process Groups
Interpersonal process groups strive to heal group members through psychodynamics, meaning how they operate psychologically. The group leader will take notes and process:
- How each group member feels working in the group
- How the group members are communicating with each other
- How the group members perform as a whole
A focus is on childhood concerns and emotional development that, when remaining unresolved, lead to impulsivity, bad decision-making, and harmful coping skills. However, it’s possible to improve their judgment by resolving these issues through treatment.
With interpersonal group therapy, the content covered in each therapy session is secondary. Instead, the group leader observes how each group member is behaving and socializing in the present and how their past impacts their present.
Begin Addiction Group Therapy in Palm Springs, CA
Phoenix Rising Recovery in Palm Springs, CA provides quality treatment and a secure environment to help you build stable sobriety and long-lasting recovery. Our programs include a wide range of support, education, and therapeutic modalities.
You are capable of building a new life with the fresh mindset and knowledge you gain through group sessions. Contact us to learn more about this therapy and the brighter future that waits for you.