When it comes to treatment for substance use disorder, there is no method that is tailor-fit to every type of person. The beauty of humanity is that every person is a unique work of art. Every patient that walks through our doors at New Directions for Women comes from a different background. There is, however, one thing that connects them all: their desire to get better. Because of this, we can evaluate each individual and recognize how they respond to different forms of treatment. One example of the individualized treatment we offer is group therapy for addictions.
What is Group Therapy for Addictions?
Group therapy for addictions is a type of therapy in which individuals come together to discuss their substance abuse and its impact on the health of their families and loved ones. These group therapy sessions are overseen and mediated by professional therapists. This is necessary because in group settings individuals have a hard time discerning the direction of conversation with a topic like addiction. Professional therapists and psychiatrists are quite skilled when it comes to communication, especially when it comes to heavy subjects like substance abuse.
Understanding and acceptance are at the forefront of what is done in group therapy. Everybody comes from a place of struggle, and those who participate are welcomed with an environment of trust and care because, without it, the wounds from the struggle can never be healed.
How Does Group Therapy Work?
Like other forms of treatment, group therapy has a very specific structure to it. When attending group therapy, patients meet in a common area together where chairs are formed in a circle. This method reflects that of a Socratic seminar where everyone can see each other.
As far as what people share in a group therapy session is concerned, it’s similar to what they might share if an individual therapy session were taking place. Individuals might share their experiences with substance abuse with the group, or they might even bring up things from their past that could contribute to the way in which they view the world around them. Not only that, but they may also share their progress or regression since their last session. In group therapy, the agenda for the day usually depends on the goals of the group.
In addition to all of this, the agenda for a group therapy session could depend upon the therapist. Those who conduct group therapy sessions typically facilitate the conversation either to get the ball rolling or provoke thought. Sometimes this all depends on what the individuals are willing to share, but other times the questions could be pointed. Another aspect of group therapy are the activities and exercises that help individuals develop new coping skills.
What Are the Benefits of Group Therapy for Addictions?
Substance abuse treatment offers many benefits to those who are suffering from addiction. Group therapy has a lot to offer in terms of how it benefits individuals involved in substance abuse treatment. People who participate are able to unite with others who have the same goals in mind. When people are able to unite against a common enemy, it makes their chances of success much more likely. This provides individuals with hope, a benefit that can’t be measured in dollars and cents.
You Don’t Feel Alone
One of the worst things about suffering from addiction is how alone and defenseless you can end up feeling. Group therapy for addictions allows individuals to feel as though they are no longer alone in their struggle with substance abuse. This allows them to feel a sense of validation, like what they’re going through is real, and it happens to more people than just them. This strengthens an individual’s resolve to push forward and overcome their substance use disorder.
During group therapy, a strong bond forms; it’s almost as though the individuals who participate have formed a tight-knit family. Sharing the most intimate parts of yourself (i.e. your struggles) is not an easy task, but there is something about it that strengthens bonds between individuals.
Group therapy, individual therapy, and any other kind of addiction treatment method are not a walk in the park. These processes open old wounds that had before been closed. This process may seem absurd and not beneficial, but this is the answer for a long-term solution. The long-term benefits of sobriety and stability outweigh the pain at the moment.
One of the more obvious benefits to group therapy is developing a strong support system. This is important for any individual, and nobody is beyond having support around them. Having a group of individuals holding you accountable is one of the greatest gifts anybody can receive. When people are held accountable by others around them that share the same struggles, it equips them with yet another tool to combat their substance use disorder when life tends to get in the way. This is referred to as a coping mechanism.
Coping mechanisms are an imperative part of the recovery journey. Most individuals involved in these programs have used dangerous coping mechanisms in the past like drug or alcohol abuse, which is precisely why they’re there in the first place. When people develop better coping mechanisms, they can combat their addiction successfully when they are confronted with difficult circumstances.
Exposure to Different Perspectives
In addition to all of this is the benefit of diversity. Everybody in treatment comes from a different background. At New Directions for Women, we value the past experiences that our patients have had, and how they are all different from one another. These individuals all develop more healthy coping mechanisms that are all different from each other, and recognizing this could help patients develop their own coping methods to fight their addiction.
Other Types of Therapy
Therapy is an important part of the rehab journey; that is undeniable. In fact, therapy has a way of being the one method that propels patients forward on their road to recovery. Obviously, group therapy is not the only kind of therapy. There are many other different forms of therapy that help an individual to recover from their addiction:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
Individual therapy is a therapeutic method that focuses more on the patient as an individual than anything else. This method is a lot more intimate and allows for the patient to have all of the attention as opposed to sharing it in a group setting. Some people require this kind of attention because they don’t perform well in group settings. The purpose of individual therapy is to help strengthen patients on a more private level. This way an entire group isn’t constantly hearing and monitoring the individual’s past experiences and progress.
Individual therapy helps patients shift their perspective and way in which they view the world around them to a healthier place. This shift in perspective allows someone to improve their coping mechanisms in order that they have a harder time falling into relapse. Therapists give patients a safe and closed environment where they can throw off their emotional baggage and allow somebody to help them carry their load.
Family therapy is a form of treatment that is almost similar to group therapy but unique in its own way. However, the biggest difference is that this method is geared towards improving an individual’s health by involving their family members directly. Oftentimes the concept of addiction communicates the hardships of one individual, but the truth is it’s not just one person who’s been impacted. The families and loved ones of those who are addicted are also suffering.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a method of treatment in which the focus is evaluating someone’s thought processes, feelings, and actions in order to heal them from their mental illness. This method takes into account the way in which a patient perceives the world around them.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy focuses on treating the following disorders:
- Substance abuse
- Borderline personality disorder
Dialectical behavior therapy is a kind of cognitive behavioral therapy that fixates on helping individuals develop better coping mechanisms. Therapists do this through skills training, individualized therapy, and team consultation. This helps individuals who suffer primarily from personality disorders, and a wide range of other behavioral disorders. The end all be all of this method of therapy is that it evaluates the thought processes of each patient and with that information, helps them overcome their mental illness.
Get the Help You Need at New Directions for Women
Our primary goal at New Directions for Women is to evaluate each patient that comes through our doors to give them the best-individualized care. When it comes to the uniqueness of each patient’s circumstance, they could require a plethora of different options, one of which includes group therapy. This, however, is dependent upon how the patient responds to the care offered to them. If you or a loved one suffer from an addiction and would like to learn more, contact us today.