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For many people, the group therapy phase of addiction treatment is the most difficult, as well as the most therapeutic. During substance abuse group counseling, people are expected to bear their souls to a therapist and a collection of peers. Not so easy!
Many therapists will agree that substance abuse group counseling is one of the most effective means of achieving sobriety. The ability to be around other people going through similar struggles, as well as the ability to express one’s feelings are priceless benefits for those in recovery.
The strength, wisdom, and experience of the group, allow those involved to discover fresh ways to avoid relapse. This article will illustrate the benefits of substance abuse group counseling, how it works and what a typical session would consist of.
Why Is Substance Abuse Group Counseling So Effective?
For some people going through substance abuse recovery, group therapy is even more effective than individual therapy, which, as the name implies, is therapy between one person and one therapist.
We are social creatures. Human nature finds comfort and solace in the congregation. A need for human contact is an innate biological trait inside every human.
Any congregation of people, swapping stories and offering guidance, and expressing sympathy with each other is beneficial. But substance abuse and group therapy is a particularly good match. The following reasons explain why someone who abused drugs or alcohol is more likely to remain sober by attending group therapy.
After an individual decides to become sober, a massive void could fill their souls. Consumption of drugs or alcohol was such a big part of their lives. A life without these substances seems empty. Many of those in substance abuse recovery, discover that group therapy fills this void. The euphoria caused by drugs and alcohol is replaced by hearing successful stories of recovery, and the anticipation of telling a success story of their own. In essence, these rewards motivate those in substance abuse group counseling to stay sober.
As noted earlier, if someone is going through rehab, chances are, they have disassociated themselves from their previous friends. Suddenly, they are surrounded by a supportive network of fellow substance abusers rehabilitators. Meeting with the same people, session after session, will deepen the relationship, and strengthen the will to remain sober.
Some people meet in groups for the sole purpose of improving their communication skills. The long road of substance abuse rehabilitation can make people feel isolated, and shun social interaction. Substance abuse group counseling will sharpen communication skills, like making eye contact while speaking, allowing the speaker to complete their thoughts before interrupting and speaking clearly, and providing relevant information to the topic at hand.
Types Of Group Substance Abuse Counseling
There are 5 general models of group substance abuse counseling that we utilize at Lifetime Recovery in New Jersey. They include the following:
Substance abuse, in general, is the topic of discussion in these groups. By learning about addiction and mental health issues, an individual is better prepared to stay sober.
Interpersonal Process Groups
These groups are about the interpersonal communication between the group members. With the therapist at the helm, group members voice their concerns and problems, and then peers give possible solutions.
Skill Development Groups
These groups hone the skills, such as relapse-prevention tools, needed to achieve sobriety.
Patterns of thinking that cause addiction is redefined in these groups. Group members are taught how to recognize cognitive patterns that may lead to self-destructive behavior.
Support groups provide peer support. Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the best-known support groups. Support groups may not have a leading counselor or therapist.
What Is The Difference Between Support Groups And Substance Abuse Group Counseling?
At first glance, a support group may look a lot like group therapy. After all, both meetings would be a group of people sitting in chairs, probably in a large circle. Closer inspection, however, would reveal two distinctly different meetings. The big difference is that support groups have no licensed leader guiding the discourse. Also, group therapy may be about specific recovery topics, like how to avoid triggers or how to deal with work.
Both support groups and group therapy are very beneficial. But without a therapist, support groups are more about providing emotional support, while group therapy is more about analyzing life from a different perspective. One could attend group therapy sessions for six months up to a year. Support groups, however, could last decades.
What Does A Substance Abuse Group Counseling Session Look Like?
A typical substance abuse group counseling session will consist of one therapist, or maybe two, leading a group of people in a guided discourse about substance abuse-related topics. The counseling is either open or closed. In an open session, people could join at any time. In a closed session, the same people attend the sessions from beginning to end.
The therapist(s) leading the session, is usually licensed and trained in conducting group therapy. The therapist sets the group’s guidelines and rules. The productivity of the session is largely the responsibility of the therapist. By asking questions, encouraging interaction, and observing the dynamics of the member’s participation, the therapist leads the group.
Of course, confidentiality is a major component of group therapy. Confidentiality is also a major reason as to a substance abuse group counseling session’s effectiveness. Group members feel confident that they could say anything. As a result, group therapy is very effective as well as quite uplifting.
You’re Not Alone At Lifetime Recovery!
If the reader abstracts one fact from this article, it is that substance abuse group counseling is an essential part of successful rehabilitation. Thus, while choosing rehabilitation facilities, make sure that it offers group therapy. Also, make sure there are therapists at the facility, trained and licensed in conducting group therapy.
An effective group session can inspire light in the darkest of souls. However, Lifetime Recovery stresses that ultimately, sobriety is achieved by the individual. If that individual chooses to ignore the lessons learned in group therapy, then the path will always be veiled.
Lifetime Recovery, a rehabilitation center in New Jersey, practices several forms of therapy, including group counseling for substance abuse. The licensed treatment team at Kingsway has been helping countless people find sobriety for decades. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!