Group Therapy for Substance Abuse Treatment

When you enter substance abuse treatment, you will be participating in both individual and group therapy. If you are a private or shy person, this can sound like an intimidating prospect.

You may be convinced that you will only be comfortable opening up if you are one-on-one with your therapist, and that you will never get anything out of group therapy. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a roomful of strangers may not be your preferred therapy, but group therapy is a valuable tool in substance abuse treatment that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Benefits of Group Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment

There are many benefits to participating in group therapy during substance abuse treatment:

  1. Knowing you’re not alone: Participating in group therapy means realizing that there are other people who face issues similar to yours. While your issues will never be identical to another person’s, knowing that there are other people in similar situations who can offer support and understanding can bring a lot of relief.
  2. Getting social: The group of people you connect with during group therapy can provide you a social circle you may have been missing while you were using. It’s a great place to connect with other people who are sober and in treatment, and who can provide you support and friendship long after your time in substance abuse treatment ends.
  3. Insight: Everybody relates their own experience of dealing with substance abuse in group therapy. This can be very insightful for you and help you process your own situation. You can derive a lot of lessons from others’ experiences and mistakes.
  4. Knowledge and variety: When you are in substance abuse treatment, you will most likely participate in a variety of group therapies. These can include groups such as relapse-prevention, grief and loss, trauma, nutrition, art therapy, anger management, and relationship skills. By attending a variety of groups, you will be able to gain knowledge and support in many areas that can help you to make a more complete recovery.

How Group Therapy Works in Substance Abuse Treatment

Though every substance abuse treatment center is different, most incorporate individual and group therapy in all levels of care. The number of group therapies you will participate in depends on the level of substance abuse treatment you are in – residential, day, or outpatient – and your particular diagnosis and needs.

Group therapy sessions are held at regularly scheduled times throughout the day, typically at the substance abuse treatment center. They are led by a therapist with expertise in the group’s subject matter, and attended by a small group of other people at your substance abuse treatment center.

Even if you don’t agree or get along with all of the other members of your group, you can still learn valuable lessons from all of the other members of your group therapies that will go a long way toward your recovery from substance abuse.

If you are in substance abuse treatment, or considering it, know that group therapy can only help you in your recovery, no matter how reluctant you may be to participate in it.