The complexities that surround addiction extend beyond a basic solution. Those who are struggling with addiction must overcome behavioral, emotional, physical, and psychological hurdles. In order for treatment to produce long-term results, programs must address and treat all of these facets. Group therapy is one tool that provides patients with the opportunity to treat these components.
Group therapy is a therapeutic tool that utilizes multiple participants in a singular session. Typically, group sessions involve one counselor who works with a small group of patients, although some sessions may utilize multiple counselors.
Like individual therapy, the goal of group therapy is to address and treat the behavioral and emotional influences that may have aided in the development of an individual’s addiction in the first place. Rarely does addiction occur due to a singular event. External factors, such as stress, mood disorders, a history of abuse, and self-esteem issues, can all contribute to an individual turning to substance abuse for an escape. Group therapy provides patients with the opportunity to openly discuss these issues in a safe and supportive environment.
The success of group therapy is directly related to the skills of the counselor who is leading the session as well as the participation of patients who are open and honest in sharing their feelings and experiences. The following are the main goals and principles of group therapy:
- Universality – Lessening feelings of isolation by highlighting the unity of emotions and experiences among group participants
- Self-understanding – Gaining understanding into one’s own problems by listening to other patients share their setbacks
- Interpersonal learning – Learning from the viewpoints and experiences of other group members, while also being able to openly share one’s own insights
- Altruism – Realizing the importance of aiding in the enrichment of the lives of others
- Hope – Accepting that others have surpassed challenges that one may be currently experiencing
- Information – Learning more about the disease of addiction and the recovery process
- Imitative behavior – Creating new skills and techniques by watching the positive behaviors of the counselor and other group members
- Cohesiveness – Feeling a sense of comradery, purpose, and support by sharing the therapeutic process with other individuals
- Catharsis – Letting go of emotional pain by openly sharing one’s struggles with other group participants
By bringing counselors and patients together, Southeast Massachusetts Comprehensive Treatment Centers provide patients with the opportunity to safely share their stories while obtaining support and encouragement from other individuals who understand firsthand the struggles associated with addiction. Participants are provided with a productive, supportive, and compassionate atmosphere in which to gain the tools and support necessary to successfully progress in their treatment.
While there is no one cure for addiction, a comprehensive treatment approach provides patients with the tools necessary to successfully progress toward lasting recovery, and group therapy can play a crucial role in that progress.
If you or someone you love would benefit from group therapy and the other treatment options available at Southeast Massachusetts Comprehensive Treatment Centers, please contact us today.