Group therapy is often implemented alongside other forms of therapy such as individual therapy when an individual is at an inpatient facility. This type of therapy can be incredibly beneficial if you’re suffering from addiction as it increases your self-awareness through listening to the experiences of others in the group. These shared insights can help you better understand your addiction and form authentic connections. Group therapy can also be part of an outpatient plan as ongoing support.
What is Group Therapy?
Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that usually involves therapists or counsellors working with a group of people at one time. This type of therapy is commonly offered within private therapy practices, hospitals, mental health clinics, and community centres. It can be used alone, however, when implemented alongside individual therapy and supervised detox, group therapy is one of the most important parts of addiction treatment. It has the capacity to kickstart positive change in those who are in recovery.
How Does Group Therapy Work?
Group therapy can work in a variety of ways. Usually, a trained and experienced therapist or counsellor will listen within a group, which can be as small as three to four people or as large as 20, and will gently identify and reflect back to the client-specific issues and problems they hear within the group. Group therapy isn’t designed to look for the causes of addiction but rather focuses on each person’s experience with it.
It’s common during group therapy sessions for participants to read out their life stories, complete tasks such as role-play or present written work. Often when one person has finished presenting their life story or homework, other members of the group provide feedback. Hearing another opinion or point of view might help the other person identify what might be preventing their recovery. This begins a journey for patients which, with the additional insights from the group, enables them to deepen the understanding of their addiction.
What are the Benefits of Group Therapy?
Group therapy is invaluable and considered an integral part of any treatment programme.
There are many useful benefits in participating, these include:
- Encourages the process of change through support and challenge
- Helps to identify potential issues and situations that might lead to relapse
- Educates on drinking and drug-using behaviour and its consequences
- Assists you in making decisions that are crucial to your recovery
- Prepares you for long-term abstinence and involvement in 12-step fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA) etc.
- Encourages patients to learn from the experience and example of others
- Helps you recognise problematic behaviours that may be preventing your recovery
Other principal advantages of group therapy include:
Support: Allows individuals to receive support and encouragement from the other members of the group. People participating in the group can see that others are going through the same thing, which can help them feel less alone.
Role Models: Group members can serve as role models for other members of the group. By observing someone successfully coping with a problem, other members of the group can see that there is hope for recovery. As each person progresses, they can, in turn, serve as a role model and support figure for others. This can help foster feelings of success and accomplishment.
Affordable: Group therapy often can be cost-effective and affordable. Instead of focusing on just one client at a time, the therapist can devote his or her time to a much larger group of people.
Safety: The setting of group therapy allows people to practice behaviours and actions within the safety and security of the group. Having support can also encourage group members to explore areas and issues in their lives that otherwise, they may have not felt safe doing.
Here-and-now Response: By working in a group, the therapist can see first-hand how each person responds to other people and behaves in social situations. Using this information, the therapist can provide valuable feedback to each client.
What are some of the Specialised Groups?
Some groups may be directed towards a particular goal:
- Trauma therapy:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy:
- Relaxation therapy:
- Gambling addiction
- Eating disorders group therapy
- Relapse prevention group
- Women’s group therapy
- Family therapy
- Young adult’s group therapy
- Body image group therapy
- Relationship therapy
- Grief and loss group therapy
- Cross-addiction therapy
- Coping skills therapy
- Equine-assisted therapy
- Drumming therapy
- Art Group
Some of the most common types of group therapy used in the treatment of addiction include:
1. Cognitive-behavioural groups
CBT is an extremely popular form of addiction group therapy. It works by trying to identify and change negative thought processes. Modifying the way you think is thought to prevent relapse from occurring. It is one of the most common and statistically supported forms of therapy.
2. Psychoeducational groups
These group sessions provide a more classroom-like environment and aims to teach participants about addiction and other mental health issues. Psychoeducational groups also share information on relapse prevention such as, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding triggers, in addition to techniques like mindfulness and relaxation.
3. Skill development groups
Skill development groups are focussed around providing participants with the skills they need to continue living a life free from substances or problematic behavours. These skills may include sensible financial decisions, learning how to control anger and social skills. All of these skills are crucial in the real world and their absence can lead those in recovery to relapse.
4. Interpersonal process groups
Interpersonal process groups are one of the most difficult sorts of groups to run, but can also be one of the most effective. They aid recovery by trying to resolve childhood issues, fostering a good group environment, and drawing lines of connection between past trauma and present substance abuse.
5. Support groups
Groups such as AA, NA and Smart were first established as a way of supporting people in recovery. Support groups encourage people to share their experiences and discuss any challenges they may be facing. The role of the therapist in these groups is simply to listen and to give a good example of supportiveness for other group members to follow.
Group Therapy at CATCH Recovery
Group therapy is a vital part of addiction treatment. If you are interested in group therapy as part of a treatment programme or believe your loved one may benefit from attending groups, get in touch with our admissions team.
At CATCH Recovery, our team of addiction specialists have many years of experience treating all types of addiction in addition to co-occurring disorders. If you’re looking for addiction treatment in the South East of England, you can call our team for your free addiction assessment, and they will be able to advise you on the next steps.
Our clinic is based in South West London, which is accessible from anywhere in the UK. However, if you need additional support but don’t live in the South East of England, you may benefit from some of the online outpatient services we offer.