The psychological, emotional, social, and physical components of addiction are complex and must be addressed during treatment. In order for treatment to be successful and for long-term sobriety to be achieved, individuals must confront all aspects of their addiction to understand the roots of their behavior and emotions. Group therapy is one such effective method used to accomplish this goal.
Group therapy is a therapeutic practice that involves multiple participants in a singular session. Typically, sessions include one counselor working with a small group of individuals. Some sessions, however, can include multiple counselors working with multiple patients.
The goal of group therapy is to pinpoint the behavioral and emotional events that may have aided in the individual turning to substances in the first place. Addiction is often the result of outside influences, such as a history of abuse or trauma, self-esteem issues, or mood disorders. Group therapy allows individuals a safe place to openly discuss these topics, as well as other issues related to their addiction as they work on their recovery.
Group therapy is successful and efficient due to the abilities of the counselor leading the sessions, as well as the individuals who contribute their individual experiences, views, and feelings. The following fundamental goals and philosophies of group therapy aid in its effectiveness:
- Universality – Easing the feelings of segregation by highlighting the commonality of emotions and experiences amongst other members of the group
- Self-understanding – Acquiring insight into one’s own matters by listening to other group members discuss their personal advancement, as well as setbacks
- Interpersonal learning – Learning from the experiences and opinions of other group members, while also being able to open up about one’s own perceptions and understandings
- Altruism – Understanding the importance of contributing to the improvement of the lives of others
- Hope – Realizing that other group members have cleared hurdles that one may currently be dealing with and gaining optimism from hearing about how other people have dealt with struggles
- Information – Learning about the disease of addiction, as well as the process of recovery
- Imitative behavior – Acquiring new skills and strategies based on the observation of other individuals taking part in group sessions, as well as the counselor leading sessions
- Cohesiveness – Feeling a sense of fitting in, reason, and validation by sharing in the process of therapy with other group members
- Catharsis – Experiencing a sense of reprieve from embarrassment or other emotional pain by openly discussing one’s issues in an open forum
Western Washington Comprehensive Treatment Centers truly believes that group therapy, when implemented in combination with medication assisted treatment, can provide individuals with the support and skills required to achieve long-term sobriety. By working together in a safe and structured environment, patients and counselors are able to collaboratively face the struggles and accomplishments that take place along the road to recovery. Group therapy provides patients with therapeutic insights, strong support, and fundamental information that will help them as they progress in their treatment.
While there is not a singular medication or therapeutic intervention that will immediately break individuals free from the chains of addiction, a comprehensive approach will provide individuals with the skills they need in order to achieve a healthy, happy, and opioid-free life. The techniques taught in therapy, paired with medication assisted treatment, provide patients the best chance of a safe and effective recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and would benefit from group therapy and the other components of a comprehensive medication assisted treatment program, contact Western Washington Comprehensive Treatment Centers. We are here to help.