Group therapy is a common element of treatment for addiction and other mental health issues. A group typically comprises five to 15 participants and is led by one or two therapists. Sessions usually last an hour and a half or two hours. Group therapy can be used as a stand-alone therapy or in combination with individual therapy, although in a treatment setting, you will most likely do both. Some people are wary of going to group therapy because they don’t want to discuss their problems with strangers. Just speaking in front of people can be intimidating in itself. Despite this initial challenge, group therapy offers several important benefits, which is why it continues to be common for many kinds of treatment.
One big advantage of group therapy is that it acts a support group. The people in your therapy group will understand better than most people what you’ve gone through. While many people in your life may support you, it helps to have the support of people who understand.
Working with a therapist individually is extremely helpful, and in some ways better than group therapy, but in group therapy you get a much greater variety of perspectives. Everyone has had different experiences and everyone will have different ways of thinking. You might think your therapist doesn’t quite understand your problems, but you know some people in the group certainly will. Having different perspectives will make it more apparent when you’re being stubborn or perhaps delusional. Your group will also be able to offer perspectives you would never have thought of on your own.
Practice specific skills
Practicing skills, especially social skills, is an important aspect of many kinds of therapy. Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, for example, emphasizes interpersonal effectiveness, which is practiced in a group. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT is one of the most common forms of therapy, and often includes practical skills such as how to refuse an offer of drugs or how to deal with an unexpected stressor.
Just as people in your group will all have different backgrounds and perspectives, they will all be at a different point in their recovery. Some people will be doing very well and can serve as an example to strive for. Some people will be struggling and serve as a reminder of the progress you’ve already made. It’s never good to compare yourself to others, but seeing what’s possible can inspire you.
Give you a chance to help
In individual therapy, you are always the one getting help. That’s often an advantage, but it can also make you feel a bit helpless. In group, you can help others, even if only a little. Making a contribution makes you feel better about yourself. What’s more, just as teaching a skill forces you to learn it better, helping others in group helps you understand yourself better.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or a mental health issue, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.