Why Is Group Therapy So Effective in Drug Treatment?

When you see addiction treatment on television or in movies, you see a lot of depictions of group therapy. There is certainly some truth to those portrayals. Group therapy is indeed important. In fact, group therapy is one of the core treatments for addiction for many different reasons. In many cases, it’s more effective for addicted individuals than individual therapy. It’s an appealing option because it’s cheaper than individual therapy. More importantly, it’s effective. Many rehab facilities include group therapy as part of their treatment plans, but group therapy also takes place outside of rehab.

Common Benefits

Group therapy has a lot in common with individual therapy. Just like individual therapy, group therapy can come in several different varieties. Groups can employ talk therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and several other types. Often, groups use a combination of therapy types to cater to the group’s collective needs. Group therapy also has a lot of the same benefits as individual therapy. Both types of therapy provide:

  • Emotional release
  • Valuable insights
  • Practical advice
  • A sense of stability

Over time, regular therapy can strengthen a person’s mind and help an individual deal with overwhelming emotions. Participants find healthy ways to handle unhealthy situations.

At least 43 studies have shown that group therapy reduces depressive symptoms.

https://ebmh.bmj.com/content/4/3/82

Peer Support

Group therapy also provides many benefits that individual therapy doesn’t provide.

Most notably, group therapy comes with peer support. Mental illness, especially drug addiction, comes with an unfair social stigma that can lead to shame. Shame prevents people from sharing their problems with other people. Even worse, shame about drug use can lead to even more drug use, creating a terrible cycle. Group therapy breaks the shame cycle by putting you in a room full of people who are going through the same struggles that you’re going through. Mental illnesses, including drug addiction, can be extremely isolating. They convince the sufferer that he or she is the only one who has these problems. Group therapy helps people to realize that they’re not alone.

Alcoholics Anonymous – which isn’t group therapy but uses some of the same principles – has a saying that “only an alcoholic can help another alcoholic.” While many people consider that statement an oversimplification, there is definitely value in getting support from peers with similar experiences. In fact, group therapy may help you experience a level of understanding that you’ve never felt before. In the past, you may have felt judgement from well-meaning family members or others who haven’t personally experienced addiction, but you won’t feel that judgement in a support group. As group members tell their stories, you’ll see many similarities with your own story.

Do you need help to overcome an addiction? Call 800-492-QUIT.

Common Goals and Making Progress

When you work with a group, you may find it easier or more manageable to maintain your sobriety. Meeting with a group creates a common goal, which cements your bond and can motivate you to make progress. When you regularly attend group therapy, you may find the motivation that you need during the rest of the week to abstain from harmful substances. Sometimes, the thought of being able to report positive news to the group is enough to convince a person not to turn to drugs or alcohol during a tough week. Furthermore, you’ll see other members of the group maintaining their own sobriety, which will remind you that you can stay sober, too.

Gaining Agency

Attending group therapy may give participants a better sense of control over their lives, which is especially important for addicted individuals, who might feel as if they have no control over anything. During group therapy, you won’t just receive advice. You’ll also give advice, which will give you a sense of agency and pride as you help other people. This added sense of agency will help you take more and more ownership over your own sobriety. The more you participate in therapy, the more you gain confidence.

Do You Need Options?

Are you looking for group therapy or rehab options? We can get you started with information and advice. At Rehab Info, we help addicted individuals and their families find the treatments that will work best for them.

If you’re confused by your options or just don’t know

how to take that first step, contact Rehab Info today. You can reach us at 800-492-QUIT. You don’t have to go through this alone.
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