Group Therapy

group therapy

At Granite Mountain, we believe that there is no one-size-fits-all addiction treatment. Every individual who steps through our doors is unique, carrying a load of varying life experiences. These unique individuals require treatment that fits their needs specifically. The worst thing we could do for anybody seeking help is to treat them like the last person who just walked in. For some, this could mean attending group therapy as a means to recovery well. 

What is Group Therapy?

In a nutshell, group therapy is a realm of counseling in which, throughout each session, patients come together in a group setting to discuss their substance abuse and the impact it has had on them or their loved ones. These sessions are mediated and overseen by professional therapists who have a plethora of skills when it comes to group dynamics and communication. In these sessions, every area of substance abuse, whether it pertains to physical or psychological health, is addressed.

While attending group therapy, patients will find it empowering to be surrounded by a support system that helps them prepare for accountability and life outside of the treatment facility. This particular form of counseling allows patients to talk about their addiction amongst their peers in rehab, uniting them against a common enemy; when people share common adversity or goal, they are more inclined to succeed at what it is they’re trying to accomplish.

Patients involved in a group therapy setting are provided with an environment of understanding. This allows patients to feel as though they are not alone, strengthening their desire for change. This has been known to have a positive impact on those who attend. One of the best parts of this particular method of treatment is its ability to provide patients with coping mechanisms and support systems to combat substance abuse. 

What Happens In Group Therapy?

As far as the liturgy of group therapy is concerned, groups of people working through the therapeutic process meet in a common meeting area where chairs are typically arranged in a circle, similar to a Socratic seminar. The purpose is so that everybody can see one another while sharing their thoughts and stories.

Typical group therapy sessions, when it comes to substance abuse, consist of patients sharing their substance abuse history, their experiences, emotions, and in the case of repeating sessions, their progress since the previous session. The agenda for the day’s work is purely dependent on a group’s goals. Agendas could also be dependent on how the therapist or mediator likes to conduct each session. 

Therapists conducting group therapy sessions may either facilitate conversations with pre-meditated questions or leave communication open to whatever patients are willing to share. The former gives each session a particular sense of structure, whereas the latter is much more open to patients’ willingness to share. It is also worth mentioning that some therapists include group exercises and activities so that those involved can practice new skills.

Why Group Therapy?

There are many benefits to addiction treatment, one of those benefits in itself being group therapy. This method of recovery does a great job of connecting people who have the same goal in mind: no matter what walk of life they’re from, they’re trying to recover from substance abuse. Group therapy has a way of helping those without hope to find it. This is because when patients see their peers recovering successfully it gives them hope for their journey. 

Isolation is the worst thing about substance abuse; those who suffer find it effortless to feel alone. When it comes to group therapy, patients can share their own experiences, and as a result, this helps others feel as though they’re not alone. This goes a long way in strengthening those who may feel weak as a result of their addiction. Sharing experiences is encouraging to those within this particular program and helps boost their confidence. 

In addition to all of this, it is important to recognize the familial-like bond of group therapy. When people explore the deeper parts of their abuse, how their home life or childhood may have contributed, it forges bonds that aren’t easily broken. They’re met with the love a family has for each other and like family members, those who participate in group therapy can share skills they have learned from their experience to better equip those surrounding them. This particular aspect of group therapy allows those involved to practice this new set of skills in a safe environment.

Benefits Of Group Therapy

Group therapy, or therapy of any sort, is not easy. Opening old wounds is a painful process and can often seem counter-intuitive which is discouraging. However, the benefits of this process far outway the pain one may potentially feel while participating. Some professionals suggest that group therapy is a very rewarding experience. 

 Support systems are imperative for any well-rounded individual to have, let alone someone who struggles with addiction; this is another benefit of group therapy. With input from other members of a therapy group, those who suffer from addiction have the potential to equip themselves with tools to combat challenging life circumstances. These are often called coping mechanisms.  

Learning new coping mechanisms from those that have tried, failed, and evaluated their experiences with the help of professionals helps patients win the substance abuse battle more efficiently. Many of those who suffer from substance use disorder struggle with their mental health. Those who do so and have been in treatment longer often possess skills that allow them to reflect and improve their psychological circumstances. Passing along these skills to those who have trouble finding their way is imperative to the recovery process. 

Lastly, diversity is yet another benefit of group therapy. At Granite Mountain, we value people’s unique backgrounds that make them the person they are. Often, those who come from varying backgrounds handle their substance abuse, conflict, and other situations in different ways. Recognizing the different ways in which those around you solve their problems can help one discover a wide variety of strategies to combat their illness. 

Types of Therapy for Substance Abuse 

There is no question that therapy is imperative to one’s recovery. It is most often the catalyst for progress in one’s recovery journey. It is worth mentioning however that group therapy is not the only of its kind. There are several different methods of therapy within the realm of substance abuse treatment, some of which include the following:

  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a technique in which one patient is the center of the conversation, rather than the broadness of a group therapy session. The purpose of this is to strengthen the individual on a more intimate and attentive basis, allowing one to evaluate their past in the privacy of an office where only a professional therapist is present. 

This method of therapy allows individuals to change their perspective to a more positive place when it comes to their substance abuse. The true purpose of therapy, in a general sense, is to improve the way one copes with their addiction. This is done by providing patients with a safe place to exert the weight of their emotional and psychological baggage. Sometimes, this baggage won’t directly pertain to substance abuse itself, but rather the circumstances which led to the addiction.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is another significant therapeutic technique geared towards those who are caught in the cross-fires of one’s substance abuse problems. The effects of addiction on loved ones is not always given much attention to. To heal the dynamic between a patient and their loved ones, if at all damaged, there must be a formal setting in which everybody can meet with the common goal of understanding.

At Granite Mountain, our philosophy is to help those who are suffering from substance abuse in any and every way possible so that they are set back on track; sometimes this means bringing family into the mix because addiction has the potential to influence home life negatively. Family therapy encourages family members to recover with their loved ones so that the dynamic between them can be restored to its full potential.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) includes skills training, individualized therapy, and team consultation. This particular method is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that is used to help patients with a wide range of disorders, including personality disorders. Ultimately, it helps to evaluate the thought process of each patient. Overcoming mental illness is the primary objective.

DBT is used to treat the following:

  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Substance abuse
  • Borderline personality disorder

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a method used to come to an understanding as to why someone acts out the way that they do. By providing patients with coping strategies, CBT improves behavior and allows them to move past their mental illnesses. This can happen when professional therapists and psychiatrists evaluate one’s thought process and worldview. 

At Granite Mountain, You’ll Get the Help You Deserve

Helping patients move forward in their recovery journey is our ultimate goal, and treatment methods like group therapy allow us to do so. Each patient who comes through our doors is unique and should be treated with the best individualized care available. For some, this means being involved in group therapy. If you or a loved one are interested in programs like these, you can contact us here, or call at (928) 756-0694.

References

https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/group-therapy

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-group-therapy-2795760

https://psychcentral.com/lib/5-benefits-of-group-therapy/

Article Reviewed by Gregory Struve

Gregory StruveGreg received a Master’s in Counseling from the Adler Graduate School in 2006. He trained at one of the top trauma and anxiety treatment centers in the world until 2008, when he became a faculty member at Grand Canyon University. From 2011 to 2016 he directed a program that lead the field in terms of innovative treatment of anxiety and trauma. During that time he even made several appearances on A&E’s intervention.