What is Substance Abuse Group Therapy?
Substance abuse group therapy is any sort of talk therapy that helps reduce symptoms and foster recovery in two or more people that are suffering from addiction at the same time. Group therapy differs from family therapy in that in family therapy, the people in therapy already have a pre-existing relationship with one another. In group therapy, on the other hand, there are no pre-existing relationships between the attendees.
Although they both help foster sobriety in people that are suffering from addiction, substance abuse group therapy also differs from self-help groups such as AA or any other 12-step program because of the fact that substance abuse group therapy does so much more.
On top of fostering sobriety in people suffering from addiction, substance abuse group therapy helps recovering addicts explore and understand what the underlying emotional and interpersonal conflicts are within themselves that caused them to begin abusing alcohol and/or drugs in the first place.
What Are the Different Types of Group Therapy?
There are five major types, or models, of group therapy. These five types include psychoeducational group therapy, skill development group therapy, cognitive-behavioral group therapy, support group therapy, and interpersonal process group therapy. Although all five of these forms of therapy are in a group therapy format, they vary in what they focus on.
Psychoeducational Group Therapy
Psychoeducational group therapy focuses on educating its participants about mental health illnesses, substance abuse disorders, and the many negative behaviors that are associated with them.
In psychoeducational group therapy, a medical professional will go over the consequences that can arise in your life due to negative thoughts and behaviors. The purpose of doing this is to make you understand the negative impact that substance abuse has had on your life. Throughout psychoeducational group therapy, you will also learn how to function as a drug-free individual. To do so, you will learn coping techniques that can help you resist alcohol and drugs.
Since psychoeducational group therapy primarily educates its members, the setting of psychoeducational group therapy is similar to that of a classroom.
Skill Development Group Therapy
Skill development group therapy focuses on catering to the individual needs of each member in attendance. It accomplishes this by having its members interact with one another. Through interaction, each member is practicing the social skills that he or she will need to remain sober.
Examples of group topics in skill development group therapy include improving parenting skills and managing financial responsibilities. Other group topics in skill development therapy include handling triggers and managing anger responses.
Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on figuring out the negative thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns that cause you to use substances. This form of therapy also helps you recognize the connection between these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The ultimate goal of CBT is to help you change negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors into positive ones.
Support Group Therapy
The focus of support group therapy is to have each member care and empathize with one another’s struggles. Throughout support group therapy there are group discussions about each member’s experiences. The ultimate goal of support group therapy is to have all the members help one another resolve their personal issues and challenges.
Interpersonal Process Group Therapy
Interpersonal process group therapy focuses on using the way people psychologically interact and function with one another to heal themselves. To perform interpersonal process group therapy, the therapist observes and takes note of how each member is interacting with one another. The therapist also takes note of how each member is feeling and functioning when interacting with one another. The group therapy leader will even take notes on how the group is operating as a whole during these interactions.
The therapist will then lead group discussions about issues that the group therapy members may have that caused them to interact and function the way that they do. After a series of interpersonal process group therapy sessions, the group therapy members will hopefully resolve the interpersonal issues that they have and improve their overall judgment.
What Are the Different Categories of Group Therapy?
While there are five main forms of group therapy, group therapy as a whole is separated into four major categories. These categories are fixed group therapy, revolving group therapy, time-limited group therapy, and ongoing group therapy.
Fixed Group Therapy
Fixed group therapy sessions, or fixed membership groups, are groups of therapy that have the same number of members throughout all its sessions. In other words, once there is a certain number of members in fixed group therapy, no other members can be added later on. Fixed groups of therapy tend to have 15 or fewer members in them. Medical professionals like to create mixed group therapies for small groups of people that are all in the same stage of recovery.
Revolving Group Therapy
Revolving group therapy sessions, or revolving membership groups, are groups of therapy that can change the number of members in them at any given time. For example, if someone in a revolving group therapy feels that they got all that they could get from that group therapy, he or she can stop coming at any time and someone new can join the group in his or her place.
Think of revolving group therapy like you would a revolving door. There is a flux of people that can go in and out as they please.
Time-Limited Group Therapy
Time-limited group therapy sessions, otherwise known as time-limited groups, are groups of therapy that have their members come for only a specified number of sessions or amount of time.
Ongoing Group Therapy
Ongoing group therapy sessions, or ongoing groups, allow its members to attend its therapy sessions for as long as they like.
What Are the Stages of Group Therapy?
Like anything in life, group therapy has a beginning, middle, and end. These “stages” in group therapy all have specific goals and actions within them that the leaders of the therapy sessions will try to complete.
Beginning Group Therapy Stage
In the beginning stage of group therapy, the leader of the group therapy will make sure that each member understands how the therapy sessions are going to operate. The leader of the group therapy will also make sure that each member understands what the rules and goals are for that particular group therapy.
Middle Group Therapy Stage
The middle group therapy stage is the largest stage in group therapy. Within this stage, the therapist will lead activities and discussions that will help each member change the negative triggers and behavior patterns that cause them to go down the path of substance abuse into positive triggers and behavior patterns. It is also during the middle stage of group therapy that the members and therapist bond with one another and make treatment goals together.
End Group Therapy Stage
During the ending stage of group therapy, the activities, group discussions, and treatments will gradually come to a close. It is also during the ending stage of group therapy that the therapist will acknowledge both the accomplishments and lingering concerns of its members.
Benefits of Substance Abuse Group Therapy
Group therapy is very beneficial for people that suffer from substance abuse and addiction. One aspect of group therapy that makes it so beneficial to those in addiction recovery is its ability to provide addicts with a support group.
For many people in addiction recovery, it may always seem as if no one understands their struggles. By going to group therapy, addicts of drugs and/or alcohol can develop long-lasting friendships with people that can connect and empathize with them. Through the friendships developed in group therapy, people in addiction recovery will also have people that they can call whenever they need motivation or some encouraging words.
Another beneficial aspect of group therapy is its ability to provide education to those in addiction recovery. Through group therapy, addicts learn about how the substances that they were abusing have negatively affected their physical and mental health. Group therapy will also teach addicts life tools and coping mechanisms to help them better function in society after treatment as sober individuals.
Group therapy also allows people in addiction recovery to learn from the mistakes that their fellow group therapy members have made during their recovery journey. This type of therapy can even help people in addiction recovery learn tips and tricks on how to overcome addiction-related obstacles that they may be struggling with.
Other things that people in addiction recovery can gain from group therapy include:
- Better self-awareness
- Life structure
- Quicker access to therapy
- Treatment for any mental illness they may also be suffering from
- Higher chances of maintained sobriety
Who Would Benefit from Substance Abuse Group Therapy?
People who are in recovery and need guidance and support can certainly benefit from group therapy. Also, those who suffer from mental illnesses in addition to substance use disorders may find group therapy helpful. Individuals who need help developing healthy coping skills, social skills, and self-awareness can also benefit from group therapy.
Come to Daylight Recovery Services for All Your Substance Abuse Treatment and Therapy Needs
Daylight Recovery Services offers substance abuse group therapy through a variety of different treatment programs, including residential treatment, co-occurring treatment, detox services, and telehealth treatment. We also offer therapy and treatment services for people that suffer from addiction to a variety of substances, ranging from alcohol, to cocaine, to heroin, to prescription medication, and more.
To gain more information about our therapy services, feel free to contact us over the phone or through email.