Group Therapy in Substance Abuse Rehab [Guide]

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Group Therapy in Substance Abuse Rehab

Substance abuse group therapy is when two or more people get together with common goals in the hopes of receiving therapeutic support for their problems. Those who struggle with addiction have previously used substances to evade and flee from stress outside of group therapy for addiction treatment.

Group counseling for substance abuse cuts off this tendency at its source by reducing aloneness, cultivating mutual understanding, and providing a sober space for intoxicant-fueled thinking.

Human beings crave social acceptance, and this doesn’t change even in the throes of addiction. Addiction group therapy provides forces of stabilization, persuasion, and support throughout the recovery process and beyond.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, it’s time to find out how group therapy can be adapted to an individualized rehabilitation program. Call (888) 906-0952 now for information about group therapy for substance abuse disorders and how this can be included in your long-term recovery plan.

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A Look at Group Therapy

Defining Group Counseling for Substance Abuse

Group therapy for addiction treatment involves getting 5 to 10 people together to talk face to face in the presence of trained therapists. The primary goal is to share the problems and troubles they are having within and around the rehabilitation process.

Participants are encouraged to give each other their opinions and feedback concerning what other members share. This allows the participants to practice new behaviors and learn how they interact with others through direct action.

Group therapy is a safe space that is closed to outside influence. What is said and shared in group therapy is confidential, and members are not permitted to discuss what has been said outside of the group’s safety.

All members in substance abuse group therapy are expected to commit to the confidentiality and safety of the group to establish trust. Building trust encourages participants to share honestly and open up about their own experiences.

Purpose of Engagement in Addiction Group Therapy

Members come together to openly speak about the troubles and pitfalls that landed them in group therapy. Under the watchful eye of skilled therapists, group members can offer support, brainstorm alternatives, or constructively confront the person about disturbing thoughts and actions. This allows the members to develop their conflict resolutions, discuss and implement new behavioral responses, and develop healthy socialization techniques about the outside world.

The purpose of group therapy is for people who are addicted to realize they are not isolated or alone by observing that others are also going through similar struggles in the recovery process and beyond

Initial Benefits of Substance Abuse Group Therapy

Once an environment of trust has been established in group therapy for addiction treatment, the members can help each other and develop a sense of caring for their fellow participants.

The advantages of group counseling for substance abuse are:

  • The ability to explore issues with others and reflect on real-life interactions
  • Getting the chance to observe the interpersonal communications of others
  • Passive watching and direct participation allow two different avenues for learning
  • Commentary and concerns are provided and addressed in real-time as they arise
  • Members develop a support network and friendships
  • Negativity and self-deprecation are kept to a minimum and diverted
  • The kindling of hope occurs through the positive support of intertwined members
  • The use of feedback allows for a larger resource of possible solutions as provided by other members
  • Members get better at acknowledging their feelings, identifying them, and learning to disclose their emotional state
  • Participants learn to trust their instincts
  • Confidence is built when trying out problem resolving solutions within the safety of the group

This is not an exhaustive list, as each addiction group therapy contains individualized participants that offer their unique benefits to the counseling sessions. However, in general, these benefits are why addiction group therapy is an integral part of the recovery process.

Generalized Results of Group Therapy

Uncontrollable moods are managed better in those that participate in addiction group therapy. Abusers that actively participate in substance abuse group therapy also show higher rates of relapse avoidance and earlier achievements of sobriety.

Group therapy for substance abuse disorder is more effective than group drug counseling without therapeutic techniques. The behavior modification and deep sharing that happens during therapy sessions help reduce depression in participants.

Better than average clinical outcomes occur in people who participate in substance abuse group therapy. Addiction group therapy is different than family therapy as it allows total strangers to practice the techniques and coping mechanisms they’re learning in their rehabilitative process in a safe environment free of contention.

Individuals in group therapy for addiction treatment tend to show lasting results after 2 to 3 months of interaction with the group. This correlates well with the average lifespan of the intensive rehabilitation process, and continued participation in addiction group therapy strengthens the resolve for sobriety well beyond the cessation of rehabilitative services.

What Do I Get Out of Group Therapy as an Individual?

It’s easy to highlight the collective gains that undergoes substance abuse group therapy. Still, the benefits to individualized people once they’re outside of the comforts of their group are important to note.

Participants in group therapy for addiction treatment take what they’ve learned and apply those skills to real-life situations.

The ability to practice techniques until they’re mastered within the safety of a closed therapeutic environment has long-term gains in navigating societal reintegration and avoidance of triggered reactions to stressors.

Personalized gains for each individual participating in group counseling for substance abuse are as follows:

  • Reduces knee-jerk denial through gentle confrontation
  • It helps users process their ambivalence toward the destructive nature of substance abuse
  • Nurtures the nonjudgmental acceptance of the propensity to abuse substances
  • Creates long-term motivation to remain sober
  • Facilitates drive by creating hope for future successes
  • Produces an acknowledgment of the link between comorbid mental illness and how it is exacerbated by substance abuse (anger issues, depression, anxiety, etc.)
  • Creates a deep understanding of personal triggers so the user can identify, manage and deal with situations that used to cause reactionary substance abuse
  • It helps develop a healthy community that provides acceptance, encouragement, and support outside of compensatory substance abuse.

These positives exist side-by-side with the benefits gained through unanimity. Both the effects achieved by the group as a whole and the individualized benefits taken by a single person are both important facets of group therapy for substance abuse disorders.

Why Groups Are More Powerful

Humans are communal creatures by their evolutionary nature, and the power of being part of a group is intrinsic to humanity. It is within the very nature of people to find their tribe and feel a sense of belonging.

People spend their entire lives seeking acceptance from groups. Popular cultural groups include families, religions, social cliques, and identifying with certain cultures and races. These groups affect ideas of acceptable behavior, physical well-being, the development of a self-image, and the personal meaning of good mental health.

Most people who are addicted are painfully aware of how negativity can be fueled by group identification when they begin to think about the friends and family that enabled and encouraged their initial substance abuse.

While groups can foster individual expression, creativity, and health, they can also support and help mask destructive behavior and deviancy.

Substance abuse group therapy capitalizes on the human need to gather and identify with others. The sense of community that those struggling with addiction gain is the most powerful component of group therapy for addiction treatment.

Even if individual therapy covers the same topics as group therapy, studies have shown that group counseling for substance abuse provides better long-term effectiveness.

Groups increase reward incentives by decreasing isolation and allowing individuals to experience the successes of others as if they were their own. This allows individuals to learn more about themselves in a shorter and stronger way than if they were tackling their problems in a solitary manner.

Without expending extra effort, formulized groups can treat symptoms of addiction like shame, isolation, and depression without drawing constant attention to these problems. Healing occurs symbiotically by the group as a whole in addiction group therapy.

Allying Addiction Group Therapy With Rehab

It’s an unfortunate fact that the recovery process can be isolating and painful. The process of overcoming substance dependency and the psychological drive to be intoxicated can be long and overwhelming.

There will be moments of crisis throughout the recovery journey wherein the user feels defeated, alone, lost, or unhappy. With the help of a trained therapist acting as a group leader, group therapy for substance abuse can quickly identify individuals falling into despair and turn the tides of their rehabilitative process through support.

When individuals are isolated from their friends and family during recovery, they often feel failures or outcasts. Substance abuse group therapy provides these individuals with the opportunity to create healthy relationships, receive positive reinforcement from respected peers, and learn new social skills through self-expression and emulation.

Group therapy keeps an addict’s head in the game of recovery through affiliation. Feeling like a member of something safe allows room for confrontation, which helps de-program unhealthy habits picked up during active addiction.

The bonding between members in substance abuse group therapy improves rehabilitative prognoses because patients are kept in therapy longer, even when they may feel like giving up. Their group mates’ support gives them a better chance at complying with rehabilitation.

The longer someone stays in rehabilitation and within a sober community, the more likely they will achieve lifetime sobriety. Even if they fail and relapse, their teammates in addiction group therapy will be there to encourage them to get back on track quickly. The more times someone tries to achieve lasting sobriety, the more likely they will succeed.

Accessing Group Therapy in Substance Abuse Rehab Now

Patients in substance abuse group therapy are free to practice what they’re learning in rehabilitation with a protected and supported social network of individuals in recovery.

Drawing group therapy participants for addiction treatment into the culture of rehabilitation and recovery is essential to long-term success.

The guidance and insight obtained in group counseling for substance abuse is invaluable and can’t be emulated with the same efficiency outside of addiction group therapy.

The power of support and identification with others suffering from substance dependency nurtures a higher chance of maintaining lifetime sobriety.

You do not have to suffer through addiction alone, and group therapy for substance use disorders will be an integral part of rehabilitation. To start seeking help today and discuss your substance abuse group therapy options with compassionate professionals, call (888) 906-0952 now.

The addiction helpline is free. Dial (888) 906-0952 and press 1.


[1] Purdue: What is Group Therapy?

[2] NIH: Study on Group Therapy and Bi-Polar

[3] NCBI: Groups and Substance Abuse Therapy

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