Addiction is a complicated disease that rejects easy solutions.
Those who are addicted to substances grapple with the behavioral, psychological, emotional, and physical aspects of addiction. For this reason, in order for treatment to be as effective as possible, programs must address all of the issues that have added to or developed in response to a patient’s addiction. Group therapy can be a vital resource in helping patients achieve this goal.
Group therapy includes the simultaneous participation of a number of different patients. These sessions typically involve one therapist who works with a small group of patients. Some group sessions are larger in size, in which case more than one therapist is often present.
Similar to the goal of individual therapy, the role of group therapy in treating addiction is to acknowledge and sort through the behavioral and emotional issues that are linked to a patient’s substance abuse. Addiction almost never develops out of thin air, as external causes often trigger its development. Things such as trauma, stress, pressure, abuse, mood disorders, or self-esteem issues can all bring about a substance abuse problem. Group therapy offers patients the time and space needed to work through these issues, as well as other addiction-related issues throughout their recovery.
Group therapy is able to be effective because of the skills of the therapist and the participation of the patients who dedicate themselves to sharing their insights, thoughts, and experiences. Below are some of the basic goals and principles of group therapy:
- Universality – Removing feelings of isolation from oneself by recognizing the commonality of feelings amongst other members of the group
- Self-understanding – Obtaining insight into one’s own problems related to substance abuse by listening to other patients share their achievements and setbacks
- Interpersonal learning – Learning from the shared experiences and thoughts of other patients while also sharing one’s own emotions
- Altruism – Seeing the value in adding to the betterment of others’ lives
- Hope – Recognizing that others have defeated similar struggles, and feeling like one can accomplish the same
- Information – Learning more regarding addiction as a disease and the process of recovery
- Imitative behavior – Establishing new skills just from watching the positive behaviors of other patients and therapists
- Cohesiveness – Feeling a strong sense of purpose, validation, and belonging by sharing in this process with others
- Catharsis – Relieving oneself of negative feelings (such as shame) by speaking publically about one’s own challenges
At Boston Comprehensive Treatment Centers, we value group therapy as a part of the overall comprehensive medication assisted treatment approach we provide. By joining therapists and patients together in a setting that supports safety and structure, we can encourage productivity and collaboration where challenges and achievements related to addiction can be put into proper light and worked through in ways that benefit all involved. Group therapy is viewed as a medium to obtain therapeutic insight, support, and endless information that can dramatically improve an individual’s odds at achieving lasting recovery.
There is no one medication or therapeutic technique that can erase a substance abuse problem from an individual’s life. Within a medication assisted treatment program, these elements are blended together in a complete effort to help individuals put an end to their substance abuse and begin living a healthier lifestyle. Group therapy is a key component in that effort.
If you or someone you care for could benefit from group therapy and the other aspects of a medication assisted treatment program, please contact us right now.