Group therapy is simply defined as any therapy delivered in a setting with two or more people simultaneously. Group therapy sessions look much the same as individual therapy sessions, with participants talking in turns about their issues, challenges, and successes. One of the main benefits of group therapy is the opportunity to interact with peers in the recovery process. Being surrounded by people who intrinsically know and share your struggle can be a critical support on the path to healing.
Benefits of Group Therapy
The benefits of group therapy are many. Explore more about four of the most important benefits below:
Addiction is often a lonely disease. Societal stigma, shame, and the feeling that nobody understands the experiences of an addicted individual all contribute to a sense of isolation. Relationships are damaged in the course of an addiction. Often in ways that feel irreparable. Group therapy promotes connection, peer relationships, and a sense of belonging in something larger than oneself. People in recovery who attend group therapy experience a sense of community that can alleviate their isolation and set a foundation for successful recovery.
2. Mutual Support
Group therapy is about more than just belonging, however. It is also a key lever for support. Participants act as mentors or guides to each other as they share struggles and successes. Opportunities to support others and be supported contribute to improved self-esteem for those in recovery. This can help them rediscover positive aspects of their identity that have been clouded by addiction.
3. Improved Communication
Group therapy provides a structured, safe environment to practice giving and receiving feedback. This type of constructive communication may be entirely new to people in recovery. Or, at the very least, addiction typically damages people’s ability to express themselves and communicate effectively with others. A benefit of group therapy is that participants can build this skill back up in a judgment-free, safe space.
Hopelessness is a common feeling among people with addictions. And even at the outset of rehab or treatment, hopelessness may still prevail. Group therapy can address this feeling by plugging people into a supportive network and exposing them to other people making progress in recovery. Seeing others celebrate victories and advance toward sobriety can, in turn, empower someone to achieve their own recovery goals.
How Does Group Therapy Work?
At this point, the benefits of group therapy ought to be clear. But you might still be asking, how does group therapy work? Sessions are led by a trained therapist who sets and enforces guidelines and rules that participants must abide by to create a safe, productive atmosphere.
Therapists guide patients through a structure that typically resembles the following:
- The therapist will pose a question
- Participants are encouraged and allowed to respond with the expectation that everyone contributes something
- The therapist will interject with feedback when and where appropriate
- Throughout, the therapist will observe participants and their interactions
Sessions typically last at least an hour, potentially as long as two hours. Group size varies anywhere between five and ten patients in a group. If conducted as part of an inpatient program, therapy groups may meet multiple times a week, whereas outpatient programs will generally convene on a weekly basis. Finally, confidentiality is the bedrock of group therapy. Skilled therapists set the tone in this regard. They strive for a sense of group cohesiveness as a way to ensure patients uphold confidentiality and honor each others’ stories and struggles.
Tap into the benefits of Georgia Addiction Treatment Center’s group therapy program by calling 855.952.3546.