Why Group Therapy?
Human beings are social creatures. We often take part in groups for many reasons: family, political, religious, social, or cultural. Not only do these groups influence behavior, but they can also provide support during times of pain.
Because of this, group therapies are an essential piece of every treatment program. Clients will not improve if they remain isolated. While some clients may have a solid support system at home, many do not. And even if they do, nothing helps a person more than to be surrounded by those who understand their struggles. Most of our clients do not need to explain themselves to each other. They simply understand what it’s like to deal with addiction and offer support.
Types of Group Therapy
Group therapies are beneficial to clients during treatment when they are led by trained professionals and produce healing or recovery. The different categories of group therapy include:
- Psychoeducational. These teach clients about their addiction.
- Skill Development. These groups teach coping skills and life skills.
- Cognitive-Behavioral. Rewire the brain and evaluate negative thinking patterns.
- Support. Members can hold each other accountable and provide constructive criticism and support.
- Interpersonal Process. Examines the past and how that has affected their current addiction.
The Benefits of Group Therapy
Studies have shown group therapy is beneficial to individuals struggling with addiction and mental illness. The most common type of group therapy offered through a treatment facility is going to be a process group. Process groups are smaller in size, ranging from 8 to 15 members, and they are led by a therapist or clinician. Benefits of these groups include:
Peer Support in a Community Setting
Clients who commit to group therapy are committing to consistent attendance and abstinence. Clients are expected to maintain responsibility for their actions, take the group seriously, and provide continued support to their peers when they struggle. These groups build a community support system that people who don’t understand addiction can’t provide.
It’s hard to tell your friends that stuff, imagine telling strangers. But when you do, and they accept you, a weight comes off you like nothing else. It’s a real connection. And you can’t wait to get back there tomorrow and share with them again. And if you stay with that group, you’ll get sober.Bob Schalit – CEO of The Summit Wellness Group
It can be difficult for individuals struggling to admit that they have bad habits and behaviors that they need to change. Listening to their peers describe similar shortcomings within themselves can be an eye-opening experience and can help point out ways those changes can be made. Transforming negative thoughts and behaviors into more positive, healthy ones is easier when someone else admits that they too struggle with something similar.
Clients will be in a safe and non-judgemental environment. Here, they are able to speak their truth and explore what it is that they are feeling and experiencing. Listening to others open up and still be accepted can encourage more communication.
We’re all here for the same reason, but then you and I start talking. And then we become friends. Your peers are what keep you going, the connection.Bob Schalit – CEO of The Summit Wellness Group
Witness the Recovery of Others
Hope is often found in places where others have succeeded. When clients build relationships with their peers, they witness successful recovery firsthand. Clients are motivated when their friends maintain sobriety long-term and lead happy lives outside of addiction. Watching this can reinforce the idea that staying dedicated to treatment works and recovery is achievable.
Reduce Sense of Isolation
Many people struggling with addiction feel isolated. It’s as if no one understands what they are going through. They often feel that they need to hide their addiction from friends and family. But when a client is placed in a group with people like them, they no longer have to hide. They can discuss their feelings and experiences. Most importantly, they can form connections with people who understand their struggles and who don’t view them as lesser because of them.
Develop Coping Skills
Clients who observe successful coping skills and habits are more likely to adopt them into their lifestyle. This can speed up the recovery process, enforce commitment, and make the results more effective and long-lasting. Clients are more likely to accept help from someone who understands what it is that they are experiencing and who has demonstrated that certain skills and habits work.
Constructive Feedback From Peers
Group therapy enables clients to voice their options and offer feedback to others. This can help to keep clients accountable as their peers keep track of and discuss their progress. The group’s effectiveness only works if clients remain committed to consistency. They must uphold the recommendations of their therapists as group members uphold accountability.
Structure and Discipline
Groups can help clients establish goals, rewards, and consequences for specific behaviors. This helps clients gain a sense of structure in their otherwise chaotic lives. Clients know that they are expected to participate in a certain number of sessions. They know (for the most part) who is going to be in their group each time, and they know what to expect of each session and of themselves.
I’m going to do this. I’m going to walk in the door, sit in a room of 20 people, and tell them my deepest, darkest secrets. That’s real recovery. It’s hard to do.Bob Schalit – CEO of The Summit Wellness Group
Improved Communication Skills
Clients will spend most of their group sessions listening to others and talking about their own experiences. This is going to require them to develop communication skills that they might not have coming into the group. It may be easier for clients to develop these skills with people who already understand what they are going through. This makes it easier for clients to apply what they learn to people in their lives that may not understand their struggle with addiction.
Build and Establish Relationships
Clients will be seeing the same people each session, depending on the type of group they are attending. This can help them form relationships with those who are in similar situations. They will learn skills that may help improve relationships in their personal life.
Opportunity to Help Others
By expressing their thoughts, internal struggles, and successes, clients may be able to help others in their group. Individuals struggling with addiction, or who have struggled with it, can connect to one another much easier. They can understand what their peers are experiencing, and they can be empathetic.
I always tell people in recovery, our job is to stay clean, first and foremost for ourselves, and then we go help somebody else. Sponsor somebody. Go help somebody else out that needs some help because what else are we here for?Bob Schalit – CEO of The Summit Wellness Group
What Groups Do We Offer?
Along with a variety of different holistic tracks that often require group participation, some of the small groups we offer at The Summit Wellness Group include:
- Spirituality and Mindfulness: The main goal of this group is to equip clients with skills and techniques that reduce stress, urges, and emotional outbursts. Mindfulness has a direct positive impact on clients and leads to a more effective recovery plan.
- Healthy Living: These groups in each PHP schedule help clients learn habits that promote a healthy lifestyle. Proper fitness and diet are impactful in reducing urges and promoting routine. Many incorporate these into their lives after their treatment ends to maintain recovery.
- Co-Occurring Disorders: Whether a person’s addiction has led to the development of a mental health condition or vice versa, the two often coincide. There are often underlying traumas or disorders causing substance abuse. Clients have the best chance of success if both conditions are treated at the same time. If the two are not treated together, the chance of relapse increases.
- Change Your Thoughts/Change Your Life: The purpose of groups like this is to help our clients develop self-awareness. They will learn healthy habits and coping skills. Clients will also examine how their thoughts and actions, whether negative or positive, affect their recovery journey.
- Building Healthy Relationships: Fixing and improving relationships is a key step in the recovery process. We work with our clients to help provide them with the necessary skills to make this easier.
- Yoga: Practicing yoga has several positive effects including stress reduction, decreased anxiety and depression, decreased number and intensity of urges, and an overall improvement in mental and physical wellness.
Group therapies are a key component of all partial hospitalization and outpatient programs at The Summit Wellness Group. Clients not only benefit from these groups, but they often continue to participate even after treatment has ended. If you are struggling with substance abuse, seeking professional treatment is critical. Our dedicated team of clinicians works with groups of clients to promote abstinence through the recovery process. If you need help, give us a call today so we can match you with a program that meets your specific needs.
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We’d love the opportunity to help you during this overwhelming and difficult process. Our sincere passion is helping people recover so that they can live full, meaningful, and healthy lives.
Call us 24/7 at 770-299-1677 or fill out our contact form and a member of our admissions team will contact you shortly.