Emotional support and social acceptance are two factors known to have an impact on a person’s emotional strength. This is why group therapy for substance abuse is being seen as a highly effective component of rehabilitation, as it gives people a sense of belonging and people who truly resonate with what they are going through.
This is important to note, as rehabilitation could be highly stressful for those who go through it, which is why in many cases, the process itself is not as successful as it should be, and the patient ends up going into relapse after some time.
What are the Benefits of Group Therapy for Substance Abuse?
For many, group therapy is not something they would consider a traditional form of therapy, although there are factors that play into addiction that do require non-traditional approaches to deal with it. Many of the benefits associated with therapy are those that focus on dealing with the more non-traditional aspects of addiction.
In talk therapy, getting someone to open up is perhaps the most difficult part of the entire exercise. For many, it takes a great deal of courage to talk to strangers about the particulars of their condition. In the group therapy approach, however, things are made somewhat easier with the knowledge that everyone in the group is going through the same thing as everyone else.
While this might not be much of an encouragement to some, it is still a good point for the approach, as people tend to relate more with others whom they feel a certain commonality with.
For people with issues such as addiction, the only support they could expect to get are from their parents, their family, or some very close friends. While many are already starting to understand that addiction is a disorder and not a contagious disease, many still choose to stay away from people they suspect as someone who might have it.
Group therapy offers the chance to benefit from a close-knit community of like-minded people. As everyone in this community shares the bond of trying to recover from the disorder, members of the group are spared any kind of judgment, prejudice, or disrespect that people with this condition often get from others.
People who suffer from substance abuse tend to suffer from severe isolation from everyone else. Whether it be self-imposed or because no one wants to associate with someone with a substance abuse disorder, the isolation is not only crushing the morale and spirit of the person, but it could also pose a danger when they need the help of others during an emergency.
Members of group therapy are not only encouraged to reach out when they need help but they are also encouraged to help ensure that other members of the group are doing well. This further helps in coping with the stigma that people with a substance abuse disorder suffer from, where others try their best to avoid them as if they had an infectious illness.
A person going through rehab might feel that the world owes them a huge favor because they’ve had it rough while they had a substance abuse disorder and now that they’re trying to clean their act up, everyone should give them a break. While this might sound juvenile and impractical, it also happens to be true.
This is because self-pity is a common thing for people going through rehab, and because they believe that no one else would give them sympathy, they take on an attitude of self-importance so that they feel a bit of value to what they are doing. Being with others going through the same thing changes this because they get to see a mirror of how they are and what they feel, and this brings about a good measure of realization.
It is immensely easy to pass around claims and talk of how effective this type of therapy is or how fast-acting that type of treatment is, but at the end of the day, irrefutable evidence will still be the greatest motivator for many who are seeking actual improvement in their condition.
An important component of group therapy is the show of support for people who have managed to stay clean despite the massive urge to use substances once more. This is shared during the talks done in group sessions and it serves as an inspiration for all members of the group to follow suit, as one of their numbers was able to do it.
Some of the strongest relationships between people are often those made while going through a significant event or some form of hardship. This is why soldiers often have bonds with other members of their unit that last a lifetime. The same could also be said for those who go through therapy as a group.
This is because members of the group know that no one else would understand them as much as the other members of the group, since they all have similar conditions, difficulties, and opportunities. This allows them to build a relationship with members of the group based on trust, understanding, and mutual respect for what they have gone through.
A component of group therapy involves being attuned to other members of the group who might need help but are not vocal about it. Being able to discern this, and being able to offer help to someone else in the group is sure to bring back the self-worth that was lost before.
This is important because this is a milestone in the treatment, where a person learns to not only put importance on the welfare of others but also to believe that they could help others get over whatever issues or hardships they are going through.
Responsibility is the farthest thing in the mind of someone with a substance abuse disorder. For the better part of their day, their mind is focused solely on using whatever substance they are hooked on and nothing else. While in therapy, however, they will discover that recovery is a process, and it is something that they need to work on diligently.
While the approach might indeed be called group therapy, progression toward recovery is still an individual effort. This is done so that members regain their sense of responsibility and accountability for their work toward staying sober.
How Do I Know if Group Therapy is Right For Me?
A therapist will typically suggest the best mode of treatment for people based on a thorough evaluation done during the initial stages of rehabilitation. It should be noted, however, that there are also considerations to be taken into account when deciding what particular approach would work well with a particular person working towards lasting sobriety.
Know the Difference Between Group Therapy and a Support Group
Group therapy is different from a support group, and this is something that people should understand better so that they know what they are getting into. Group therapy is led by a therapist who will guide the progression of the members with activities and discussions. To a certain extent, the therapist will even take into account the peculiarities and personalities of the group members before putting them all in one group.
A support group, on the other hand, is a collection of people who seek to help others, or require the help of others, to deal with issues that are common to the members of the group. A support group could even have a moderator who is also someone who shares the commonality with everyone else but has managed to deal with the issue much better than the others.
Know How Much Work You Intend to Put into It
Group therapy is not intended to go for very long periods of time. There needs to be a marked progression in the members which the therapist will track to determine the level of success of the therapy. If a person is not showing any progress after some time, group therapy might not be the kind of treatment that would work best for them.
This is why it is important to know that while the support received in group therapy is a huge thing, each member of the group needs to work on their progression. Support groups tend to practice a more relaxed approach to personal progress relevant to sobriety in this aspect, although this also tends to result in slower progress.
Know Your Willingness to Give as Much as You Receive
It is called group therapy for a reason, and this is because everyone in the group needs to help each other. Members need to foster an attitude towards active participation and sincere appreciation and respect for others for this type of therapy to work.
For people who feel they need the therapist to focus more on them than on others, then perhaps individual therapy might be a better fit than group therapy since individual therapy puts the spotlight on the individual needing therapy.
Learn More About Group Therapy at Legends Recovery
Understanding how well a patient resonates with a particular form of treatment is important because it would determine if the treatment would be a success or a waste of time. This is why we here at Legends Recovery take the time to see what treatment form would work best for the people who need our help.
Spend some time with us and let us see how we could help you best because you just might discover some things about yourself you never knew.