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The Power of Group Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Group therapy is a cornerstone in addiction treatment, where a group of people meet and attempt to address distressing problems such as substance abuse. This form of psychotherapy is offered in substance abuse treatment facilities, including AKUA Mind Body, and is a necessary element of a comprehensive residential and outpatient treatment plan in addition to individual therapy and medications. You can receive many benefits from group therapy that you cannot receive from individual therapy.  

Group therapy is intended to provide encouragement, support, and structure in a safe environment where group members can share their perspectives, feelings, and struggles with others who can relate to them. Group members can also provide one another with support and advice to help them learn from each other’s experiences. Group therapy can be in-person or virtual and averages about 5-10 people. It can be held daily, weekly, or monthly, lasting 60-90 minutes per session. The duration, frequency, size, and content are tailored to the person’s needs and the treatment team’s recommendations.  

The thought of talking about your problems with a bunch of strangers can be intimidating. However, many people are pleasantly surprised by how much they like group therapy and how much they get out of it because they are around like-minded people who help them work through difficult problems and feelings. Group therapy also allows you to learn an immense amount of information about yourself.

Encourages vulnerability

During group therapy sessions, you are encouraged to “wear your heart on your sleeve” or have your “heart wide open,” meaning that you are encouraged to share your feelings, thoughts, and experiences. Group therapy is a safe and protected space that allows people to share and listen. The more reserved people see others opening up and sharing freely in group therapy, the more it encourages them to share their experiences. All it takes is one brave soul modeling healthy vulnerability to unlock something special in a group therapy session.  

Once you learn to become vulnerable about your addiction in group therapy, you can be more open and honest with your loved ones, share in sessions what you are feeling and experiencing, allow space for new people who are in recovery to enter into your life and get to know you, reach out and ask for help when you are struggling, and be more comfortable asking questions about your recovery journey. Learning how to be vulnerable in group therapy can tremendously impact vulnerability in your personal life throughout your recovery journey.

Helps improve your communication skills

Healthy communication is the pivotal cornerstone for a successful group therapy session, as the therapist and people must be able to communicate with one another and learn different communication styles. Interpersonal conflict is often based on miscommunication and poor listening, a significant source of stress for many people. Group therapy is a unique opportunity to learn about communication and improve listening, speaking, and understanding others. Group therapy improves your communication skills because you are all engaged in the project of listening and understanding.  

If you cannot understand someone correctly in your group therapy session, another person will likely jump in and offer another explanation to help you understand better. You are given different perspectives in different ways of communication. Not only will you sharpen your listening and empathy skills, but you will also see how others misinterpret what you say. You will gradually learn to communicate more clearly, using different approaches, which is an important life skill to have in your toolbox.

Reduces isolation

Many people enter addiction treatment feeling alone. They feel they are the only ones battling the disease of addiction; they are the only ones in their evil thoughts, unacceptable problems, and unhealthy impulses. Many people who are struggling with an addiction feel shame once they enter treatment. This shame can also come from years of abuse and mental health disorders that have been hidden or undiagnosed for years. 

While it is true that each of us is unique and is on an individual journey, we are never alone in the addiction treatment process, especially in group therapy. Group therapy increases the sense that “we are all in this together.” People participating in group therapy are often relieved to discover that others have had similar experiences, and they can finally discuss it. They can naturally bond and grow closer by sharing these experiences and learning about one another’s struggles.    

Group therapy offers access to a supportive network of like-minded peers and can allow you to forge meaningful and lasting sober friendships. Additionally, some groups offer a unique space for mentoring and being mentored, allowing individuals to receive and provide guidance on their recovery journey. Finding a genuine connection with the group can give you a sense of purpose, relieve stress, reduce loneliness, and feel a sense of support and community.

The Power of Group Therapy in Ad

Broadens your perspective

Group therapy allows you to receive a broad range of feedback from people other than just your therapist, compared to individual therapy, where you receive one-on-one feedback from your therapist. Each person in group therapy brings in their unique story, experience, personality, and communication skills, and through these differences, you can experience different perspectives. You may learn various coping skills or different ways to communicate.  

You can also learn from others’ failures and successes while being challenged to think about their struggles from different perspectives. Having a broader perspective on not only addiction and recovery but also on people and life can be significant in many aspects of your life as you can relate to others, adapt to change, and work through challenges when you change your perspective, giving you an advantage to a successful life. 

AKUA Mind Body offers group therapy in multiple levels of care including residential and outpatient care across all the regions we serve. If you want to learn more about how group therapy can benefit you, feel free to contact us. We also offer an Aftercare Alumni Program which also allows for community opportunities for people in recovery after they have completed a formal treatment program. 


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