Group Therapy for Substance Abuse

Addiction treatment programs typically consist of addiction treatment and therapy. There are various forms of addiction treatment and therapy that can be included in an addiction treatment program. The two main categories that therapy falls into are individual therapy and group therapy. These two categories of therapy can then be broken down into several different types of therapy.

Although individual therapy and group therapy for
addiction may seem like they contain the same benefits at first glance, they actually serve those in addiction treatment in very different ways. To help you understand the ways group therapy benefits those in addiction treatment, we’re going to first explain to you all the different types and aspects of group therapy for substance abuse.

What is Group Therapy for Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse group therapy is a type of therapy that occurs with a therapist and more than one patient at the same time. Group therapy sessions may involve various types of activities and discussion topics.

Individual Therapy vs. Group Therapy for Substance Abuse

One main difference between individual therapy and group therapy for substance abuse is the dynamic of the therapy sessions. For example, because patients and therapists talk one-on-one in individual therapy, its therapy sessions are very intimate and personal. As a result, patients in individual therapy get the opportunity to dive deep into their emotions and experiences. 

In group therapy, on the other hand, patients have the opportunity to share their time to speak withgroup therapy for substance abuse other patients. This provides individuals with the chance to learn from others. This also allows group therapy members to gain new perspectives about their experiences and challenges. In a way, this too makes individuals become more self-aware. 

Another major difference between individual therapy and many forms of group therapy is that the therapists in group therapy tend to not talk as much as the ones in individual therapy. Instead, in group therapy for substance abuse, the therapist often acts as a moderator. In doing so, group therapy counselors allow patients to converse and learn from one another. 

Types of Substance Abuse Group Therapy

There are several different types of substance abuse group therapy. The five main types of group therapy for substance abuse include cognitive-behavioral therapy, support group therapy, psychoeducational group therapy, skill development group therapy, and interpersonal process group therapy. 

Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral group therapy works to change the negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of patients into positive ones. Through cognitive-behavioral therapy, people discover the negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that may trigger substance abuse Therefore, through changing these behaviors, people in cognitive-behavioral group therapy learn how to better handle their triggers.

Support Group Therapy

In support group therapy sessions, patients converse and form a support network for one another. Support group therapy for substance abuse is somewhat informal as the therapist simply guides the conversation amongst the patients. Often in support group therapy, patients give one another advice that helps them reach resolutions to addiction-related issues in their lives. 

Psychoeducational Group Therapy 

Psychoeducational group therapy for substance abuse teaches patients how their substance abuse affects their mental health. It also teaches addiction treatment patients how the addiction-related behaviors that they exhibit negatively affect their lives. Once the patients recognize how their addiction-related behaviors negatively affect them, they can then learn how to alter those behaviors through positive coping mechanisms.

Interpersonal Process Group Therapy

Interpersonal process group therapy aims to alter negative psychological thoughts in patients that cause them to not function well when around others. To do this, the therapist will observe the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that patients have while interacting with one another. 

Through these observations, the therapist will then pinpoint the psychological and emotional areas in each patient that needs improvement. The therapist will then bring up topics of discussion in the group therapy sessions that relate to the issues that the patients need to work on. 

Skill Development Group Therapy

Skill development group therapy for substance abuse aims to educate patients on life skills that they need to maintain sobriety. To do this, patients must practice these life skills with one another. Examples of life skills that patients practice in skills development group therapy include how to handle triggers that often lead you to substance abuse, how to effectively communicate with others, anger management, how to parent, and how to manage your finances. 

Categories of Group Therapy for Substance Abuse

All of the different types of substance abuse group therapy fall into one of two categories. These two categories are fixed membership groups and revolving membership groups.

Fixed Membership Groups

A fixed membership group therapy doesn’t allow new members to enter the group once the group forms. Therefore, the number of patients in a fixed membership group for substance abuse remains locked. The individual people with a fixed membership group therapy also remains locked. 

Revolving Membership Groups

A revolving membership group therapy allows members to join and leave the group whenever they please. Therefore, the number of members within a revolving membership group therapy for substance abuse is ever-changing. The individual members within a revolving membership groupgroup therapy for substance abuse therapy for substance abuse are also ever-changing. 

Sub-Categories of Group Therapy

Every type of group therapy for substance abuse is also either a part of one of two sub-categories. These two sub-categories are time-limited groups or ongoing groups.

Time-Limited Groups

Time-limited groups of therapy require all of its members to remain in the group for a designated amount of time. For example, a skills development group therapy for substance abuse that is time-limited may require that all members that enter the group remain in the group for exactly six weeks. 

Ongoing Groups

Ongoing groups of therapy allow its members to stay in a group of therapy for substance abuse as long or as little as they want. Therefore, you can leave an ongoing group therapy for substance abuse at any time. 

You can also stay in an ongoing group for substance abuse for a longer period of time than expected if you need to. You leave an ongoing group therapy whenever you feel you’re ready to leave the group.

Stages of Group Therapy for Addiction

Every group therapy for substance abuse goes through three key stages. These three stages are the beginning phase, the middle phase, and the ending phase.

The Beginning Phase

In the beginning phase of group therapy, patients learn about the rules of group therapy. This is also the phase in which group therapy members get used to the group and the group therapy process.

The Middle Phase

The middle phase of group therapy for substance abuse is when the actual therapy begins. In this phase, the therapist and the group therapy members all communicate with one another and help each other grow.

The Ending Phase

In the ending phase of group therapy for addiction, group therapy members address any lingering issues that they have. This is the final stage of group therapy.

Benefits of Group Therapy for Substance Abuse

There are numerous benefits of group therapy for substance abuse. Some of those benefits we briefly mentioned at the beginning of this article. We’ve gone into more detail and added on to the list of benefits of group therapy for substance below.

The Ability to Learn From Others

One key benefit of group therapy for substance abuse is the ability to communicate and learn from other recovering addicts. In group therapy, all members of the group give their perspective on topics of discussion based on their history with addiction. This allows the other group members to hear other perspectives about issues in their life that they would have never heard if they weren’t in group therapy. 

Group therapy also allows the group members to give one another advice about issues in one another’s lives. This, once again, allows the group therapy members to learn from one another. 

A final way that group therapy for substance abuse helps therapy group members learn from one another is by listening to one another’s addiction story. By hearing about the ups and downs of one another’s journey with addiction, group members learn valuable lessons. 

Support Groups

Another benefit of group therapy for addiction is the network of support that the group therapy members receive. This network of support comes from the bonds that the group therapy members make with one another. What’s special about the support groups that group therapy provides recovering addicts with is that they’re filled with people that have also experienced the struggles of addiction. 

Coping Mechanisms

A third benefit of group therapy for substance abuse is the addiction-related coping mechanisms that the group members get to learn. For example, group therapy members may learn coping mechanisms that will help them handle triggers, manage their anger, better communicate with others, resist the temptation to use substances, etc. 

Silver Linings Recovery Center Can Serve Your Addiction Treatment Needs

At Silver Linings Recovery Center, we provide specialized addiction treatment programs that incorporate different forms of evidence-based therapy and practices in them. Thus, whether you’re looking to attend group therapy for substance, individual therapy, family therapy, or even medication-assisted therapy, we can help you. To learn more about the other forms of addiction treatment and therapy that we offer here at Silver Linings Recovery Center, contact us today. 


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