There are a few different types of therapy that work well for people undergoing addiction treatment. Individual therapy allows people to discuss things that they may be uncomfortable discussing otherwise and work towards healing co-occurring disorders.
Group therapy for addiction treatment works a little differently. In group therapy, people in the grips of addiction get a chance to speak to and hear from other people going through similar situations. In conjunction with individual therapy, group therapy can play a very important role in early recovery.
What Types of Group Therapy are There?
There are a few common types of group therapy. If you’re in group therapy for addiction treatment, you’ll likely start with peer group counseling.
Peer Group Counseling
In this setting, a therapist will lead the group in discussions and guide the flow of conversation. You’ll hear from others in the group about their challenges and struggles with addiction. Additionally, you’ll have the option to share, as well.
In most peer group counseling, you aren’t required to share. Most people are uncomfortable the first few times that they go and need a few sessions to warm up. Sharing can be beneficial but it’s okay to just listen and take it all in the first couple of times.
Addiction can cause rifts in families as parents, siblings, and other loved ones work to understand what addiction is and cope with any past hurts. Having a therapist as a mediator in these situations can make it easier to talk through everything and begin making amends.
A subset of family therapy, marriage or couple’s counseling may also play an important role in recovery.
What are the Benefits of Group Therapy?
There are multiple benefits to group therapy for addiction treatment, but especially to peer group counseling. Some of the most common include:
- Building a network of people you can count on in recovery
- Learning from others who are in similar situations
- Beginning to practice vulnerability by sharing stories and challenges
- Developing life skills that can make recovery easier in the long-term
One of the most important benefits of group therapy is just being able to talk to other people who have been in similar situations. While you may trust your individual therapist and enjoy working with them, you may sometimes wonder if they truly understand what you’re going through.
In group therapy, you know that the people who are talking have walked in your shoes and are working to overcome similar struggles that you are. Seeing them succeed or have a breakthrough can be motivational.
Maybe most importantly, many people who participate in group therapy build lifelong friendships that continue to serve them. With the advent of modern technology, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with the people in support groups long after treatment.
What is the Difference Between Group Therapy and a Support Group?
Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can be invaluable tools in long-term recovery but they aren’t the same thing as group therapy. Most of the time, these groups are led by other people in recovery who may or may not have experience in psychology.
You can still build strong bonds and emotional support in these groups, but the leadership aspect will be much different. Instead of a therapist guiding you and a group of peers, it will be a peer guiding you. Attending both support groups and group therapy can strengthen your recovery.
If you or a loved one is currently struggling with addiction, RAIN Recovery can help. We combine more traditional therapies like group therapy with holistic treatments, including crystal healing, yoga, and more.