The Benefits of Group Therapy For Women in Recovery Programs

Apr 16, 2024

If you’re new to substance abuse recovery programs, you may wonder if group therapy is necessary or beneficial to your success.

Opening up in a group setting can indeed be daunting at first. Addiction causes us to isolate ourselves from others so we can hide our faults and weaknesses, avoid social stigma, and conceal substance use from our friends, families, and coworkers.

The reasons we avoid speaking up in groups are the very reasons why group therapy is necessary for your long-term sobriety goals.

Group Therapy For Women in Recovery Programs


What is Group Therapy?

As the name suggests, group therapy is a counseling session with a group rather than a one-on-one session with your therapist or counselor. Sessions can be led by a mental health professional, which is usually what you experience in an addiction recovery center. It can also be led by members of the group, like Alcohol Anonymous meetings.

What Types of Group Therapy Could I Encounter?

  • 12-step groups are structured according to the widely successful Alcoholics Anonymous program. The 12-step format is used to help those addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, overeating, and codependency.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) groups help people better understand how thoughts influence substance misuse.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) groups are like CBT but are designed to help people who experience unusually strong uncontrolled emotions. It helps them accept the reality of their lives while offering a better understanding of how thoughts affect their actions.
  • Expressive groups (art, writing, dance) help people express feelings they have trouble verbalizing.
  • Interpersonal process groups help you understand how your thoughts and actions affect your relationships.
  • Psycho educational groups provide education to the group on how to manage your shared condition.
  • Relapse prevention skills groups help prepare you to reenter the world and avoid common pitfalls and triggers.
  • Specialized support groups seek to meet the needs of a specific group of people based on shared characteristics such as gender or the LBGT community.
  • Trauma group therapy helps people process traumatic events that are driving unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse.

What Are The Benefits of Group Therapy?

  1. Knowing that other people are experiencing the same problems liberates you from some of the feelings of guilt and shame. You quit focusing on self-flagellation and start looking at addiction as a treatable disease.
  2. Being in a sober environment surrounded by people with similar goals can curb cravings. You support one another and hold each other accountable. Just knowing you’re going to a meeting that day can help you stay strong through a craving.
  3. Listening to the stories of those who have stood where you are and found healing can be highly motivating. You’re more likely to stick to a program and trust the process when you see it working for others.
  4. You engage with your therapy on a deeper level as you gain insights from other members of the group.
  5. Surrounded by your peers, you can feel a sense of belonging and sisterhood as you move forward together toward a common goal.

Are There Any Downsides?

In certain situations, group settings may be inadvisable. An example would be a trauma victim who is feeling too vulnerable to open up or who might be triggered by hearing stories from other survivors. There is a time and place for group therapy, and the trauma victim may one day even lead such discussions to help other trauma survivors. The patient and therapist can decide together when to progress from one-on-one sessions to group sessions where appropriate.

Why is Group Therapy Especially Important for Women?

Women are more likely to experience depression than men across all age groups. Depression and anxiety cause women to isolate themselves, making things worse. Women are also more likely to use drugs or alcohol to forget abuse or assault. One out of every three women report being assaulted by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Trying to stop drug or alcohol use without addressing mental health is futile. You can’t treat a disease by only addressing the symptoms. That’s like taking Tylenol for a broken arm but never setting or casting the bone.

Women’s addiction counseling in a female-only group setting makes it easier for women to open up about trauma, especially if the trauma was caused by a male. The survivor can deal with the issues without complicating the session with feelings of fear, intimidation, or shame in the presence of the opposite gender.

Additionally, women can empower other women, mentor each other, and connect with each other on a deeper level. Together, they can heal and share resources, tips, and strategies.

Final Words

Our women’s alcohol treatment center in Idaho employs group therapy sessions because they are science-backed strategies that encourage long-term growth and recovery. Find a supportive community group therapy or treatment center today.