When it comes to types of counseling received in treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) and mental health disorders, group therapy is a tried and true approach. It is a highly effective form of treatment utilized from treatment centers to AA meetings.
Group therapy gives individuals the opportunity to receive support from others who are facing similar challenges. During group sessions, individuals can share the coping skills and strategies they have learned while building lasting relationships and support systems.
What Is Group Therapy?
Group therapy has been used as early as the 1930s by groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to treat SUDs. Today we understand the benefits of receiving treatment through group therapy. These benefits are seen in the treatment of a wide range of mental health disorders and SUDs.
During group therapy, individuals who come together to discuss their experiences, emotions, and thoughts. This is done in a setting facilitated by a licensed therapist. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of group therapy. We will also discuss the different options for attending groups before, during, and after treatment and how groups can create lasting friendships and support systems.
The Benefits of Group Therapy
There are several benefits of group therapy that have given it staying power in the treatment of SUDs and mental health disorders. One of the most important of these benefits is that individuals receive support collectively.
Fosters Peer Support
Clients who struggle with these disorders may struggle with feeling isolated and alone. Group counseling gives people the ability to connect with peers who understand what they are going through. This can be incredibly empowering for those who need encouragement.
Teaches Coping Strategies
Group therapy can also be a good place for clients to learn coping strategies that have been tested and verified by other members of the group. Since individuals in the group share similar common ailments with each other, the success of new coping strategies that work for one person may work for another.
People in group therapy can also learn new ways of conducting their lives. These new skills can help them better manage their mental health disorder or SUD. Whether someone is beginning their journey to recovery or is a veteran continuing their lifelong sobriety, they can learn from the experiences of others who have been through similar experiences.
Strengthens Connections Between Participants
In these sessions with peer groups, individuals in counseling can build relationships beyond just their counselor. Regular attendance in group therapy lets the person make connections with people who have similar experiences. This can give them a support structure that continues outside of the counseling session.
Many facilities and counseling networks encourage these kinds of connections. Some treatment centers offer group activities such as hiking and sports events. These activities gather together members of groups for fun outings that build kinship.
What Are Your Group Therapy Options?
There is more than one option for group therapy. There are options for group therapy before seeking treatment, during treatment, and long into recovery.
Many communities offer informal support groups for a wide range of people. Before a client ever seeks treatment, they can seek out one of these informal groups to deal with everything from grief to getting more exercise. Many substance abuse and mental health treatment programs require group counseling as a part of the therapy plan. And after treatment, group therapy in recovery helps the client continue to build on their progress toward lifelong sobriety.
One constant throughout all group therapy options is the role of the facilitator. Group discussions can easily go off the rails. A good facilitator is a glue that keeps groups together. The facilitator, often a therapist, may not insert themselves much during the meeting. However, they do guide the group to work through issues and challenges they face in their substance use or mental health treatment.
How Group Therapy Can Bring You Healing
Group therapy can bring healing in substance abuse treatment in a number of specific ways. Whether you are a group therapy veteran or new to the process, the following are some ways group therapy can bring you healing.
Group therapy provides a space where individuals struggling with SUDs can share their experiences and feel heard and understood by others who have faced similar challenges. This shared experience can help individuals feel less isolated and alone in their struggles, which can be a powerful motivator in their recovery journey.
Group therapy provides a supportive environment where individuals can offer encouragement and support to one another. This can help individuals feel less overwhelmed and better equipped to handle the challenges of recovery.
Group counseling provides a sense of accountability as individuals are encouraged to be honest and transparent about their progress and struggles. This accountability can help individuals stay motivated and on track in their recovery journey.
Group therapy can help individuals understand that their experiences with SUD are not unique and that many others have faced similar challenges. This normalization can help individuals feel less shame and guilt and increase their willingness to seek help and support.
Counseling with a peer group provides opportunities for individuals to learn new coping skills and strategies for managing triggers and avoiding relapse. This skill development can be an important part of the recovery process and help individuals maintain their sobriety over the long term.
Finding Healing in Group Therapy
Group therapy can provide a powerful sense of community and support that can be instrumental in the healing and recovery process for individuals struggling with substance abuse. By providing a space for individuals to share their experiences, offer support and accountability, and develop new skills, group therapy can help individuals build resilience and find the strength to overcome their SUD.
Group therapy is a therapeutic approach that is an effective treatment for a range of mental health disorders and substance use disorders (SUDs). It offers you the opportunity to receive learn new coping skills and strategies and build lasting relationships with peers. Whether you have attended group therapy before or this is your first time, getting together with peers with similar journeys can benefit you. Knowing that there are other people out there who know your struggles because they have them as well and learning how they cope with the same problems can help you to face and overcome your own. For more information about your group therapy options at Renaissance Ranch, call us today at (801) 308-8898.