Why group therapy is such a successful approach in treating alcoholism and addiction

Struggling with alcoholism or addiction? Find out why group therapy is such a successful approach in treating them.

Human beings need interaction with others. People come together for work or play, and they may also gather in a group to address their substance abuse issues. In fact, some people find group therapy is of more help to them than individual counseling.

Gathering in a group reduces the isolation of addicts and allows people to draw from the experiences of others. The group often treats more than substance abuse. It may also help participants struggling with depression, shame, and more. Why is group therapy helpful to many struggling with alcoholism or substance abuse issues?

Understanding group therapy

Group therapy is a treatment option for addicts, including those who are taking part in tricare alcohol rehab. Several people, typically between five and 15 individuals, come together weekly for an hour or two to discuss their recovery under the guidance of a licensed therapist. Most sessions have a specific topic the group will talk about, such as anger management or coping skills.

Techniques used in group therapy

The group therapist determines how each session will be run. However, active discussion plays a large role in these sessions. New members may be offered the opportunity to introduce themselves, while current members can share their progress or struggles since the last session. Cognitive-behavioral therapy tools may be shared with participants, or other techniques may be used. The therapist typically makes this choice.

Is group therapy effective?

Many people doubt the effectiveness of group therapy. However, the American Psychological Association has done extensive research into the benefits of group therapy and has found that is it extremely effective. In fact, it ranks up there with individual therapy in terms of efficacy. Some individuals actually benefit more from group therapy than they do from individual therapy.

Is group therapy helpful in the treatment of substance abuse disorders?

Many inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs have a group therapy component, along with individual therapy sessions for participants. Men and women struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction find this treatment method to be very helpful. They come together with others who understand what they are going through and why it is hard to give up the drug of choice.

Participants are held accountable by others in the group. Addicts can see others who have overcome their addictions and are succeeding in life. Positive peer pressure helps keep them on track and will do the same for an addict who is just starting on this journey.

Every addict taking part in group therapy will come into contact with people with different characteristics and experiences. They get different perspectives on their issues and build a solid support network while doing so. Researchers have found that men and women taking part in group therapy are less likely to use their drugs of choice. Teens who are struggling with substance abuse issues also benefit from group sessions for similar reasons.

Group therapy is not for everyone. Some people feel uncomfortable talking with a group because there is less confidentiality. Other people are extremely shy and would not get anything from the group. Certain members may only take part in the group because they were ordered by a judge to do so, and personality conflicts might arise. Nevertheless, many people find group therapy to be of great help to them, so this is one treatment option every person should try at least once.