Josh Chandler | April 24, 2017

The Benefits of Group Counseling for Addiction

Opening up about your addiction can be difficult, but it’s made easier when you talk with others about their similar experiences. Read on for the benefits of group counseling as it relates to addiction rehab.

Addictions are more common than you may think. A lot of people live in shame because of their addiction. Many rarely speak out about what is happening inside their heads while suffering from substance abuse. This is why group counseling is, perhaps, one of the best and most powerful healing tools for someone who suffers from an addiction. Group counseling allows people to connect with others like them and share experiences related to their addictions. These types of conversations are not easy to find in an average social setting. People are afraid of being vulnerable in front of their friends by speaking about their addictions. This is why group counseling is such an important part of any quality rehab process. It helps get rid of feelings of shame and move toward the healing process. Group therapy can vary in size, anywhere from 3 members to more than 10. Meetings usually happen twice a week and can last around 1-2 hours. The purpose of the group is determined by a specialist. If you want to find out more about group counseling and whether it would help you or not, keep reading. We created a guide on what is group counseling, its common approaches, and what your expectations should be.

What is group counseling?

Group counseling promotes communication and friendship within a group while encouraging healing from addiction and any psychological disorders that may be attached. This type of therapy is usually conducted by a certified therapist who leads the conversation. He or she encourages bonding between the members of the group and tries to make the conversations more comfortable.

Group counseling can speed up the healing process in many ways:

  • Interactions with other individuals who are suffering from the same issues eliminate the feeling of shame and embarrassment.
  • Sharing your thoughts and experiences with similar peers is shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Healthy behaviors are taught in group counseling, and you can find out more from people who have already overcame their addictions.

When someone is confused about what is happening in their lives, the therapist provides steps that shed insight and help each member of the group better understand themselves.

How to get the most out of group counseling

They are a few steps you can take to maximize your group therapy experience. Generally, when interacting with a group, it is wise to listen and not be self-centered. Be friendly with other members and make sure you exchange a few words with everyone in the group. Be sure to interact by giving feedback on others experiences. Also, stay positive and supporting avoiding the tough love route.

The 5 healing stages

Every member of the group is going trough 6 stages that finally lead to healing. The purpose of the therapist is to guide the group members trough all the stages while using a supportive environment.

The basis for group therapy is helping members progress through 6 stages.

1. The addict does not believe he/she has a problem. The family usually tries to speak with the therapist first about how they should approach this.

2. After a few meetings, the member of the group is familiarized with group counseling. The denial disappears, and now the thoughts of regaining their old life appear.

3. This step involves picking the right strategies to stop going back harmful behaviors.

4. A group member finally gets rid of his addiction and manages to maintain it over a prolonged period of time. Some are cured completely at this stage.

5. Some fall back into their old vices but quickly get back on the right track since now they have experience with fighting their addiction.

Types of groups

There are 2 types of groups that are used to treat addiction. All come with specific strategies targeted at specific issues that the group members are dealing with.

1. Emotional support

This type of group focuses on dealing with the emotional impact (anger, sadness, shame) that addictions have on the group members and how emotional responses can be managed.

2. Growth

The focus in this type of group is on coping with the addiction, building new skills, and improving the social life of the members. Growth groups also teach strategies and tactics that help their members have a smooth transition through all the stages of recovery. This could also touch topics as coping with trauma, uncovering the root cause of the addiction, and helping the members understand themselves better, not just in their relationship with substance abuse, but in all contexts. There are many other types of groups out there. However, all of them usually focus on two areas: emotional support and growth. You might encounter unknown terms when looking for group counseling, but they all focus on one of these areas.

How long does the treatment last?

Usually, the length of the treatment is determined by the genetic makeup of the client, the motivation of the client and the severity of the addiction. There is no absolute answer to these questions, however. If someone is suffering from substance abuse, the treatment usually lasts at least 3 months. The 3 month period is the minimum a client should attend group therapy and could extend throughout a year. There are also shorter programs, too. For the most impatient, the quickest programs usually last between 4-6 weeks. However, these programs are usually recommended to people who are not in the first or second stage of the healing process. Someone who is in denial or the deepest depths of their addiction of their addictive behavior will not benefit as much from these shorter programs.

Use support networks

When you’re in rehab, it’s easy to feel like it’s you against the world – even though there are dozens of other patients going through the same thing you are. When you realize that there are others dealing with the same things you are, it can feel relieving, and it can feel overwhelming. The right Los Angeles drug rehab provides patients with an amazing, unparalleled support network to gain information and support when it comes to recovery and staying sober. Also, don’t underestimate the power of friends and family in the recovery process. Your loved ones want the best for you, and they can provide support when you need it.

Wrapping up

Dealing with addictions by yourself is a heavy burden to carry. This is why group counseling exists. Most people do not heal by themselves. Rather, they do so through the help of others. It can be hard to find support from your family and friends. They might want to help you, but they do not really know what you are going through. This is another reason why groups work so well. You will meet people who are just like you, in a shame-free, growth-focused environment.

If you want to find out more about group counseling, take a look at our blog.

Also, if you would like to find out where you can find a counseling group, do not hesitate to contact us.

Addiction,Mental Health,Recovery,Rehab,Treatment,
Josh Chandler
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