At a time when isolation and social distancing have been a standard practice for more than a year, the idea of returning to group activities may seem novel. Resuming social activities is one of many valuable forms of group experiences. Therapy among other people in recovery is another. With more of society opening back up now, it’s an ideal time to look at what group therapy can do for you and your sobriety goals.
For anyone who’s experienced only individual therapy for substance use, group therapy can seem intimidating. But adding group therapy to your week can be highly beneficial in supporting your sober living goals. The benefits of group therapy come from routinely spending time with people who are also working on their recovery. It’s a place for support as well as accountability to the group. Therapists and senior group members can provide encouragement, ideas, and their own experiences as ways to shape your recovery work. Improved social interactions and communication skills are another takeaway for people who commit to group therapy for substance use disorders.
What is group therapy?
Group therapy is a form of treatment where you share the space and the experience with other people in recovery. Unlike individual therapy, connecting with peers is a valuable part of the sessions. A therapist leads the work in group therapy and gives opportunities to each person to share and participate in activities to help teach new skills and practice recovery strategies.
What to Expect in Group Therapy
The idea of sitting among strangers in a group can be intimidating. Not everyone is comfortable with this kind of therapy at the beginning. But, learning what to expect from a group therapy session can reduce anxiety around attending sessions.
Group therapy tends to consist of small gatherings of people in recovery. There may be a mix of ages and genders in the group. The sessions are scheduled at the same time(s) each week and you will likely see many of the same faces week to week.
A single therapist (or therapist team) leads the session with a structure already in place. Participants take turns sharing as directed by the therapist and active listening by everyone is encouraged. Not every experience shared will match yours so it’s helpful to recognize group therapy can come with a wide range of stories about substance use and its impact on other lives.
People in group therapy will be at different stages of their recovery. You may meet people who have been working on sobriety for many weeks or months already. You may meet people who are at the same place in their recovery as you are right now.
What are the benefits of group therapy?
Group therapy offers numerous benefits not found in forms of individual therapy. One of them comes from spending time in an environment where there’s a universal objective for everyone. Each person is working towards their own recovery and shares their progress along the way. You will discover you’re not alone in your struggle to stay sober.
Information and advice flow freely in these sessions. You may get encouragement and ideas from fellow members who understand what you’re going through. Over time, you may start to see more of the common ground you share with specific individuals, too.
Group therapy is a form of accountability for people in recovery. It’s not a place where making yourself look good helps you in any way. Sharing authentically is most important and that may be acknowledging areas where you need extra support.
Improving social interactions and communication are more benefits of group therapy. In interacting with others, you may discover you could be more open in what you share. Also, you may realize your listening skills need improvement.
Senior members and therapists tend to model the optimum behavior for the group. You can learn how to effectively participate by watching their behavior. These skills will apply to all group dynamics in the future, too. It’s important to know when to speak up for yourself and when to listen to someone else who has the floor.
Origins Counseling in Dallas, Texas, made available by a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561.841.1264.