Group therapy for drug addiction has been shown to be very effective. The group therapy setting provides peer support as well as the advice of someone with mental health training. This combination is extremely helpful for anyone with Substance Use Disorder (SUD). It gives the social environment found in unofficial support groups. It also provides the more clinical treatment found in traditional therapy. This makes it a very useful tool on the road to recovery. It should be considered when making an addiction recovery plan.
What is Group Therapy
Though the term “group therapy” is simple, it can easily be misunderstood. In group therapy sessions, several people with the same issue meet. In the case of drug addiction, several people with SUD would be in the group. The goal is to discuss solutions for managing their addictions. These groups are slightly different from casual support groups. In group therapy, a professional facilitator supervises the meetings. The facilitators have a background in mental health. As such, they are able to provide insight and treatments for SUD.
Group Therapy vs. Support Groups
There are typically important differences between group therapy and support groups. Here are some important characteristics of professional group therapy:
- Professionally trained therapeutic facilitator
- Structured recovery planning
- Evidence-based treatment (EBT)
- Ability to provide feedback through official channels
- Therapeutic environment
- Education about substance use disorders
On the other hand, here are a few aspects of most support groups:
- Group facilitators are often volunteers with no professional training or certification
- Individuals must manage their own recovery plans away from the group
- No official treatment aside from peer support
- Limited supervision or oversight
- Casual environment
- No educational benefits
Keep in mind that each group is different, so these differences might now always apply. Additionally, these differences do not imply that recovering people do not receive substantial benefits from support groups.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The primary advantage to group therapy is the therapeutic structure. This allows for a more thorough understanding of how to deal with SUD. Since a trained professional manages the groups, they are more directed toward finding solutions. Complaints and problems within the group can be handled in a constructive way. Problems with the group or therapist can also be addressed officially.
In contrast, most support groups have minimal structure. This is often by design. Support groups are intended to be informal. No official records are kept in support groups. There is also less authority. This provides a more natural outlet for personal expression.
Though there are advantages to using group therapy, support groups are also a valuable part of recovery. Support groups allow for more casual socializing. This allows group members to grow a support circle. Support groups also provide a place that is free from the limiting structure of therapy. Most support groups also include additional activities. These can help provide a recreational outlet that is safe for those in recovery.
Many successful recovery plans include a mixture of group therapy and support groups. Anyone in recovery should try a combination to find what suits them best.
Types of Group Therapy
There are many types of group therapy sessions. Different facilities will have different choices available. It is often helpful to try every option to get the best fit. Every group will be different based on the facilitator and the individuals in the group. The most common types of group therapy are:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) groups.
- Psychoeducational groups.
- Skill development groups.
- Interpersonal process groups.
- Support groups.
Many other types are available. Contacting local mental health or rehabilitation facilities will provide you with a list of groups in your area. Even more options can be found online.
Before you join any group, it is useful to know what to expect so that you can choose the right group for your needs. There’s no wrong choice, so experiment with each. Here’s an outline of the general-purpose and format of each group:
CBT groups are one of the most common types of group therapy. This is because research has shown CBT to be highly effective at treating SUD. These groups focus on changing harmful thoughts and beliefs. The goal is to help remove or change thought patterns that lead to addictive behaviors.
Psychoeducational groups teach people more about their addiction. These may seem more like a classroom than a traditional group. By learning more about substance use disorder, attendees are better able to fight it. Educational groups also provide a deeper understanding. The aim is to remove ignorance about how SUD works. These can be as useful for family and friends as for the addict themselves.
Interpersonal Process Groups
Interpersonal process groups focus less on addiction and more on relationships. Since healthy relationships are important in recovery, these groups teach skills that are valuable in dealing with other people. Often the focus is on healthy communication. The skills learned in these groups can help with relationships outside of the group. By creating better communication, relationships in families can be healed.
Skill Development Groups
Skill development groups mix education with communication between people. The point is to develop skills that make living with SUD easier. The skills taught in these groups include:
- Identifying and managing triggers.
- Using effective communication.
- Managing anger and resentment.
- Parenting skills.
- Relationship skills.
- Coping with disappointment.
- Support Groups
Most support groups for SUD are informal. 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are the most common of these type. However, there are some support groups that are more official. These will be handled through a therapeutic facility. The main purpose of these is the same as with unofficial groups. They are intended to give emotional support and understanding. The only major difference between these and other support groups is a leader with mental health training.
How to Find Therapy Groups
The easiest way to find group therapy for drug addiction is to contact local rehabilitation facilities. These establishments are equipped to help. If they don’t provide the services you need, they will know where to go. They can often provide referrals to get your foot in the door. Don’t suffer alone. There are people who care and want you to enjoy the life you were meant to live.
Finding Group Therapy for Meth Addiction Treatment in Chattanooga
Anyone seeking help with their amphetamine addiction in Chattanooga should contact us at Riverwalk Recovery Center. We have various treatment options to fit any lifestyle.
In addition to helping with meth addiction, we also treat depression, all forms of SUD, and even eating disorders. Our staff is available anytime, any day of the week. Reach out and let us help you begin your path to a better life!