Addiction is a complicated disease that refuses simplistic treatments.
Those who are battling an addiction to opioids often struggle with psychological, emotional, physical, and behavioral problems. In order for treatment to be the most effective, treatment programs must help patients work through all of the issues that have developed in response to the addiction, or that may have caused it. Group therapy is a critical aspect of helping to accomplish this goal.
Group therapy is a therapeutic modality that includes the participation of numerous patients. Group therapy sessions are typically led by one therapist who leads a small group of participants, while more than one counselor will lead a larger group of participants.
Similar to individual therapy, the role of group therapy is to help those who are addicted to substances acknowledge and address the behavioral and emotional components that have added to the patient’s addiction. Addiction hardly ever develops for no reason, as external issues such as pressure and stress can add to the development of a substance abuse problem. Additionally, other issues, such as mood disorders, self-esteem issues, a history of trauma or abuse, and more, can lead to an addiction. Group therapy offers a place for patients to comb through these topics as they relate to addiction and their recovery.
Group therapy is effective when the counselor who is leading the charge and his or her patients all actively participate to share thoughts, experiences, and insights. Below are the primary objectives of group therapy:
- Universality – Aiding in the relief of feelings of isolation by encouraging the sharing of common feelings and experiences amongst one another in group therapy
- Self-understanding – Obtaining insight into one’s own concerns by listening to other group members share their successes and setbacks
- Interpersonal learning – Learning from the experiences and the thoughts of others, all while being able to share one’s own emotions and beliefs
- Altruism – Seeing the value of adding to the betterment of other group members’ lives
- Hope – Understanding that other individuals have overcome challenges that one might currently be going through
- Information – Obtaining more information regarding addiction as a disease and the recovery process
- Imitative behavior – Acquiring new strategies and skills by watching the positive behaviors of both other group members and therapists
- Cohesiveness – Feeling a sense of purpose, validation, and belonging by sharing this experience with others
- Catharsis – Obtaining relief from feelings such as shame (or other emotional distress) by talking about challenges in a public setting
At Cedar Rapids Comprehensive Treatment Center, we value the benefits of group therapy when combined with an overall medication assisted treatment plan. By joining therapists and patients together in an environment that is safe and structured, patients can be encouraged to put their struggles in the appropriate perspective, as well as discuss them in ways that benefit themselves and the group as a whole. Group therapy offers the critical information, priceless therapeutic insights, and reliable support that can dramatically improve upon a patient’s ability to actively pursue long-term recovery.
There is no medication, treatment approach, or technique that can cure an individual’s addiction. Within a medication assisted treatment program, however, there are a number of elements included into a patient’s treatment plan so that he or she can yield the proven effective success of a program such as this. Group therapy is critical in helping individuals overcome their substance abuse problems and begin living happy, healthy lives.
If you or someone you care for could benefit from group therapy or other aspects of a comprehensive medication assisted treatment program, reach out to us right now.