Effective treatment for mental health and substance use disorders (SUDs) requires more than individual psychotherapy. Recovery is a process that involves multiple treatment components in addition to individual psychotherapy sessions. Therefore, another essential component of recovery is group therapy.
Group therapy is another method of psychotherapy that involves working with a therapist alongside several other peers. There are many reasons why group therapy is a vital component of treatment and recovery. As you learn to identify these reasons, you will realize why group therapy must be incorporated into your treatment plan.
Group Therapy Basics
It is crucial to understand that group therapy is an umbrella term for any therapeutic modality utilized in a group environment. There are many different types of group therapy, each offering various benefits. Still, group therapy is meant to provide a safe space for individuals to discuss their problems with one another with the guidance of a therapist.
Some group therapy sessions are offered as needed, while others require attendance on a daily or weekly basis. The requirements of a specific therapy group are often based on an individual’s treatment program. For example, inpatient treatment programs are more likely to require daily attendance for group therapy. There are also treatment centers that offer group therapy for specialized circumstances, such as grief support.
The Value of Group Therapy During Treatment and Recovery
In general, group therapy encourages socialization with others that may be experiencing similar symptoms or life circumstances as you are. So often, mental health and substance use disorders contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation. When these feelings are left untreated, they can perpetuate symptoms and repeated substance use. Recovery promotes social support through group therapy, which helps to reduce these feelings and ultimately works to prevent relapse.
The social support received through group therapy can do more than reduce feelings of isolation. Here are some additional benefits of group therapy. These benefits include:
Group Therapy Enhances Self-Concept and Altruism
A critical element of group therapy is that it allows individuals to connect with others through lived experiences. People recovering from a SUD may believe that the consequences of their substance use are unique to them. They may neglect to realize that substance use can produce consequences for anyone, regardless of how severe one’s substance use may be. As peers share their experiences within a group therapy setting, participants will grow their self-concept by assisting others.
Participants may offer advice, comfort, or compassion for struggling people. Likewise, as they provide these things to their peers, they will also learn how to have compassion for themselves. Group therapy will teach participants how to challenge the intrusive voices inside their heads that say that they are not worthy enough of recovery.
Group Therapy Encourages Hope
What is recovery without hope? Another powerful element of group therapy is that it instills hope in participants seeking healing. As participants share their challenges and frustrations, they will also be encouraged to share their victories and success. Further, while participants witness each other’s success throughout recovery, they can envision themselves doing the same. This type of treatment can be motivating for all of its members.
Group Therapy Fosters Development of Social Skills
Mental health disorders and SUD often interfere with an individual’s ability to socialize normally with others. While treatment will help individuals learn crucial life skills, group therapy offers a necessary opportunity to practice those skills. Many individuals who struggle with mental health have grown up in chaotic or disorganized home environments. As a result, they may lack knowledge of proper or effective social skills, which can negatively impact their recovery.
Indeed, group therapy allows all participants to learn appropriate ways to interact with others. For example, if conflict and disagreement arise during group therapy, the therapist will encourage participants to prioritize respect for one another. Similarly, the group members will hold one another accountable for problematic emotions if they arise throughout treatment.
Group Therapy Provides a Balanced Learning Environment
Lastly, another benefit of group therapy is that it provides a balanced learning environment for all members. Throughout sessions, participants will better understand how their emotions and behavior affect others. Similarly, participants are encouraged to offer feedback to each other, which can help members learn how to accept constructive criticism. Although it can be challenging, group therapy strives to provide a balanced learning environment for participants where no one feels dominated or subordinated.
Again, group therapy is a vital component of effective treatment and recovery. Still, there are many group therapy sessions available. Reach out to your local treatment center today to see if there is a group that is right for you.
Group therapy is a valuable component of treatment and recovery from mental health and substance use disorders. It provides several benefits, including enhancing self-concept, encouraging hope, and fostering the development of social skills, in addition to providing social support. Without social support from group therapy, individuals are more vulnerable to relapse. Most treatment centers will incorporate group therapy into individualized treatment plans to help complement the traditional therapeutic process. SoCal Mental Health is a treatment facility that treats mental health and substance use disorders. We understand that social support plays a significant factor in facilitating treatment entry and engagement, which is why we offer group therapy as a part of treatment. We create individualized care plans for our clients in addition to a wide range of treatment programs. To learn more about our facility, call us today at (949) 502-2041.