Group Therapy For Addiction Recovery: Types Of Groups
Several group therapy options can treat substance addiction. Cognitive behavioral and psychoeducational groups are some types used for drug addiction. These groups provide community and coping skills to overcome substance abuse.
There are several substance abuse treatment techniques used in the addiction recovery process. One of the most common techniques is group therapy.
Group therapy brings those recovering from substance use disorders together to build community, share perspectives, and learn new coping skills.
There are several types of group therapy. Some of these include 12-step groups, psychoeducational groups, and relapse prevention groups.
Below we’ll look at these and other groups and discover how they can benefit someone in addiction recovery.
What Is Group Therapy?
Group therapy brings people together to discuss their experiences, share ideas, and participate in therapeutic activities together.
Typically, a therapist facilitates group sessions. They may have questions, topics, or ideas to kick-start a meeting. Participants then have the opportunity to share and discuss their responses with one another.
Sessions last anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours and typically involve about three to 12 or more people. Groups meet in drug rehab centers, doctor’s offices, or public spaces.
In comparing individual vs. group therapy, group therapy has the benefits of connecting, building trust, and offering fresh insight among like-minded individuals.
The amount of involvement is up to the attendant. You might choose to listen passively or speak up and share your perspective with the group.
Types Of Groups
There are many types of groups for substance addiction.
Some are part of the addiction treatment process in an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program. Others occur outside of a rehabilitation program and may be free to join.
Goals, facilitation, and size may deviate from group to group. However, the purpose of all types of group therapy is to provide a safe space and allow each person to share openly and honestly.
This type of therapy teaches healthy coping mechanisms, enables participants to spot potential triggers, and empowers group members to sustain life-long sobriety.
Unlike other groups, psychoeducational groups rely less on attendees steering the group and more on the facilitator leading.
However, this does not mean participants don’t benefit from each other’s presence. People in psychoeducational groups often practice distress tolerance skills with each other.
Cognitive Behavioral Groups
Cognitive behavioral group therapy takes the individual form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and applies it in a group setting.
Group CBT works on the idea that interactions between attendees drive change and can reinforce positive behavior.
Ideas and conclusions usually found in one-on-one CBT can be relayed to the group and expounded upon.
Identifying and coping with addiction triggers can be practiced in a CBT group.
Relapse Prevention Groups
Relapse prevention groups focus on recognizing situations that may cause one to use drugs or drink. By creating a relapse prevention strategy, high-risk situations don’t have to trigger a relapse.
These groups use the acronym BHALT to describe five feelings that may cause a relapse. BHALT stands for boredom, hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness.
Activities in relapse prevention groups include:
- centering exercises involving concentrated breathing
- writing down and sharing relapse warning signs
- participants delivering a 10-minute speech on their history with drugs and alcohol
Support groups are a more open and self-facilitated type of group therapy. The most common form is 12-step groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
In 12-step groups, members share stories concerning substance abuse and how applying the 12 spiritual and action steps to their lives has changed them.
These 12 steps ask someone to recognize a god of their understanding (tangible or spiritual), take a moral inventory of past grievances and behaviors, and make amends to people they’ve harmed during addiction.
These groups create lasting relationships among members and provide many opportunities to be of service to newcomers and meetings.
What Are Some Benefits Of Group Therapy?
The benefits of group therapy mainly come from the group setting. Participants build a sense of camaraderie by sharing similar pasts and building new friendships.
While in active addiction, many found themselves in isolation. When first getting sober, socializing can be daunting, so some people avoid big groups and are still weary of meeting new people.
Group therapy can provide a common ground to meet people from similar walks of life, sharing past experiences and learning how to lean on one another.
Discussing stress can provide a sense of relief and improve mood. It can also boost confidence and self-esteem when progress is shared and celebrated together.
Outside the group, participants may become part of each other’s support system. Forming a social group of fellow sober friends makes recovery more manageable and enjoyable.
Addiction Treatment In Massachusetts
Group therapy can help you or a loved one find recovery from substance abuse.
Our treatment options at Spring Hill Recovery Center (which include inpatient programs, outpatient options, and medical detox) all include forms of group therapy.
Reach out to one of our substance abuse treatment specialists to learn more about our addiction recovery approaches.
Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team
©2023 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved
This page does not provide medical advice.
- National Library Of Medicine — 2 Types Of Groups Commonly Used In Substance Abuse Treatment https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64214/
- Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration — Group Therapy In Substance Use Treatment https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/SAMHSA_Digital_Download/pep20-02-01-020.pdf
- United States Government — Mental Health And Substance Abuse https://www.usa.gov/mental-health-substance-abuse