Individual Vs Group Therapy For Substance Abuse Treatment
Individual therapy and group therapy are both effective for the treatment of addiction. Individual therapy provides personalized attention, while group therapy provides a sense of community. Each type can incorporate specific therapy techniques.
Some therapies are offered on an individual basis, while others take place in groups.
Both individual and group therapy can benefit people with substance use disorders. Some people respond better to one option than the other.
In some cases, people participate in a mixture of both, supplementing one type of therapy with another.
There are many types of addiction recovery groups and individual therapy approaches. When a person finds the right therapy options, they can take steps toward healing and recovery.
Individual Addiction Therapy
During individual therapy, a person meets their therapist alone, without any other participants in the room.
Some types of therapy can only be provided on an individual basis.
For example, EMDR addiction therapy, which combines trauma processing with mechanical movements, requires the therapist to focus on the individual.
Below are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of individual addiction therapy.
Benefits Of Individual Addiction Therapy
One of the key benefits of individual therapy is personalized attention. When a person receives individual therapy, their therapist is focused exclusively on them.
If the patient has a pressing concern about their addiction, they can rest assured that they will have enough time and space to bring it up.
Individual therapy can benefit anybody, but it may be especially beneficial to those who are either introverted or socially anxious.
When a person thrives best in quiet spaces, speaking one-on-one with a therapist can help them open up without taking extra time to warm up to a group.
Drawbacks Of Individual Addiction Therapy
There are very few drawbacks of individual therapy. However, for some people, the idea of individual therapy may seem overwhelming at first.
When a person who has never been to therapy doesn’t know what to expect, they may feel intimidated by the idea of having so much individualized attention.
In this case, the person may choose group therapy instead, which may feel less daunting.
Individual therapy also generally costs more money than group therapy, which may make it less attainable for some.
Group Addiction Therapy
During group therapy, a mental health professional leads a discussion with a group of people. Therapy sessions are focused on a particular topic, such as addiction.
Some types of therapy can only be performed in groups. Family therapy, for example, can be considered a type of group therapy.
Likewise, psychoeducational groups, which provide information about addiction, only work with multiple people.
Benefits Of Group Addiction Therapy
Because of the social aspect of group therapy, this type of counseling helps people form communities.
For people who deal with substance abuse, these communities can be extremely important. They help remove the sense of isolation that often accompanies addiction.
Furthermore, with more people to diffuse the therapist’s attention, individuals may feel less overwhelmed by group therapy than by individual therapy.
Drawbacks Of Group Addiction Therapy
While group therapy does have many benefits, it also has a few drawbacks. For example, some people may feel more comfortable opening up to one person than to several.
Also, because multiple people speak during group therapy, some people may not have time to bring up all of their concerns during a meeting.
Techniques Used In Individual And Group Therapy
While some therapy techniques only work for either individuals or groups, several techniques can be used in both types of settings.
Some common therapy techniques include:
- motivational interviewing (MI): a form of therapy that helps participants understand their goals and motivations
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): a skills-based therapy technique that teaches participants how to recognize unhelpful thought patterns
- dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): a branch of CBT that combines accepting one’s experiences with developing coping techniques
- holistic therapy: a whole-person approach to therapy that focuses on the mind, body, and spirit
Find Addiction Therapy And Substance Abuse Recovery
Substance abuse is a treatable condition, and therapy is a key part of that treatment.
However, when a person is already dealing with substance abuse, finding the right kind of therapy can seem like a huge undertaking.
Drug and alcohol rehab can take some of the pressure away from this process.
Spring Hill Recovery Center is an evidence-based rehab center in Massachusetts that offers many therapies, both on an individual and group level.
If you or a loved one need help to overcome substance abuse, contact the helpline at Spring Hill today.
Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team
©2023 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved
This page does not provide medical advice.
- American Psychological Association — Psychotherapy: Understanding Group Therapy https://www.apa.org/topics/psychotherapy/group-therapy
- National Institute On Drug Abuse — Drug Addiction Treatment In The United States https://www.apa.org/topics/psychotherapy/approaches
- National Institute On Drug Abuse — Principles Of Effective Treatment https://nida.nih.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment