Most rehab facilities have a group therapy program, and if you’ve never tried group therapy before, the process may seem intimidating. Opening up to others about your personal experiences can be a challenge.
However, group therapy for recovery can be highly rewarding. With help from a skilled facilitator, group members gain insight into their own behavior, offer positive reinforcement to others, and help one another through crises.
As a judgment-free space, group counseling allows people in recovery to share the truth about their struggles. Group therapy also teaches social and behavioral skills that can help you for the rest of your life.
Skills Taught in Group Therapy Programs
Communication is a central group therapy skill. When others speak, you practice actively listening to them and understanding what they’re saying. And when you speak, you practice expressing yourself clearly. Offering others meaningful feedback is a valuable part of communication as well.
Skill-based topics you may cover in group therapy include:
- Conflict resolution
- Education about addiction and barriers to sobriety
- Healthy coping techniques for emotional distress
- Trauma recovery
Groups often have a specific focus, and some emphasize practicing certain skills.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches participants to replace distorted or unhelpful thinking and behavior patterns with more constructive thoughts and actions.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) emphasizes techniques to regulate strong emotions, handle distress, and communicate effectively with others.
- 12-step support groups use the progressive 12-step model of addiction recovery to help members work towards abstinence from substance use.
For people who have co-occurring disorders, like mental health conditions, group therapy offers coping techniques designed to help them handle their symptoms. For instance, CBT skills often help people with depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.
Group Therapy Peer Support and Accountability
Group therapy programs can provide positive motivation as members work to achieve their goals. People who are further along in their recovery serve as role models to those just beginning their journey. Seeing others reach recovery milestones or overcome obstacles can encourage you in your own progress. Similarly, anyone who faces setbacks in recovery or experiences a relapse can reach out to group members for help.
Giving and receiving feedback is a powerful aspect of group therapy programs. Other participants can help you see situations from new perspectives and come up with solutions you wouldn’t have thought of by yourself. As you each share how you’ve solved problems or coped with difficulty in your life, you learn healthy coping techniques from one another.
Encouragement, Connection, and Community
Not only does group therapy provide structure and routine—which are vital to stability in early recovery—but it gives you a chance to build connections.
Many people who have substance use disorders feel isolated, lonely, or overwhelmed, and groups provide a safe space for you to identify with others and learn you aren’t alone. The process of sharing your experiences and struggles has been proven to reduce feelings of shame and guilt.
Over time, group therapy for recovery cultivates a sense of belonging to a community. This bond may last after you leave the program. Friendships you make in groups can sustain you during long-term recovery.
Group Therapy for Recovery at GBAC
At Greater Boston Addiction Centers, group therapy is a cornerstone of treatment. Clients who receive the support, encouragement, and accountability of a group are more likely to remain in treatment and stay abstinent. Our facilities provide all the tools you need to help you reach your recovery goals.
We offer educational groups, skills development groups, CBT and DBT-focused groups, 12-step support, women’ s-only and men’ s-only groups, and more. Groups are available through our outpatient programs and partial hospitalization program. Whatever stage of recovery you’re in, we can support you. Learn more by contacting 877.920.6583 or reaching out to us online.