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What Is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a precise kind of counseling that is utilized in the treatment of addiction, substance abuse, and psychological disorders.

It has to do with frequent sessions where numerous or a single therapist work alongside various individuals who want treatment for the same predicament. A lot of people can enjoy group therapy.

Group therapy alongside family therapy and individual therapy are crucial parts of efficient mental health treatment and substance abuse. Group therapy is a wide term with the goal of minimizing symptoms and enhancing recovery in individuals.

A trained leader is responsible for carrying out the session in group therapy, and the people who partake in group therapy usually do not have a prior relationship. The following are settings in which group therapy can be carried out, they include;

  • –  Outpatient programs which give patients freedom to come and leave freely
  • –  Hospital-based inpatient programs
  • –  Residential programs

Benefits of group therapy

There are various benefits an individual can enjoy from group therapy and some of these benefits include the following, they are;

  • –  The ability to interact with other people on the journey to attain knowledge on methods to deal with and overcome addiction can be of great significance to individuals who have just started the process.
  • –  Group therapy helps make individuals partaking in the program understand that they are not alone in the journey and let them share experiences and information with each other which can aid in the enhancement of self-esteem and confidence. Overall, sharing feelings and experiences aids in the reduction of guilt, stress, and discomfort among the participants of a group therapy.
  • –  Group therapy becomes a place where the participant can attain knowledge on how not to partake in behaviours that are destructive like looking for alcohol and drugs and instead engage in more positive behaviors.
  • –  It provides participants with the opportunity to observe the problems faces by others on the journey to recovery and the ways they were able to overcome them
  • –  It helps in enhancing the routine and structure in the lives of members
  • –  It helps in improving self-esteem, optimism, and belief in members of the group
  • –  Group therapy helps in the development of relationships between its members which can be utilized outside sessions for encouragement and support
  • –  It assists in the efficient treatment of numerous individuals at the same time ensuring they get the therapy they need quickly
  • –  It makes use of therapeutic tools to change behaviors.

The therapist offers a well-designed platform that keeps the discussions in check and also provides feedbacks and added advice that assists all members in attaining an enhanced understanding of themselves alongside methods to make on-going progress.

Is Group Therapy ideal for me?

Individuals who desire a group therapy would need to be paired with a group that suits their individual requirements. Before a person is added to a group, the following will be considered on behalf of the individual by the provider, they include;

  • Preference in treatment
  • Unique requirements
  • Recovery stage
  • Emotional stability

Depending on their current status, some individuals would not be deemed for group therapy; these include people who;

  • –  Do not accept group therapy as a treatment option that is viable
  • –  Have the possibility of going against the rules of the group
  • –  People who cannot keep confidential information
  • –  Battle to create stable relationships
  • –  Are currently battling with serious symptoms
  • –  Undergo severe stress when around new circumstances and people.

There are other groups like adolescents and women that need special considerations when it has to do with therapy group placement. According to evidence, women who partake in women only groups may have more enhanced results that those in groups that also have men.

Additionally, there is some possibility that adolescents in group therapy may encourage the use of substances between themselves. Leaders must have an understanding of these risks and ensure they are managed effectively.

Kind of Addictions Treated by Group Therapy

The following are some of the addictions that can effectively be treated by group therapy, they include;

  • –  Addiction to Nicotine or Tobacco
  • –  Alcohol addiction
  • –  Opiate addiction
  • –  Addiction to prescription drugs
  • –  Addiction to stimulants
  • –  Antidepressants
  • –  Depressants
  • –  Addiction to heroin or cocaine
  • –  Addiction to recreational drugs

Is Group Therapy Efficient?

According to studies carried out, many individuals who had partaken in group therapy agreed they would recommend their treatment facility to other individuals.

This shows that group therapy has a significant part to play in the successful treatment of addiction.

How group therapy is utilized in treating addiction

Group therapy assists members through the following stages which include;

  • –  Pre-contemplation

Participants do not consider changing the behaviour that results in substance abuse because they do not feel they have a severe issue. Other things like counselors and loved ones led to their joining group therapy

  • –  Contemplation

Due to the guidance from therapists and group session, it begins to make clients consider minimizing their use of substances or stopping entirely

  • –  Preparation

The individual has a better understanding of the harmful impact substance abuse has and starts having a better perspective on how quitting may be of benefit

  • –  Action

Here, the participant selects a method that would be utilized in stopping the substance abuse and starts to make the required adjustments to carry out the strategy with the aid of other group members as well as the therapists.

  • –  Maintenance

The individual works efficiently to maintain sobriety and avoid a relapse. Most individuals attain total recovery here

  • –  Recurrence

Individual relapses lead to a previous stage of rehabilitation. Progress can be attained again with ease back to the maintenance stage, and they may gain a better understanding of issues that resulted in the relapse.

Typically, a therapist with the appropriate license will have the ability to determine the kind of group therapy that is ideal for a person based on the seriousness of the individual to change and live a better life.

Types of Groups Used

There are five kinds of groups usually directed by a team of licensed therapists which include;

  • Psycho-educational groups

Here the emphasis is placed on a resolution of conflicts, prevention, trauma, anger management, wellness and health, family roles and culture.

  • Cognitive-behavioural groups

Place emphasis on the creation of new skills, management of feelings and anger, conflict resolution, spirituality, trauma, early recovery and prevention of relapse.

  • Skills development groups

This kind of group’s places emphasis on the same factors placed by the cognitive behavioural groups alongside meditation, training, relaxation and life skills training.

  • Support groups

These groups place emphasis on spirituality, gender-specific topics, relapse prevention and ceremonial healing practices.

  • Interpersonal Process Group Psychotherapy

These groups focus on diverse forms of abuse, trauma, humanistic topics, and psychodynamics.

Some other kinds of group therapy include:

  • Specialized groups in substance abuse treatment

These take the form of 12 step programs but also have to do with expressive therapy, ceremonial healing therapy, gender-specific topics, and expressive therapy among others.

  • Relapse prevention treatment groups

They place emphasis on the provision of on-going support, psychological education on the impact of addiction, skills development and cognitive behavioural therapy.

  • Communal and culturally specific groups

The provide community support alongside activities and topics based on culture

  • Expressive groups

These groups place emphasis on the various forms of therapy alongside drama, arts, and dance.

Categories of group therapy

Dependent on the participants of a group and how it is conducted, the groups can be categorized into various categories which include;

Fixed and Revolving Groups

Groups can either be revolving or fixed. A fixed group is one that starts and ends with the same set of participants. Immediately the group starts, new members have not added anymore. These kinds of groups have lower than 15 participants and are ideal for individuals that are at related recovery points.

Revolving groups can change members at any moment. When members are ideal for the group, they can become a part of it at any moment. This group is an on-going group with members that are continuously changing.

Fixed and revolving groups can be divided further into time-limited or on-going groups

  • Members of time-limited groups will be required to attend for a specific period or sessions
  • On-going groups will ask members to attend for as long as they need dependent on their symptoms and progress.

Everyone has its pros and cons, and the one that will be ideal for an individual will be determined by the unique requirements the individual has. All kinds can be very efficient based on the requirements of the individual.

Stages of Group Therapy

No matter the kind of group, they usually have the same general stages which include;

  • The starting phase;

The members will be introduced into the process and taught about the goals and rules of the groups

  • Middle phase;

This is where change usually takes place. This phase should take most of the person’s time in group therapy. Here the therapist would utilize their skills to trigger the changes in the pattern of thoughts and change behaviours to move toward the goal of the treatment. This is also where connections that are meaningful will be made between members.

The ending phase

This is where the therapy ends, and at this point, it should be eased into gradually so individuals can recognize what they have accomplished all through therapy and deal with any anxiety or sadness over the group coming to an end.

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Group Leader

The experience and qualifications of individuals responsible for leading the groups may be diverse. Examples of those who can be leaders of these groups include;

  • Licensed or certified substance abuse counselors.
  • Social workers.

Some terms which include therapist and facilitator are commonly utilized and do not show the precise experience and training.

Qualities of a great group leader

Good group leaders should have the following quality to ensure an efficient group which include;

  • The capacity to keep an environment that is safe, consistent and supportive so as to enhance sobriety.
  • The capacity to listen intensely and ensure members of the group feel heard.
  • The ability to manage the symptoms of group members alongside the effect group session has on them on a personal level.
  • The ability to have an understanding of what a patient is going through without judgment on a personal level.
  • Flexibility and ability to adapt to unplanned and unexpected circumstances as they occur.
  • A powerful sense of ethics that is maintained as circumstances crop up, this is a highly effective preventive measure.
  • The ability to utilize humor to balance tedious situations during group sessions.