Changing Tides Addition Treatment Center’s Intensive Outpatient Group Therapy for addiction to alcohol and drugs provides psychotherapy treatment in a format where there is typically one therapist and six to twelve participants who – just like you — are seeking to recover from substance abuse disorder and maintain their sobriety. Depending on a patient’s individual needs and our recommended addiction treatment plan, a therapist may recommend group therapy over individual psychotherapy for a variety of reasons. It may be the group format is better suited for the patient or the concern they are dealing with, or the specific type of addiction treatment has a group therapy component (such as dialectical behavior therapy).
Participants in group therapy for addiction recovery improve not only from the interventions of the therapist, but also from observing others in the group and receiving feedback from other group members also undergoing treatment for substance abuse disorders. The group format, does not provide the one-on-one attention of individual formats, but has several advantages that improve one’s likelihood to overcome addiction and help sustain their recovery from alcohol and drug abuse
Similar to family therapy, group therapy is a style that can incorporate any of the psychotherapy schools. The advantages of group therapy include:
Intensive Outpatient Group Therapy can provide the patient with feedback from other people who are also in recovery from alcohol and drugs. Getting different perspectives is often helpful in promoting growth, change and self-awareness that can be helpful in sustaining sobriety and addiction recovery.
By seeing how others handle similar challenges in undergoing addiction treatment and maintaining sobriety, the patient can rapidly add new coping methods to his or her behaviors. This is beneficial in that it can give the patient a variety of perspectives on addiction recovery skills and methods that are helpful, seem to work and when to apply these learned sobriety maintenance skills.
Mary listens to Joan talk about how telling her husband that he hurt her feelings was more productive than simply getting angry at him and not speaking. As she listens, Mary thinks of how she might try this same strategy with her husband. She can then try out this new behavior by practicing with the men in the group.
Improve social skills
Since so much of our daily interaction is with other people, many people learn to improve their social skills in Intensive Outpatient Group Therapy (even though such an issue may not be the focus of the group). The group leader, a therapist, often helps people to learn to communicate more clearly and effectively with one another in the group context. This is inevitably leads to people learning new social skills which they can generalize and use in all of their relationships with others.
Group therapy offers participants the opportunity to interact with others with similar issues in a safe, supportive environment. Participants can try out new behaviors, role play, and engage with others in not only receiving valuable feedback and insight from other group members, but also in giving it.
Most people who try Intensive Outpatient Group Therapy do become comfortable and familiar with the process over a short period of time (within a few weeks). Many leading addiction recovery experts, clinicians and researchers believe that the Intensive Outpatient Group Therapy process produces stronger and longer-lasting addiction recovery for many people, as compared to individual psychotherapy.
As the group members begin to feel more comfortable, you will be able to speak freely. The psychological safety of the group will allow the expression of those feelings that are often difficult to express outside of group therapy. You will begin to ask for the support you need. You will be encouraged to tell people what you expect of them.
In a group therapy setting, you probably will be most helped and satisfied if you talk about your feelings. It is important to keep in mind that you are the one who determines how much you disclose in a group. You will not be forced to tell you deepest and innermost thoughts.
Groups with greater than 12 participants undergoing treatment for addiction to alcohol and drugs should usually be avoided, as it becomes increasingly difficult for people to attain sufficient time to make the group process work as effectively as it does with smaller groups.