Group therapy is one of the oldest treatment methods and has been time tested and proven to be useful after decades and decades of repeated use. Group therapy has been a crucial part of addiction treatment since the inception of rehabilitation around the beginning of the twentieth century. Group therapy is essentially defined as the form of psychosocial treatment wherein a small group of patients meets regularly to talk, interact and discuss problems with each other and with the group leader, (the therapist or counselor).
The purpose of group therapy is a simple if effective and groundbreaking one. Group therapy attempts to give individuals a very safe and comfortable place where they can work out the basic problems and various emotional issues that are plaguing them as a result of addiction. Patients gain valuable insight into their personal thoughts and behavior patterns, and they offer suggestions and support to others in the group. In addition to that, patients who have a difficult time with interpersonal relationships with others can further benefit from the social interactions that are a basic and fundamental part of the group therapy experience.
As for the results and the helpful effects of group therapy, studies have shown that individuals who take part in group therapy benefit at a percentage of about 85% of the patients that participate in the sessions. This does not mean that group therapy on its own can totally rehabilitate people by itself, but it is conducive to breakthroughs and powerful realizations that forward the quest to total sobriety and complete recovery. Optimally, patients will gain a better understanding of themselves thanks to group therapy, and perhaps a stronger set of interpersonal abilities and coping skills through the action and process of interacting with others. Some patients may want to continue therapy after their immediate group therapy course ends, either individually or in another group setting too. At Serenity, this is strongly encouraged, as aftercare is hugely beneficial for recovering addicts.
The History of Group Therapy
Group therapy has been a part of addiction recovery for decades. It was there at the beginning of addiction counseling when this science first became possible. It’s been there ever since. Group therapy in the United States can be traced back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries both when millions of immigrants moved to American shores and began to fall prey to addiction, mostly involving alcohol.
Most of these immigrants started off by settling in very large cities, and organizations and different groups were founded to assist them to adjust to life in the United States, which was very different from life in their home countries. Known as settlement houses, these agencies helped immigrant groups lobby and vie for better housing, working conditions, and recreational facilities too. These early social work groups valued group participation, the democratic process, and personal growth, and they set the stage for an addiction recovery community. Sure enough, when the 1920s rolled in, many of these associations made the easy transition into group therapy organizations. Today, there are tens of thousands of group therapy organizations all across the United States, and thousands more inpatient rehab centers use group therapy in their rehab centers too.
How Group Therapy is Used at Serenity
Group therapy is employed for its usefulness at Serenity. We have noticed that this approach to addiction recovery has almost unlimited uses. Group therapy is immensely beneficial for our clients, and we make sure to include group therapy in the individual programs of every client. Group therapy at our program comes in different shapes and sizes. We offer more traditional group therapy options, and we also encourage clients to take part in specialty group therapy that focuses on specific things like anger management, relapse prevention, improving relationships with others, etc.
Group therapy is by far not the only rehabilitative technique used at Serenity, but it is a strong, fundamental one. We have noticed and gleaned from our years spent rehabilitating others from addiction that:
- “There is no replacement for the benefit an individual can get from effectively addressing his or her issues with the help of his or her peers, and with learned from the experiences of others.”
Group therapy offers a unique approach to addiction rehabilitation, in that it gives participants an opportunity to not only receive help, guidance, and support from his or her peers. It also gives him or her the opportunity to give that help back into the group when other group members are going over their personal addiction crisis. It is a learning experience, and our clients grow and change and become better as a result of it.
Benefits of Group Therapy
Group therapy has almost unlimited uses. The model of group therapy is simple enough that you can take almost any subject matter and bring it to light in a group therapy session and address it. For example, at Serenity, we noticed that personal accountability has a lot to do with addiction recovery. More specifically, we have discovered that only when an individual is truly able to take responsibility for his or her actions as an addict that he or she can arrive at a breakthrough of sorts.
We do not play the blame game at Serenity. Rather, we use the benefits of group therapy to assist each client to, in a group of his or her peers, arrive at a realization of the effects that he or she has created on the elements of his or her life while doing drugs and alcohol. This is immensely beneficial to our clients, and the group support and solidarity that is used to help each client get through the phase is totally invaluable.