September 4th, 2023
Battling addiction can often feel like a solo endeavour, a fight that pits you against your inner demons while the world around you recedes into the background. This isolating experience can further fuel your substance abuse or addictive behaviours, creating a vicious cycle that is incredibly difficult to break. But you don’t have to face this challenge alone – group therapy can be the bridge that reconnects you with a community of supportive peers who understand what you are going through. It helps to foster a spirit of community and compassion, enabling healing and growth together.
Group therapy explained
Addiction group therapy is a form of therapeutic rehab treatment where a professional therapist leads those in recovery in open conversation. The therapist is skilled at stimulating constructive dialogues that encourage self-reflection and personal growth, deftly balancing guided advice with opportunities for spontaneous group interaction.
Group therapy sessions are purposefully designed to create an environment that inspires openness and candid discussions. These sessions enable participants to share their individual experiences with addiction, fears about recovery, successes and setbacks with others who can empathise and offer support.
A defining feature of group therapy is the diversity of recovery stages among participants. Some may be newly confronting their addiction, others may be in the midst of their recovery journey, and some may have already surmounted significant challenges and are now maintaining their recovery. This broad range of experiences brings a wealth of collective wisdom to the group, enhancing its therapeutic value.
What are the benefits of group therapy for addiction?
There are various benefits of group therapy for addiction recovery. These include:
New insights into recovery…
During group therapy, you stand to gain from professional guidance and the experiences of others on similar journeys. Participants can glean insights from each other’s triumphs, draw strength from shared struggles and gain fresh perspectives on their recovery paths. Such interactions foster a sense of shared understanding and empathy, helping to combat the feelings of isolation often associated with battling addiction.
Development of communication skills…
Group therapy promotes open communication and honesty. It allows participants to express their thoughts and feelings openly and learn to give and receive feedback respectfully and constructively. These improved communication skills can benefit other aspects of life, such as personal relationships and workplace interactions, which may have been affected by substance use or addictive behaviours.
There is a unique kind of support that comes from others who are going through the same struggles. Group therapy offers an opportunity to form meaningful connections with people who truly understand what you’re going through. These connections can form a vital support network during rehab, aftercare and the wider future. In fact, Oasis Runcorn offers weekly group therapy sessions for a year in our aftercare programme to provide ongoing peer support.
The practice of new behaviours…
Group therapy provides a safe and supportive environment to practise new behaviours and coping strategies that have been learned during other rehab therapy sessions. Role-playing exercises and group discussions can help participants explore new ways of handling stressful situations without turning to substance use.
The normalisation of feelings and experiences…
Many people who struggle with addiction feel a sense of shame or isolation because they believe their experiences are unique to them. In a group therapy setting, hearing others share similar feelings and experiences can help you realise that you are not alone, reducing the stigma associated with addiction and making the recovery process feel more attainable.
Motivation to change…
Seeing others who are at various stages of recovery can serve as a powerful motivator. Participants can find encouragement from those who are successfully navigating their recovery journey and provide the same encouragement to others who are just starting their path to recovery.
Common fears about group therapy
Fear of the unknown is a completely normal human reaction, and one of our former clients explained her feelings before starting group therapy:
“The thought of group therapy terrified me; I’ve struggled all my life to open up to others for fear of being judged or looking stupid.”
Facing these fears and stepping into a group therapy setting requires courage, but countless individuals have found that the benefits gained from the process far outweigh the initial apprehension. As you build trust and rapport within your group, these fears typically lessen, making way for meaningful connections, personal growth and significant steps towards recovery.
Common fears include:
Fear of judgement…
Worrying about being judged or viewed negatively because of your addiction is natural, as it still carries a lot of unjust social stigma. Remember, group therapy is a space where everyone supports each other, and the therapist ensures a safe, non-judgmental environment.
Fear of vulnerability…
Revealing personal experiences and feelings can be challenging, particularly in a group setting. However, sharing your struggles in group therapy can be a significant part of the healing process, and the group’s solidarity can alleviate any feelings of shame and loneliness.
Fear of breached confidentiality…
Confidentiality is pivotal in group therapy, and any worries about sharing personal information beyond the group are completely understandable. It is important to know that therapists are ethically and legally obligated to uphold confidentiality, and the expectation of discretion also extends to all group members.
Fear of not belonging…
Concerns about not being able to connect or fit in with the group are also common, but group therapy is designed to be an inclusive space where diverse individuals come together to support each other. Over time, honesty and openness can foster powerful and meaningful relationships.
The thought of group therapy may be daunting initially, but it’s crucial not to let these worries prevent you from seeking the support you need. Remember, group therapy is a collective journey, with everyone working towards a common goal – overcoming addiction. You’re not alone in your struggles, and the shared understanding and support from others who have experienced similar battles can be a potent catalyst for change.
Begin group therapy at Oasis Runcorn
If you’re interested in exploring group therapy, its role in rehab, and the services that Oasis Runcorn can offer you, our admissions team is ready to help you initiate your recovery journey. Get in touch today to begin your journey to sobriety.