The nature of addiction, including the way it changes the brain, can make it challenging to overcome without help. A combination of psychotherapy, support group participation, and, in some cases, medication, have consistently yielded the highest long-term recovery rates.
Most recovery treatment programs include both individual and group therapy sessions as the foundation of the recovery treatment plan.
It can be difficult for some people to share their thoughts and emotions in a group setting. Many people struggling with addiction also feel guilt and shame over past behavior or experiences and are more likely to share that privately during individual therapy.
Meeting one-on-one with a therapist gives the person in recovery the privacy and time to delve deeply into their individual issues. Each person has unique challenges that need to be addressed to recover. These are easier to identify and work through during individual sessions, where such challenges can be fully explored.
As the relationship between the person in recovery and their therapist strengthens and evolves, the more likely it is that root causes of that individual’s addiction will be uncovered.
Group therapy sessions are facilitated by a trained therapist and take place with a group of two or more people. Rather than focusing on individual issues, they tend to deal with broader topics like coping skills, relaxation techniques, relapse prevention skills, communication skills and strengthening interpersonal relationships.
Group therapy gives those in recovery a built-in support system. Group members have a unique understanding of what it means to have an addiction and provide a valuable sense of community for one another.
The supportive relationships built during group therapy help reduce the risk of relapse, which tends to thrive in an isolated environment. Research consistently finds that group therapy strengthens the chances for long-term recovery.
Group therapy may help participants:
- Learn to better express feelings, and to listen while others express their feelings
- Build social relationships
- Learn and practice social skills
- Listen to how others have handled similar issues
- Learn how to avoid triggers to addictive behavior
- Learn to support, coach and encourage others in the group
- Be inspired by those in the group who are further along the recovery path
Members of the group also provide valuable feedback to one another, as they confront those who seem to be in denial or are exhibiting harmful behaviors.
Group Therapy vs. Support Groups
Group therapy differs from support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) in several important ways.
Group therapy sessions are led by a trained professional who uses different psychotherapeutic techniques to help participants change and grow. Support groups like AA and NA are facilitated by a lay person and are geared more toward support and encouragement of members.
Participants in a recovery program are expected to commit to regular attendance at group therapy sessions, while no such commitment is required for support group participation.
A combination of individual and group therapy, along with regular support group participation, gives those in recovery the best chance for long-term sobriety.
Turning Point of Tampa has been offering Licensed Residential Treatment for Addiction, Eating Disorders and Dual Diagnosis in Tampa since 1987.