Group Therapy: How Does It Help?

Group therapy forms the basis for mutual support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Here at Banbury Lodge, we believe in the principles used by such groups. We understand that sessions can be hugely successful in terms of addiction recovery and sobriety maintenance. As such, peer-to-peer sessions form a huge part of our treatment programmes.

What Is Group Therapy?

It is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment used in addiction recovery. The idea that humans tend to congregate in groups led to the idea for group therapy, and it has proved to be a successful tool in terms of treating addiction.

As part of your bespoke treatment plan for addiction recovery, you can expect group sessions to play a significant role. Experts know that coming together with a group of other people who are also recovering from addiction can be powerful insofar as learning from each other is concerned. Witnessing how others are progressing can be motivation in and of itself, and meeting regularly with others is a wonderful way to reduce isolation, which is quite common in addiction.

Group therapy typically involves regular counselling sessions with, as mentioned, a group of other recovering addicts and one or more counsellors or therapists.

Can I Beat My Addiction with Group Therapy?

Group therapy is an essential tool when it comes to overcoming addiction, but it is typically used in conjunction with other treatments such as individual counselling as well as holistic therapies. The idea is that it helps to encourage you to share your stories and experiences within a group setting so that you can learn more about yourself, others, and the world beyond.

During sessions, you are likely to discuss topics such as the triggers and temptations that are common among yourself and others suffering from the same type of addictive disorder. Group therapy can help you to develop your communication skills using social activities designed to put you at ease with yourself and your surroundings.

The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable and you will be encouraged to engage in honest open discussions with your peers. You will be urged to offer opinions and suggestions to other patients, while at the same time accepting the suggestions of others in relation to your own issues.

One of the remarkable things about group therapy is that it has proven time and again to be successful in terms of inspiring patients to recover through learning from the mistakes of others and by providing support and motivation to succeed. In this group setting, patients will nurture each other and will reinforce good behaviours with the goal of permanent recovery in mind.

What Are the Benefits?

Group therapy sessions offer many benefits. For example, when you receive counselling in a group setting, you will learn how to interact with others, something that you may have forgotten over time. The nature of addiction is that it is a very isolating illness, and this can lead many addicts to become poor communicators. One of the aims is to rectify this.

Another huge benefit is the fact that it allows you to see that you are not alone. You have probably suffered from loneliness for some time and you may have felt as if no one understood what you were going through.

Addiction is an illness that is often misunderstood, and those who have no experience of it usually cannot comprehend why addicts continue to abuse chemical substances when doing so is causing such obvious harm. You may have been told by well-meaning loved ones that you should ‘just stop’ using alcohol or drugs in order to sort your life out. However, you know that this is much easier said than done.

During group therapy, you will meet others who have been through similar situations to yours. They will understand exactly what you are going through and you will finally have others that you can relate to. You will also learn from these individuals and their own experiences and stories. Through sharing, you can all learn how to avoid destructive behaviours as well as learn how to develop new positive thought patterns and behaviours.

Types of Activities Used during Group Therapy

Each clinic uses different methods during group therapy sessions to encourage the group to speak out. You may feel a bit nervous before your first session, which is entirely natural. Most people do not feel comfortable speaking in front of others, particularly those whom they have just met.

Here at Banbury Lodge, we understand that you will be apprehensive and that you might find the whole idea of a group setting to be intimidating at first. Let us assure you that you are unlikely to be alone in feeling this way. We find that most people are unsure of what to expect from group therapy, but let us also assure you that you will quickly become at ease with this type of counselling. Moreover, once you are feeling more comfortable, you will be more likely to want to share your thoughts and feelings with the group.

Knowing what to expect may help you to relax during your first group session. Below are a few examples of the types of activities that might be used; the ones that are used will depend on the counsellor who is leading the session and the dynamic of the group:

  • It is common for counsellors and therapists to ask the group to think about what they believe to be the main triggers for substance abuse and then they will have a discussion around the answers. Patients might be asked to talk about the type of coping strategies that they have been using to avoid such triggers.
  • You may be asked to make a list of the type of activities that you believe you could do instead of abusing alcohol or drugs. Once you have created your list, you can compare it with the lists that everyone else has created. This may lead to discussions about how to react when cravings arise or what could be done to prevent cravings in the first place.
  • Some counsellors encourage patients to make lists of the best and worst moments in their lives. You might be asked to explain why you considered these moments to be good or bad. You can then look for patterns that emerge.
  • When the group is more comfortable with each other and more open to the idea of sharing, there may be the opportunity to participate in role-playing. The idea behind this activity is that you can get to play the role of someone close to you to encourage you to think about how your illness has affected them. Others in the group might ask questions and you will answer how you believe your loved one would.
  • As part of the group, you might be asked to think about the importance of various issues such as fitness, nutrition, and sleep. You may also be asked what your thoughts are on self-care as well as what bad habits you have.
  • Another popular activity is sharing personal stories with the group. Each person will take a turn in sharing an emotional event and the others will then be encouraged to identify with your story and the emotions you experienced.

Can Group Therapy Help My Family?

At Banbury Lodge, we know the importance of getting your family involved in your progress. We also know the impact that addiction can have on other members of the family. Because of this, we offer family therapy sessions for the people you love. This gives everyone an opportunity to discuss the issues that have directly and indirectly affected them.

Family therapy can include individual counselling where members of your family might meet with your counsellor or therapist on a one-on-one basis, or it could involve a group setting where a few family members meet your counsellor. You may or may not be involved in these meetings.

Group therapy sessions can be beneficial to family members because these allow members to come together to learn more about your illness and how you are progressing during your recovery. While family therapy is an important tool in terms of helping your family to recovery, it is also a useful tool for your therapist or counsellor who can use these sessions to gain a greater insight into how your family functions.

Family therapy can help to identify weaknesses and strengths within the family unit, which can then be used as a base for developing various strategies and goals for the future. It is also used to help improve communication between you and your family and to strengthen the entire family unit.

What Happens after Rehab?

Group therapy forms a major part of your recovery programme with Banbury Lodge, but you may be wondering what will happen when you finish your rehabilitation programme. The good news is that we offer free aftercare support for the first year after your rehab programme comes to an end.

Nevertheless, group therapy does not stop when your rehab programme finishes. In fact, it is a massive part of fellowship support group programmes such as AA and NA, which we would encourage you to get involved with.

Fellowship support groups focus on the 12-step principles of recovery and they use group support to help members get sober and stay sober. For decades, these programmes have been helping people to maintain their sobriety, and members come from all walks of life. Nonetheless, as different as everyone may be, within their group setting they are all equal. They all choose to be there and they all have one thing in common; a desire to help themselves and others with their recovery journeys.

Group support is considered to be one of the most crucial tools when it comes to addiction recovery. Knowing that you are not alone and that you have others to rely on to help you as and when you need it can help keep you on the right track.

Why Choose Banbury Lodge?

Banbury Lodge can help you to overcome your addiction once and for all. We work on the principle that everyone is different and that treatment programmes should, therefore, be tailored to their individual needs.

We believe that your programme of care should be one that works for you, so to create this plan we will assess your needs when you get in touch with us. We have a team of fully trained, therapists, counsellors, doctors, and support staff who will attend to your every need and who will work alongside you to ensure that you have the best chance of achieving long-term sobriety.

Our counsellors and therapists have knowledge and experience and use it extensively as part of the recovery process. They know that within a group setting you are more likely to open up and learn from other patients.

You can rest assured that your comfort and safety is important to us. You can also rest in the knowledge that you will never be made to get involved with a group therapy session until you are ready. You will be encouraged to take part and when you are ready to share your stories and experiences with others, you will have every opportunity to do so.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today to find out more about group therapy or for information on our treatment programmes and how they could help you to say goodbye to substance abuse and addictive behaviour for good.

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