Benefits of group therapy for alcohol and drug abuse

Why do chemical dependency treatment programs recommend group therapy for alcohol and drug abuse, rather than just individual work?   Some people starting addiction treatment and rehab may be nervous about the idea of joining a group.   They might fear that the group won’t reflect their individual situation.  Knowing why treatment programs use group therapy for alcohol and drug abuse is helpful when working on addressing those fears and concerns.  The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s research and guidance indicates that group therapy can be more effective for alcohol and drug use disorders in many situations than individual counseling alone. We believe that groups offer unique benefits and opportunities that are different from individual counseling.

Standards for group therapy for alcohol and drug disorders

Group therapy at Club Recovery reflects guidance from the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA).  For example, the AGPA suggests an effective group should include elements such as evidence-based treatment based on ongoing research and incorporate our clients’ preferences and values. Club Recovery uses Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as our primary approach to all our treatment services, which has been shown to be very effective in alcohol and drug addiction treatment.   Our counseling staff regularly engages in research and we bring this new information into use in our treatment practice.  We also tailor our group therapy exercises and our focus of education based on the interests and needs of the individuals in our groups at any given time.

Ultimately, we recommend group therapy for most of our clients, because we see the benefits of group every day.  In our experience, group therapy engenders a sense of belonging and support, helps develop listening and communication skills, provides the opportunity to talk openly with other people with shared experiences, and develops empathy and perspective.  Most importantly, our clients report that group therapy helps them recognize that they are not alone in their struggles with drugs and alcohol use, nor with the challenges and benefits of sobriety. For most people, an effective alcohol and drug abuse treatment program will incorporate a variety of treatment types, including group, individual and family therapy.  While group therapy is likely to help most people, groups are not effective for every person.  An individual drug and alcohol assessment should help you learn what treatment is available and what setting for therapy would be most helpful for you.