Does Group Therapy Work?

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Humans are social creatures, so it’s little wonder that some of both the most difficult and the most healing encounters happen in group settings. Does group therapy work for addiction recovery? When groups are well-run, the answer is a resounding yes. If you or someone you love could use addiction recovery in Ohio, including group therapy treatment, contact Ray Recovery today. Our Hudson center is conveniently located near both Akron and Cleveland, and you can learn more about our offerings by calling 888.598.6299.

What Is Group Therapy?

Group therapy involves regular meetings between a set number of participants facilitated by a group leader. A specially trained counselor typically serves as the leader. They manage conflict, guide discussions, and foster healthy relationships. Groups can meet for a wide range of timeframes and exist in various contexts ranging from outpatient treatment and hospitals to private practices and nonprofits.

Group therapy can be extremely effective for an enormous range of conditions. These include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, personality disorders, and substance abuse. The format is often especially helpful for individuals from marginalized communities since it directly combats isolation. It does so by facilitating solidarity between people of similar backgrounds.

It’s likewise helpful for treating disorders and conditions that involve a substantial stigma or shame component. This is because group settings reduce the pressure on any one individual to be constantly vulnerable or “on the spot.” Instead, they normalize recovery and encourage a sense of sharing the treatment journey.

Groups can take a number of forms based on their timeframes and scope. A process group, for instance, meets for a relatively long time, perhaps even having an indeterminate ending. It focuses on giving members a safe space to share their immediate experiences and work to identify their own reactions. A skills-based group, on the other hand, tends to meet for a limited timeframe and focus on giving clients a platform to explore and practice a specific technique, such as conflict resolution or managing triggers.

Is Group Therapy Effective?

As with any form of therapy, group endeavors succeed when they’re well organized and run. This means not only that leaders have sufficient training, compassion, and experience, but that group members are prepared. Prior to forming a group, caregivers assess potential members’ communication styles and belief in the style’s effectiveness. Even if clients struggle in some of these areas, they may nonetheless benefit from group therapy if given preparation and context before beginning.

After a group forms, the main factors affecting its success are:

  • Cohesion – This refers to group members’ basic respect for and willingness to engage with one another. The leader can facilitate cohesion through measures like ice-breaker activities such as peer interviewing or privilege exploration activities. Setting ground rules for key topics like confidentiality, getting needs met, and contact between members outside of the group, can all foster cohesion.
  • Therapeutic Alliance – Essential in both individual and group therapy, therapeutic alliance refers to clients’ ability to trust their therapist. The leader facilitates the alliance by managing conflict within the group with non-defensiveness, awareness of microaggression, and victim focus. They lead by example in the endeavor of treating conflict as generative and instructive rather than destructive and divisive.
  • Preparation for Ending – An effective group acknowledges its own inevitable ending gracefully and well in advance. To mitigate feelings of abandonment, it’s key to manage the termination experience. Leaders ideally make sure members are aware of the group timeline as soon as the meetings begin. They also may utilize mindful closure practices such as mutual recognition of interdependence, positive influence, and well-wishing. Helping participants identify further resources is also important.

For those still wondering does group therapy work, the answer is yes—it is a proven, evidence-based therapeutic approach that is widely used in behavioral health treatment.

Ray Recovery: Find Relief with Group Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Group therapy can be just as effective as individual therapy in facilitating substance abuse treatment. It’s also undeniably more efficient since a single counselor can work with multiple participants. Given its strong association with stigma reduction and its ability to create a healthy transition into everyday interactions, the format deserves far more notice than it currently gets. If you’re looking for Ohio substance abuse group therapy, contact Ray Recovery. We’re available at 888.598.6299 or online, and our friendly team looks forward to discussing options with you further.