Group Therapy

Published by John Gillen | Last updated: 30th January 2023 | All Sources

Those who experience drug addiction and/or alcohol addiction and have survived to tell the tale often recall the sense of isolation they experienced as a result of their addiction.

When an individual is trapped in the cycle of addiction, the mental and physical toll that addiction can take on their body and mind can cause them to think that they are alone in their struggle against their affliction.

However, addiction is much easier to overcome with the help of others, both trained medical professionals and support networks of friends, loved ones, and other addicts who are facing and who have overcome the same challenges.

Many addicts feel completely isolated in their suffering due to feeling a sense of guilt and deep shame. This feeling of isolation, guilt and shame is often accompanied by mild mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Group therapy can help you overcome this. However, a lot of people can be wary of the notion of group therapy, and have questions such as “How effective is group therapy,” “How does group therapy,” and “What are the principals of group therapy?” Hopefully, any concerns you may have about therapy groups will be put to rest below and you will be able to see the benefits of group therapy.


Why Group Therapy is offered?

To overcome feelings of isolation a form of therapy known as ‘group therapy’ is offered to clients following drug detox or alcohol detox. Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy where clients discuss their issues with addiction openly in a group environment.

Chairs are arranged in a circle so that each participant is able to see and hear one another. The aim of group therapy is so that clients can connect and learn from others. Research confirms the effectiveness of group therapy in treating the underlying psychological component of substance abuse. Group therapy is said to have similar benefits to the more traditional ‘individual therapy’ approach to psychotherapy.


How is Group Therapy arranged?

Group therapy sessions follow the initial detoxification phase of drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Sessions are led by a therapist at our centre twice a day. Groups consist of 5 to 10 people. Group sizes are small enough to ensure focus but big enough to ensure a rich variety of experiences are shared. Group participants generally come from many different backgrounds with addictions to a variety of different substances.

We will also typically use group therapy in tandem with other therapies, but group therapy is integral to the overall process of recovery.


What Are The Core Principals Of Group Therapy?

In Irvin D. Yalom’s text, “The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy” it is noted that there are several principles to group therapy and that these include principles along the lines of the following:

  • The creation of hopefulness: By seeing people at varying stages of completion on the road to recovery, can help inspire addicts at earlier stages by showing that success is possible.
  • Universality: The process of being with other addicts helps remove the sense of isolation as they realise that this is a problem that has affected others.
  • Sharing information: Addicts can learn tips and coping mechanisms from one another, as well as help one another along the way when problems arise.
  • Altruism: Sharing positive stories with one another can also help to improve the morale of every group member.
  • Helping members to develop socialising methods: Some people may be in a place where they have not engaged with other people for a while, and the group can be a good way to re-learn basic social skills and how to engage with others.
  • Imitation: Some group members can find positive role models in the other group members who have completed recovery, or even in their therapists leading the group.
  • Interpersonal learning: By engaging with one another, and with their therapist, group members will be able to learn more about themselves at all levels of their psyche.
  • Togetherness: A feeling of togetherness and being accepted will be cultivated in the group as they are united by a common goal and experiences.
  • Catharsis: Revealing and expressing difficult memories and experiences can be a great way to let out internalised emotions that would otherwise lead to addictive tendencies.
  • Existentialism: Being a part of group therapy can remind individual members of the reality of life, the fact that they are a part of something bigger, and, in turn, that they have responsibilities in this world.


    Harbouring a sense of community

    Group therapy sessions establish a basis of community between our clients and staff alike. This sense of community illustrates to clients their sufferings with drug and alcohol addiction is not something unique to themselves.

    Unhealthy mindsets are challenged and replaced with new healthily ways of thinking about one’s substance abuse. Other therapy techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be ‘blended’ into group therapy sessions.

    CBT is intended to illustrate to participants the causal relationship between their beliefs and actions. The group will also explore strategies for avoiding the triggers of addiction.


    A platform to share experiences with others

    During group therapy sessions clients are given a platform to voice their problems and likewise listen and support others in the group who also suffer from substance abuse.

    The therapist will guide the discussion around a variety of relevant topics and ensure each member of the group has the opportunity to contribute. The therapist’s contribution to group therapy sessions is very minimal and instead, participants themselves conduct the majority of the session.

    During group therapy sessions clients will discuss their experiences with addiction such as the damage addiction has inflicted on their health, career and relationships. Group members will also discuss the roadblocks they have hit in prior attempts to get clean from their substance abuse.

    Such discussions are intended to deepen the participants’ understanding as to why people engage in substance abuse. This awareness is intended to strengthen participants’ positive mindsets which are essential for long term recovery.

    Call the team now on 01923 369 161 for more information

    Call Cassiobury Court today for your opportunity to secure a long and lasting recovery.

    You can contact our admissions team today on 01923 369 161 who will take you through the process of signing up for our rehabilitation programme.

    John Gillen

    John Gillen - Author Last updated: 30th January 2023

    John Gillen is a leading addiction treatment expert with over 15 years of experience providing evidence-based treatment methods for individuals throughout the UK. John also co-authors the book, The Secret Disease of Addiction, which delves into how the addictive mind works and what treatment techniques work best.