Group Therapy for Substance Abuse

in Medford, MA

Casco Bay Recovery in Maine
Group therapy sessions see one or more psychotherapists work with several people simultaneously. These sessions are available at many locations, such as mental health clinics, private therapeutic practices, hospitals, and community centers. There are several different categorizations of group therapy depending on the specific conditions targeted for treatment as well as the clinical method used during the sessions. Group therapy aims to provide encouragement, support, accountability, and structure, to individuals undergoing recovery. These sessions can help quell feelings of isolation and shame which are dominant among people battling addiction. Group therapy is normally used in conjunction with other forms of addiction treatment, such as individual therapy and medication-assisted treatment. When combined with individual therapy, the format in which group therapy topics are covered can work well for many people. Talk therapy treatment in a group setting may increase your chances of healing and feeling better much quicker. More than 50 clinical trials and several decades of research have shown that group therapy can be just as effective as individual therapy in effecting full recovery and preventing relapses.
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How Does Group Therapy Differ From Individual Therapy?

Group therapy and individual therapy are two different forms of psychotherapy. Individual therapy involves a trained professional helping a single person at a time work through their thoughts, concerns, emotions, and situations, whereas group therapy involves a group of people all receiving treatment at the same time from one or more therapists. Below are the main differences between group therapy and individual therapy.
  • Focus. Individual therapy focuses on your issues, while group therapy focuses on the group’s dynamics and interactions as a whole.
  • Cost. Group therapy is frequently more cost-effective than individual therapy, as it allows the cost of therapy to spread out among all the group members.
  • Social Support. Group therapy provides social support and a sense of community, while individual therapy is more private and confidential.
  • Perspectives. Group therapy provides an opportunity to hear different perspectives and ideas from other group members, while individual therapy is more focused on the person’s singular perspective.
  • Accountability. Group therapy can provide a level of accountability and insight that is not always available in individual therapy sessions.
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What Can I Expect From Group Therapy Sessions?

Group therapy sessions are often incorporated into substance abuse treatment programs.

These programs can be held either virtually or in person, depending on the type and personal needs of each person.
Group therapy sessions tend to average between five and ten participants who normally meet at least once daily for 60 to 90 minutes. Different types of group therapy sessions can be:

1. Cognitive behavioral groups (CBT)

These groups challenge inaccurate or distorted thinking patterns, emotional responses, and behaviors.

2. Interpersonal groups

Such groups work on interpersonal relationships and social interactions, the level of support you receive from others, and the impact these relationships have on your mental health.

3. Psychoeducational groups

These are groups that focus primarily on educating clients about their disorders and different coping methods; often based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) principles.

4. Skills development groups

These groups aim to improve social skills in people with mental disorders or developmental disabilities.

5. Support groups

Such groups provide a broad range of benefits for people with a slew of mental health conditions as well as their loved ones.

6. Psychodrama

This group setting calls for its member to reenact significant moments and portions of their lives. These dramatizations of important moments in their lives often provoke strong emotions, which are discussed after each “scene.”
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What Are The Advantages Of Group Counseling?

Group counseling allows people undergoing various forms of recovery to vent and share with others going through similar struggles, all within a supportive and safe environment. A few advantages of group counseling are:

Sense of Belonging

Group counseling often creates a sense of belonging and helps people feel less isolated, and this often encourages people to open up more about their struggles and triumphs.


Group counseling is often more pocket-friendly than individual therapy since it allows people to receive support from a therapist and other group members at a reduced cost.

Diverse Perspectives

Group counseling provides exposure to different perspectives and ideas from other group members. This helps people gain new insights and see different approaches to addressing their challenges.

Social Support

Group counseling provides social support and builds a sense of community which can help people create new relationships and improve their social skills.


Accountability is not always available in individual therapy sessions, but when you’re surrounded by others you may feel more motivated to work on your challenges and make progress.
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What Can I Expect From Group Therapy Sessions?

Group counseling has historically been an effective treatment option for people with co-occurring drug addiction and mental health disorders. Various ways that group counseling can help address co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders are:

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual-diagnosis treatment for people with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders can be easily provided during group therapy sessions. These sessions help people understand the relationship between their addiction and mental health issues and develop methods of managing both conditions.

Peer Support

People can connect with others going through similar experiences more easily during group sessions, which can remove feelings of isolation and provide a sense of belonging.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Group counseling often incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a therapy type that helps individuals identify negative thought patterns and develop new, positive ways of thinking.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

MET, is a form of therapy that helps individuals challenge behaviors that are not aligned with their goals. MET helps people develop motivation to change and improve their mental health.

Relapse Prevention

Group counseling provides relapse prevention strategies for people suffering from co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders by helping people recognize triggers and develop relapse prevention strategies.
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What Types Of Topics Are Discussed In Group Counseling?

Addiction is often described as a family disease because of how it affects not only the addict, but also their family, friends, and community. Group therapy addresses these relationships and more. A few common topics discussed in group counseling sessions:
  • Addiction and Recovery. People in group sessions can discuss their journeys, triumphs, and setbacks during their recovery process. This can help others gain motivation and learn new coping methods to deal with triggers and cravings.
  • Anxiety and Depression. Anxiety and depression are mental health disorders that often cause the people suffering from them to feel ostracized and isolated. Group sessions provide a setting where these disorders can be openly and safely discussed and dealt with.
  • Grief and Loss. Group sessions allow people who have suffered grief and loss to share their experiences and encourage others as they pass through the stages of grief.
  • Relationship Issues. People struggling with relationship problems, a very serious problem where addiction is involved, can learn better coping and communication skills and learn how to begin healing rifts.
  • Stress Management. People who suffer from high cortisol levels and lack the skills to cope with stress can (through group sessions) learn healthier ways of dealing with stressful situations and more effective problem-solving.
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Who Should Not Try Group Therapy?

Group therapy isn’t an appropriate solution for everyone. Very shy people may find difficulties in opening up about their problems and personal issues in front of people they do not know. Also, people who may not be shy but prefer that their business be kept private by all means may not find much use for group therapy sessions. Group therapy calls for all members to share the spotlight with other people. Certain mental health disorders require more focused attention from therapists, and some people may use group therapy sessions as a means of hiding their issues.
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How Can You Join a Group?

There are many group therapy types available, ranging from community support groups to inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. These groups also vary from region to region, and you may be more comfortable joining a group that shares your beliefs or traditions. Group therapy will only be beneficial to your recovery journey as long as you join the right kind of group. Speak with a mental health professional, such as our excellent team at Advanced Addiction Center, to make sure you make the best decision. Group therapy is an essential part of addiction treatment. Anyone struggling with addiction will benefit from the compassionate support we provide, as well as find opportunities to learn and grow from others’ experiences. You will find all the accountability and encouragement you require which will enable you to achieve and maintain long-term recovery. Contact us today to learn more about group therapy for addiction, schedule a tour of our facility, or ask any questions you may have.