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Three Common Myths about Group Therapy, Debunked

what is group therapy

If you are considering psychotherapy for addiction recovery, various options are available to you. Among these options is group therapy, which can be particularly beneficial depending on the nature of your addiction and mental health issues. Group therapy offers a promising avenue for tackling your concerns and fostering real growth.

While more than a few myths and misperceptions about group therapy are floating around, group therapy has often proven just as effective—and, in some cases, more effective—then traditional one-on-one therapy.

But before we explore some of the more common myths about group therapy, we might do well to explore the question, “What is group therapy?”

What is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which people who live with a substance use disorder (SUD) or alcohol use disorder (AUD) come together in a supportive group setting to work on their recovery.

The goal of group therapy is to provide a safe, comfortable, and non-judgmental environment wherein people can share their experiences with others going through similar struggles. The context fosters a sense of camaraderie and understanding among people in the group, reducing the feelings of isolation and shame often associated with addiction.

Group therapy sessions, or “group” for short, are typically led by a trained therapist or counselor who leads discussions, provides education about addiction and recovery, and imparts coping skills and relapse prevention strategies. The therapist may use various therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI), or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), to help people in the group address the possible underlying issues that may have contributed to their addictive behaviors. In this way, healthier ways of coping are encouraged and developed.

Overall, group therapy for addiction recovery provides a valuable complement to individual therapy and other treatment modalities, offering a unique blend of peer support, accountability, and therapeutic intervention that can enhance the likelihood of long-term sobriety and emotional well-being.

Myth #1: It Forces You to Share Your Deepest Thoughts and Fears in Front of Strangers

The decision of what to share, how much to share, and when to share with others in your group is entirely up to you. No one, including the therapist or counselor leading the group, can force or pressure you into revealing anything you’re not comfortable revealing.

That being said, some group members tend to “open up” once they feel safe within the group. While sharing can be uncomfortable, it’s also how many people benefit from group therapy. Although it may seem daunting at first, many find the experience rewarding and are reluctant for it to end.

People new to group therapy are not expected to share their innermost thoughts and fears at the first session—or ever, for that matter. They are, however, encouraged to gauge their own pace of involvement and share only when they feel ready. Encouragement to share is always balanced with respect for personal boundaries. This ensures that people feel in control of their own recovery journey.

Myth #2: It Isn’t as Effective as Individual Therapy Because You’re Sharing Time with Other People

Group therapy can sometimes be more effective than individual therapy, for a couple of reasons. First, simply participating in the group—even if you’re just listening—has its benefits. By listening closely to what others have to say about their experiences in addiction and recovery, you will likely discover common experiences and insights. This is turn enhances self-awareness and understanding, which can lead to powerful “breakthroughs” in how you cope with life after addiction.

Also, fellow members might raise topics that never occurred to you but resonate deeply. The collective exploration of group therapy often illuminates aspects of your experience that might otherwise have gone unexplored.

Myth #3: Your Problems Are Unique So You Won’t Get Much Out of It

While it’s true that everyone’s experiences in addiction and addiction recovery are unique to them, what makes group therapy effective lies in where people can connect with one another through shared experience. Because addiction affects everyone—recognizing no border, no class, no race, color, or creed—shared experiences related to addiction are all around us.

Rather than a hindrance, the diversity of backgrounds can be greatly beneficial. People with different personalities and backgrounds tend to look at situations in wildly different ways. By seeing how other people approach their problems or effect change, you too can discover new strategies for daily living.

Of course, no one decides who’s had the worst experience in addiction, or who needs professional help the most. Such thinking is counterproductive. Relief comes when people recognize they are not alone in the struggle.

Strength in Numbers

One of the key benefits of this therapy is the opportunity for mutual support and encouragement. People in group therapy can offer each other empathy, insight, and practical advice based on their own experiences. Also, just witnessing the progress of others in a group can reinforce the belief that recovery is not just possible, but within reach.

Find the Benefits of All Kinds of Therapy with Northpoint Recovery Today

Want to know more about group therapy, or any of the other therapeutic approaches offered by Northpoint Recovery? We are here to provide the timely information you need. You can also turn to Northpoint for addiction and mental health treatment that helps keep you safe and overdose-free. Call us today at 208.741.6168 or contact us online.