It is more productive to see this kind of boundary violation as a message to be deciphered. Sometimes this attempt will fail, and the clinician may decide the behavior interferes with the group work too much to be tolerated. No matter what the modality, however, group therapy is sure to remain an integral part of substance abuse treatment. It is helpful for leaders to be familiar with 12-Step programs, cultures, and languages.

Group therapy for substance abusers

For example, if there is stress in one group member’s marriage, other group members might support a course of action that could have dangerous or harmful consequences. Similarly, the group might engage in problem solving in some area of a member’s life and recommend a course of action that would clearly be undesirable. Therapists should be aware that self-disclosure is always going on, whether consciously or unconsciously. They intentionally should use self-disclosure only to meet the task-related needs of the group, and then only after thoughtful consideration, perhaps including a discussion with a supervisor.

Advantages of Group Therapy over Individual Therapy

Of those eligible, 701 participants initiated the online survey, with 566 participants (80.7%) completing the survey. Group therapy sessions focusing on relapse prevention equip individuals with the skills and mindset needed to substance abuse group activities overcome setbacks. • It gives you group support in setting and achieving goals in your recovery. • Getting the opportunity to have your challenges viewed from another perspective as well as helping others with their challenges.

They provide a safe environment in which members can practice newfound interpersonal skills and behaviors. Process groups are mostly unstructured with no singular topic of discussion. Theme groups are focused on support and finding commonalities between members. They tend to have more structure than process groups and focus on a single topic. Two Dreams prefers to hold process groups in order to enhance the holistic treatment experience and to help clients equip themselves with the tools needed for their own recovery.

Your Ultimate Group Therapy Guide (+ Activities & Ideas)

This typically serves as a primary component of a drug or alcohol rehab program. Group therapy is commonly used in the treatment of people with depression and anxiety. A group setting is a perfect place for people suffering from depression or anxiety to connect with others, practice important social skills, and learn healthy coping strategies from one another. Substance abuse treatment programs often require patients to attend a minimum number of sessions over a set period of time (e.g. 6 sessions over a 3-month period).

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Refrain from taking on the responsibility to repair anything in the life of the clients. To a certain extent, they should be allowed to struggle with what is facing them. It would be appropriate, however, for the leader to access resources that will help clients resolve problems. A distinction needs to be made whether the strong feelings are related to there-and-then material or to here-and-now conduct.


One of the great benefits of group therapy is that as clients interact, they learn from one another. For interpersonal interaction to be beneficial, it should be guided, for the most part, by empathy. The group leader should be able to model empathic interaction for group members, especially since people with substance use disorders often cannot identify and communicate their feelings, let alone appreciate the emotive world of others. The group leader teaches group members to understand one another’s subjective world, enabling clients to develop empathy for each other (Shapiro 1991). The therapist promotes growth in this area simply by asking group members to say what they think someone else is feeling and by pointing out cues that indicate what another person may be feeling.

  • Each type of recovery group has strengths and weaknesses, and which one will be best will depend on the unique needs of each individual.
  • According to the American Psychological Association (APA), group therapy works as well as individual therapy for many conditions.
  • As an incentive, survey completers had the option to enter a drawing for one of twenty $50 gift cards.
  • For the group’s first half, allow your clients to paste the strips to their posters.
  • For example, the client deserves the option to discuss with program administrators any forms of treatment or leadership style that the client believes to be inappropriate.
  • For example, individuals with an opioid use disorder may require medications such as methadone or buprenorphine to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Even a person walking home sometimes should be escorted to prevent falls, pedestrian accidents, and so on. Group leaders never should attempt to use group techniques or modalities for which they are not trained. When new techniques are used with any group, leaders should be certain to have appropriate training and the supervision of experts familiar with the techniques to be employed.

Group therapy offered in an inpatient setting appears to be more effective. If therapeutic drugs are given in combination with group therapy, the cost usually becomes substantially higher. For example, if a female client says she might “cry forever” once she begins, the leader might gently inquire, “Did that ever happen?