Group therapy is a type of therapy in which members inadvertently help other members. The experience of being able to share your personal story and have it inspire another member can elevate an individual’s sense of self-worth. This can also promote the development of more competent coping and interpersonal skills. In a typical group therapy session the members are usually in different stages of recovery. It can be inspirational for a member who is currently struggling to hear of other members who are also currently dealing with or have overcome the same problem they have. It also helps to put things into perspective and let the member know that they are not alone and will get through this.
Improving Social Skills as a Step Towards Recovery
The group setting also provides a safe and supportive environment where members feel comfortable taking risks by demonstrating and practicing their interpersonal relationship skills and improving their social skills. A way in which the members can improve social skills is through the process of simply observing and interacting with the therapist and other participants. Other ways that members improve those skills are by sharing personal feelings and showing concern and support for others. Instinctively humans have a need to belong to groups and personal development is more likely to take place in a group setting.
Why Group Therapy is Important in Addiction Treatment
There are many benefits of group therapy and among the more important are the recognition of shared experiences, feelings and issues among the participants. Also for the members to realize that these may be common concepts; which serves to lessen their sense of isolation, validates their feelings and raises confidence. Learning to take responsibility for, and accept the consequences of previous decisions made, are crucial steps towards identifying unconscious motivations to existing behavior patterns.
A successful group is one in which all members feel a sense of belonging, acceptance and validation. Often members feel liberated from emotional distress by being able to freely express emotion in a group setting. When members tell their story to a supportive audience, they often feel relief from continued feelings of shame and guilt. Group members gain a lot through the process of interacting with others. They are provided feedback from the other participants about their behavior and impact on the world around them.
The therapist also plays an important role by helping the members understand the impact of their previous life choices on their current behavior patterns. Through the therapist’s interpretations and suggestions the member can learn to avoid subconsciously repeating the destructive behavior that led them to addiction in the first place.