Group therapy has long been a central feature of addiction treatment programs. This worries a lot of guys who are thinking about entering treatment for addiction. People tend to get nervous at the thought of speaking in front of a group and that’s especially true of sharing something deeply personal, as often happens in group therapy.
One study of people in outpatient treatment programs in the LA area found that while 22 percent of women relapsed over a period of six months, 32 percent of men relapsed–almost 50 percent more. The researchers discovered that the difference was likely due to different levels of participation in group therapy. Women attended an average of 10.9 sessions per month while men only attended 7.9 sessions. Although the thought of discussing their problems with a group probably doesn’t appeal to most guys, there are good reasons group therapy is so common in treatment, such as the following.
Group therapy helps you see you’re not alone.
People with substance use disorders often feel a lot of shame. The shame may be related to abuse they suffered as children or it may be related to something they did during active addiction. The way people normally deal with shame is to bury it deep and hope no one finds out. Unfortunately, this only reinforces your feelings of shame and makes them stronger. Participating in group therapy is a way to discover that no matter what you’re ashamed of, you’re not alone. Other people in your group have probably experienced something similar. Finding that sense of connection relieves a huge burden and allows you to deal with shame in a healthy way.
Group therapy offers support.
While many people are reluctant to open up about their problems at first, they quickly discover that engaging in group therapy can give them valuable support. As noted above, many people there have been through similar kinds of trials and they understand. It’s a judgment-free space that allows you to talk about what’s been bothering you. The group can also offer different perspectives on your problem. A therapist can only really offer one perspective, which you may resist for various reasons but the group can not only give you various opinions but a group consensus can be more persuasive.
Group therapy helps you improve your communication skills.
Finally, participating in group therapy helps you improve your communication skills. You have to learn how to give and take feedback in a productive way. Learning to listen attentively, try to understand, and offer clear feedback is a skill that will serve you well in all your relationships.
At Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California, group therapy is one component of our holistic treatment program that’s designed to help men with substance use issue recover in mind, body, and spirit. Call us today at 855-202-2138 to learn more about our unique approach to treatment.