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Therapy For Recovery

When you enter treatment for addiction, it’s common to attend support groups, individual therapy, and group therapy. You may be wondering what the difference is between all three types of therapy and whether one is better than the other. The simple answer is that each type of therapy has its strengths, and when combined together, they can promote healing from addiction more effectively than one type of therapy alone.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy gives people a chance to share their struggles one-on-one with a trained therapist in a confidential setting. As a person shares his or her addiction struggles with a therapist, the two form a strong client-therapist relationship which helps the client find healing. Individual therapy also allows a person to work through the struggles that led them to addiction, find healthier coping strategies, and make goals for success. This private session gives members a chance to share openly with one trusted expert in order to go in-depth on problem areas.

Support Groups

Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, SMART Recovery, Refuge Recovery, or Alcoholics Anonymous are a place to share struggles and victories with other people in various stages of addiction recovery. It’s a place of collaboration, support, and encouragement. Here you can receive advice from others who have had similar struggles and overcome them. Sometimes it’s just good to have a place where you can talk with a group and know you are accepted and not judged.

Group Therapy

Group therapy can offer similar benefits to support groups with the addition of a trained therapist to guide discussion, model appropriate behavior, and encourage positive interaction between group therapy members. There is a strength in numbers, and group therapy is no exception. We are raised in family units, and that is where we learn some of our most important behaviors and attitudes. Group therapy can have the same powerful affect as a healthy, functioning family can, teaching you how to overcome obstacles in life and struggles with addiction. Other group therapy members and the therapist can challenge negative beliefs and behaviors while still supporting you as a person.

Addiction can be very isolating at times. Many members of group therapy say that they feel a sense of relief when they find that there are others who have had the same struggles. They learn to have healthy interactions with individuals and be honest with the therapist and other group members about their struggles. For some people it is the first safe place they have found to open up about their addictions and their lives.

Learning Through Therapy

Teaching is also an important element of group therapy. Negative behaviors can lead to addiction and addiction can intensify and increase negative coping skills, thoughts, and actions. Those negative life patterns will be challenged by the therapist and other group members. The therapist will take the time to teach healthy coping strategies for stress, lead members in identifying stressors that might lead to a relapse in addiction, share how trauma can affect substance abuse behaviors, lead members to become aware of more positive ways of thinking, promote life skills for success, and many other topics. These lessons are meant to open the group up for discussion and give food for thought to each member of the group. Members can also learn from other members by observing their strengths, different sets of skills, and how they confront addiction in their own lives.

Combining Therapies

When combined together, support groups, individual therapy, and group therapy can lead to emotional growth, improved problem-solving skills, and a stronger motivation to leave addictive behaviors behind. On their own, each type of therapy or support can work to help people overcome addiction, but when fully integrated into addiction treatment, they are much more effective at preventing relapse.

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