Because life does not happen in a vacuum, neither should the therapy that helps you overcome a substance use disorder. While individual psychotherapy sessions are a core component of the treatment plan, process group therapy also plays a pivotal role.
Process groups are essential to recovery.. Process group therapy involves a gathering of peers who are also in recovery and a facilitator to help guide the sessions. These are called “process” groups because the therapist is overseeing a long-term treatment progression where one session builds upon the other.
The key to success in process group therapy is the establishment of trust early on. As the participants grow to trust one another, they are more willing to open up and share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns regarding the recovery process. The group sessions should be a safe place where confidence is honored, and the group participants feel comfortable sharing without fearing harsh judgment.
How Does Process Group Therapy Help with Substance Recovery?
Process group therapy is an exceptional treatment tool for individuals seeking to live a life free of substance abuse. The process group sessions include several types of therapies, including:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This short-term therapy helps the participants identify any disordered thought patterns that cause unhealthy behavioral reactions. Facilitators guide them toward changing the negative self-talk and to making more rational behavior choices.
- Psychoeducation. The therapist may use curricula intended to help the participants learn about how addiction and dependency develop and how to avoid relapse.
- Interpersonal therapy. Interpersonal therapy is just that, assisting participants in improving relationship dynamics.
- Skills development. Recovery skills are taught, including communication skills, conflict resolution techniques, and anger management.
Each of these plays a part in equipping the group participants with essential coping skills for their recovery journey.
The primary benefit of process group therapy is the ability to obtain constructive feedback from others. This feedback is typically not in the form of advice, but rather is simply a thoughtful response from another’s point of view. There is an understanding that each person is unique, as is their life story, personality, and thought process. This means that boundaries are respected, and no one should impose their judgment on another.
While events that occurred in the past can be brought up during group discussions, the facilitator will encourage them to not dwell in the past. Instead, the member will be asked to share what they learned from that experience and help them in the present.
The purpose of process group therapy is to guide the group to make positive changes along a continuum. Each session helps to bring them closer toward achieving their personal recovery goals.
Other Types of Therapy Used in Substance Use Recovery
Therapists and clinicians utilize a wide range of psychotherapies in substance use treatment settings. These are particularly helpful in early recovery as they can help the person make fundamental changes primarily in their behaviors. In addition to the CBT and interpersonal therapy mentioned above, some of the most popular therapies used in treatment settings include:
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). This teaches four skill sets to help guide behavior change. These include mindfulness, emotion regulation, improved interpersonal relationships, and distress tolerance.
- Contingency Management (CM). This uses a set of motivational incentives to help induce desired behaviors. It is often used in combination with other therapies.
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET). This helps the individual overcome feelings of ambivalence about sobriety or engaging in treatment and assists them in strengthening their motivation to change.
Psychotherapy remains the centerpiece of substance use treatment protocol. A combination of individual and group therapy offers a well-rounded approach to treatment.
Process group therapy plays a critical role in the overall comprehensive treatment program. Process groups help peers provide each other with support and helpful feedback while learning essential skills for the recovery journey.