Human beings are naturally social and tend to be drawn to one another and come together naturally in groups. This aspect is what makes group therapy such an important tool in counseling and therapy, and especially so in the treatment of substance abuse. Group therapy is used alternatively with individual therapy in Christian recovery and has been found to be more successful in some instances. This is because of certain aspects inherent to the setup of group therapy that makes it more likely to succeed.
Members who participate in group sessions feel less isolated and more like they belong to a part of something. This encourages the shyer participants to want to engage in the topics and activities presented to them by therapists. It also allows for the ones that came to rehab reluctantly to just sit and listen without the added pressure that would be present in a one-on-one session and with time they can open up to other members of their group. Christian rehab centers use group therapy to help addicts feel that they are not alone in their recovery, there are others who can relate to what they went through, and they can see first-hand that treatment works.
Ability to keep patients in treatment
Addicts are more likely to remain abstinent and sustain their recovery if treatment is offered in groups. This is because of the therapeutic elements of a group set up such as affiliation, confrontation, support and gratification offered. This works to create a bond between the patients and to the treatment and they feel a sense of responsibility and commitment to the process and to the group. The greater the amount, quality and duration of treatment the better the prognosis.
Nature of addiction
When someone is going through the process of addiction there are several factors associated with it that include feelings of shame, denial, anxiety, depression, isolation, irrationality and a poor sense of self. These problems have been found to often respond better to treatment that is offered in group form. Christian recovery uses this approach to deal with these deep-seated emotional and cognitive issues that help with addiction treatment and the general wellbeing and functioning of the clients.
Enables addicts to witness the recovery of others
People in group settings are usually in different stages of their recovery. This provides them with an opportunity to consider the recovery process of others and see for themselves that it is possible to make changes and get better. This is especially so to the new people in the program and gives them the hope that treatment works. It serves to inspire them to want to make these changes too and the interpersonal relationships developed in the group go a long way in helping to sustain this motivation.
Offers valuable feedback
The members can get feedback from each other on the regular about their abilities and values. This helps them to improve their self-concepts and modify the distorted notions they may have about themselves. The repetitive feedback can help them to continuously adjust their thought process regarding their addiction, relations to others and their self-esteem and with time change is affected.
Opportunities to learn new skills
Members can learn and relearn social skills, coping skills and life skills that they will need in their everyday life to help them sustain their recovery and not be prone to relapse. They can learn this by observing others in the group, through coaching by them and role-playing activities in the group setting where they can practice these skills in a safe and supportive environment. Through seeing how others cope with difficult situations, they can assess whether the same will work for them.
Efficient strategy for counselors
Group therapy is also a highly effective treatment strategy as it enables one professional to be able to help several people at the same time. This not only saves time and increases efficiency but over a period, the more experienced member of the group after being accustomed to the norms and values of the group can act as an assistant or a second therapist. This extends the influence of the group facilitator and provides a point person who can at some level be relied on for guidance of the other members. This not only boosts their confidence but also aids in their recovery.