During the rehab and recovery process, there are two main kinds of therapy that an individual can go through -- group therapy and individual one-on-one therapy. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, and any good rehab facility will include both as part of a high-quality recovery program. Here, we look at the key differences between the two types of therapy and how both can be equally beneficial in treating those who are suffering from a substance abuse disorder.
Originally invented by Dr. J. H. Pratt, group therapy was first initiated in a medical setting following World War II when several war veterans would be treated together. Group therapy is carried out with several people at the same time and could be run by either a single therapist or several therapists. The number of people within the group can vary depending on the type of therapy being delivered. Often, substance abuse disorder group therapies consist of around 10 people, although there may be more or fewer at different treatment centers. Research has shown that the most effective group size is between six and 12 clients. But, in some groups, more than 20 individuals may be treated together and still see positive benefits.
There are a number of advantages presented by group therapy that make it an appealing choice for both client and therapist. Some of the benefits include:
• The individuals attending a group therapy session can offer support to the others.
• Often individuals attending as part of a group discover that they have fewer reservations when it comes to talking about their problems with other people because they are able to identify and empathize with the other group members.
• Through listening to the stories of the other group members, individuals can often develop a greater insight and self-awareness when it comes to their own problems.
• Being part of a group can foster better communication, improve social skills, and open individuals to accepting criticism from other people.
• By being part of a larger group, it is possible to forge strong connections and friendships with other group members that can last a lifetime and can form part of an essential support network.
Individual counseling, or one-on-one therapy, involves the individual meeting with his or her therapist or practitioner on a one-on-one basis for a more focused approach to recovery. Without any other group members, it is possible to discuss issues in more depth, and go more deeply into an individual’s personal problems to explore matters in a way that would not be possible when having to dedicate time to several people in a group setting.
By having 1:1 therapy, an addict is able to pinpoint the cause of the addiction whatever it may be. In many cases, a dual diagnosis is made, which allows the individual to be treated not only for the substance abuse itself but also for the depression, anxiety or other underlying problem that has resulted in his or her need to self-medicate or to escape from his or her issues.
When having individual therapy, it is possible to discuss matters openly without having to worry about anyone else’s opinions or judgments. The one-on-one situation allows for the entire focus to be on the needs of the individual with no need to make time for any other group members. And, every session is solely about the individual, his or her problems and how those issues can be addressed to make his or her life drug- or alcohol-free.
During the process of individual therapy, it is also possible for the therapist to reinforce the importance of steering clear of old haunts and old social groups that were instrumental in encouraging and fostering substance abuse and negative behaviors. It is easier to do this on a one-on-one basis rather than as part of a group since targeted support can be given to the individual rather than having to give generalized advice.
Also, one-on-one counseling allows the individual to receive targeted therapy for life skills during which he or she is taught a healthier way to face his or her problems and ways in which the individual can modify his or her attitudes and behaviors toward life and its challenges. Life skills therapy also helps individuals to learn new ways of coping with stressful situations rather than having to depend on drugs or alcohol to get them through. When a problem arises, the individual needs to learn to meet it face to face and develop ways of resolving the issues with clarity in mind rather than looking for the answer in substances.
When someone is going through rehab and early recovery, he or she can benefit greatly from both group therapy and individual counseling to take advantage of a well-rounded approach to addiction treatment. While both therapy types have their own benefits, it is when they are used in tandem that an addicted individual can best address the issues that underlie his or her own problems while developing greater self-awareness, and forging bonds and friendships with others who can stand him or her in good stead for a well-supported recovery.
It is best to seek a facility that offers a multi pronged approach to addiction rehab, with both individual counseling and group therapies available to individuals who go through our treatment program. One-on-one therapy ensures that the issues that have caused the addiction in the first place are identified to be addressed, while group therapy allows the forging of strong bonds and a wider support network that is an essential element in long-term recovery. By equipping an individual with the skills he or she needs to cope with life without the need for drugs or alcohol, addiction rehab facilities can help you or your loved one to move forward in sobriety with all the support and help necessary for long-lasting success without a relapse.