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What are Substance Abuse Groups?

Substance abuse treatment groups are therapy treatment methods employed by health professionals to meet client needs during the multiphase process of recovery from substance abuse.

There are different types of group models for substance abuse treatment but the specific model used for different individuals is often a function of combination of group goals and methodology.

Group Therapy Models

There are 5 main types of group therapy models used in substance abuse treatment. These models operate on the principle that recovery happens faster in a group setting than on an individual basis.

Variable factors often influence the success of group therapy, such factors include;

  • focus of group attention,
  • specificity of the group agenda,
  • heterogeneity or homogeneity of group members,
  • openā€ended or determinate duration of treatment,
  • level of facilitator or leader activity,
  • training required for the group leader,
  • length of sessions, and
  • preferred arrangement of the room.

5 Group Models

Psychoeducational Groups

Pscheducational groups help to facilitate recovery by expanding the awareness of the patient on the behavioral, medical, and psychological consequences of substance abuse. It is often effective as a preparatory treatment to get the client to commit to his or her recovery.

Clear guidelines and indicators must be set in psychographic programs as to when the client is ready to move to the next stage of treatment.

It can be integrated with other group models or as part of a larger recovery program to help patients confrom their addiction and reflect on the effects of their own behaviors.

Skills Development Groups

Skill development groups operate on the principles or philosophy that people who deal with substance abuse lack the needed skills especially emotional skills to live effective lives. These groups run a cognitive-behavioural approach helping members of the group to cultivate the needed skills to sustain abstinence and prevent relapse. Most skills needed by substance abuse patients are often interpersonal in nature and can be learnt within the context of a group setting in order to promote recovery. These skills may involve how to dealing with drug abuse directly such as coping skills for dealing with cravings or how to avoid triggers entirely. Other skills which indirectly affect the sobriety of the client could also be taught such as anger management, problem-solving skills, self-care and how to effectively deal with stressors

Cognitive Behavioral Groups

Cognitive behavioral groups are a primary part of the process of early substance abuse recovery. It is well-established on theoretical frameworks which support cognitive restructuring as a basic and sustainable methodology of change. It covers a wide range of formats that support the point of view that narcotic dependency is a learned behavior and it is subject to modification or unlearning through some infoed interventions. The process to recovery starts with identifying the internal or external stimuli for the specific addictive behavior, avoid such stimuli and developing response-desensitization. These groups help to provide continued support for abstinence by changing learned thinking patterns, beliefs and sometimes environment that contribute to continued dependency.

Support Groups

With the sole goal life-long abstinence, support groups have proven effective in life transitions. These groups are built of tenets of unconditional acceptance, genuine interpersonal interactions, inward reflections and communal commitment to change. All these tenets are upheld without necessarily understanding the source or factors that contributed to the substance dependence. These groups could either be leader-directed, problem-focused, group-directed or emotionally and interpersonally focused. Support groups offer structured accountability, encourage positive participation, improve self-acceptance and ensure that the clients do not feel alone through their recovery process

Interpersonal Process Group Psychotherapy

The interpersonal process group model for substance abuse treatment focuses on promoting recovery by changing basic intrapsychic or interpersonal psychodynamics. The psychodynamic approach recognizes unhealthy and healthy factors that influence a person’s behaviors taking into account developmental and biological issues that can affect interpersonal relationships. Faulty relationship patterns are identified and the client begins to change dysfunctional patterns that lead to substance abuse through newly formed mutually beneficial relationships.

What Are Substance Abuse Group Therapy Activities?

Substance abuse group therapy activities are carried out during group therapy meeting with the aim of improving interpersonal relationships, pschographic education, teaching life building skills and exploring key stressors or triggers for substance abuse as well ways to manage these triggers. These activities can be performed by individuals or as a team led by the team leader but can only be effective when done in an environment of acceptance and vulnerability. Some common activities that can be carried out include;

Open Discussion About Personal Triggers of Substance Abuse

This is often the first activity carried out. During this activity, each member of the group opens up about their personal stressors like work, finances, loss, grief, relationship problems which has one way or the other led to narcotic dependence. This open discussion may in turn help others discover triggers that they may not have been paying attention to. In the end, the aim is to collectively seek for ways to cope with these dependences and overcome them over time

Gratitude Journaling

This activity helps to change the perspectives of the team members from the negative consequences of substance abuse they have experienced to the good things they need to be thankful for. This shift in paradigm is very important for healing. Participants can take turns or collectively write down the things in the their lives that they are grateful for such as a supportive family, the gift of life, access to treatment and other specific things. This exercise of journaling helps you feel hopeful about facing your future.

Writing Goals and Sharing Them with the Group

Setting and sharing your goals within the context of a group provides you with the needed accountability to achieve those goals. These goals must be smart and involve any area of life. Self-care goals such as adequate sleep, eating right or as simple as buying basic necessities for yourself are often a major goal to set for people suffering from substance abuse disorders. There can also be form of reward or incentive set up to motivate members towards achieving their set goals.

Games and Fun Activities

Group sessions could also involve fun activities like playing charades, bowling, role-playing or mock-interviews, team sports, singing and other fun activities that help to build the team spirit and bond. Group members could also engage in discussions on subject of interest outside of substance These moments of fun and laughter help to create an atmosphere of togetherness and family within the group. However focus must be on the activities that help to achieve the primary goal which is overcoming substance abuse and sustained recovery.

Get the Help You Need Now

You do not need to overcome substance abuse alone. Get the required help you need with the proper treatment program that is just right for you.

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, our group therapy models are designed to help you uncover hidden triggers, answer your questions, recover your self-esteem, build profittable and promote sustained recovery from substance abuse addiction.

You do not have to hit rock-bottom before you get the help you deserve.

With adequate and professional help, you can begin your journey to recovery.

Give us a call today

Resources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64214/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substance_Abuse_and_Mental_Health_Services_Administration
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64223/

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