Page title background

Group and Individual Therapy

Group and Individual Therapy

Entering an addiction treatment program is a significant step toward recovery that takes courage. It’s common to experience a range of emotions, from hope and determination to anxiety about making substantial changes to your life. While you may first feel hesitant to reveal parts of yourself to others, group and individual therapy are integral to your recovery.

These therapy sessions are designed to help you gain insight, learn healthy coping skills, and work through challenging issues during addiction treatment. Over time, group and individual therapy can help you improve your overall well-being, build a community and achieve your recovery goals. 

What to Expect From Group Therapy

What to Expect From Group Therapy

In group therapy, a trained therapist leads a session with a small group of individuals who are also working toward sobriety. The group provides a supportive and non-judgmental environment where individuals can share their experiences, receive feedback and develop new coping strategies. 

Here are some things you can expect in group therapy programs for addiction:

A Supportive and Non-Judgmental Environment

Group psychotherapy provides a safe and confidential space where individuals share their experiences and emotions without fear of judgment or criticism. You’ll connect with others who are going through similar experiences and receive peer support and encouragement. These sessions aim to build healthy group dynamics and an atmosphere where patients feel safe about opening up.

Ultimately, everything that takes place in these sessions and other treatment programs revolves around communication. Counselors gather information during therapy sessions yet often find there’s more under the surface that comes out during group therapy. The information shared in individual sessions and group therapy is vital to the treatment process. 

A Chance to Share Your Experiences

In group therapy, you can share your experiences with addiction and recovery with others who understand what you’re going through. Sharing your experiences can help you feel less alone and more connected to others who are going through similar struggles. Bringing people together with something to share can help you see each person’s addiction from a different perspective. While you aren’t required to share, it’s encouraged as part of the healing process.

Feedback and Support From Peers

Group therapy provides an opportunity to receive feedback and support from your peers. You’ll gain new insights that come from objective observation and build new strategies for navigating obstacles. You can also receive feedback on your progress and goals with each new session.

New Coping Strategies 

In group therapy, the therapist will lead the group in activities and exercises designed to help individuals develop new coping strategies for dealing with addiction triggers and cravings. The therapist may also teach relaxation techniques, mindfulness practices, or other skills to help individuals manage stress and anxiety.

Accountability and Motivation

Group psychotherapy provides a sense of accountability and motivation for individuals in recovery. Seeing others in the group make progress toward their goals is motivating, and knowing others are counting on you can help you stay committed to your recovery. You’ll have people to lean on in times of stress or uncertainty. These group members can cheer you on and hold you accountable on your path to a healthy, substance-free lifestyle. 

Continued Support

Group therapy can provide ongoing support for individuals in recovery. Some groups may meet regularly over an extended period, providing a consistent source of support and connection. You’ll have the opportunity to reach out to alums even after completing group therapy and provide updates or ask for advice as needed. Knowing you’ll always have people to turn to can be extremely comforting as you work toward recovery. 

The Benefits of Group Addiction Therapy

The Benefits of Group Addiction Therapy

Addiction is a complex disease that is difficult to overcome on your own. Group therapy can be a powerful tool in treating addiction, providing a supportive, non-judgmental environment and motivation for long-term recovery.

Some of the key benefits of group therapy include:

1. Support and Belonging

Group therapy provides individuals with an opportunity to connect with others who are going through similar experiences with addiction. This support can be incredibly validating and help individuals feel less isolated and more understood. Knowing others in the group face similar challenges can be a source of comfort and encouragement.

2. Increased Motivation and Accountability

In a group setting, patients can expect to be held accountable by the group for maintaining their recovery progress. This accountability can be a powerful motivator, as individuals may be more likely to stay committed to their recovery goals when they know others are counting on them. Additionally, seeing others in the group progress toward their goals can motivate and inspire individuals to continue working toward recovery.

3. Gaining Insight

In a group setting, individuals have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others. Different group dynamics offer insights and perspectives you may not have considered, as well as feedback and support as you work toward recovery. 

This structure can be particularly helpful for individuals who may be hesitant to share their experiences in individual counseling sessions. You’ll have a sounding board for new ideas and get to try out sobriety strategies from people who have had success with similar experiences.

4. Improving Communication Skills

One of the primary benefits of group therapy is learning how to communicate openly and honestly with others. While it’s common to feel shy or experience feelings of shame or guilt, knowing everyone has been through a similar experience can help you feel validated and comfortable enough to open up and grow. 

Communicating healthily with group participants can translate into better relationships outside of therapy. In addition to improving communication, group therapy can increase your empathy and make you feel like you have something to give.

5. Developing New Coping Strategies

Group therapy allows individuals to learn and practice new coping strategies for dealing with addiction triggers and cravings. The therapist may lead the group in activities and exercises designed to help individuals develop new skills for managing stress and anxiety. The group can also provide a safe space for individuals to practice and refine these skills.

6. Increased Self-Awareness

In a group setting, individuals may become more aware of their own patterns of behavior and how their addiction has impacted their lives. This increased self-awareness can be a critical first step in the recovery process. It allows individuals to identify areas where they need to make changes and develop a plan for moving forward.

7. Improved Well-Being

Helping others through recovery can build self-confidence and improve your overall well-being. You’ll learn new coping skills to help you through challenging situations and reduce stress. Group psychotherapy can also increase your ability to regulate your emotions so you can embrace challenges head-on rather than avoid them. The goal is to become less reactive over time, so you can heal and move forward without getting caught up on complicated feelings or triggers.

Being around others who have been through similar experiences can also decrease feelings of shame, making you feel better and more hopeful about recovery. 

8. Building a Sense of Community

Group therapy is one of the best ways to build community and a healthy support system. It can be particularly helpful for individuals who may have lost social connections due to addiction. You’ll establish new connections and relationships with others who share similar values and goals. The people you meet in these sessions can become part of your long-term support system, offering assistance in tough times and praise after successes.

The Available Treatment Options at Gateway Foundation

At Gateway Foundation, we provide individual and group therapy for addiction in Chicago, Illinois, and other programs to help people struggling with substances. The best way to approach long-term recovery is with a comprehensive treatment plan. Every patient is different, and we will work with you to adjust your schedule or provide a combination of these programs as needed.

Inpatient Care

Inpatient Care

Inpatient care programs involve intensive, round-the-clock care in a residential setting. The primary goal is to help individuals comfortably and safely detox. Then, we provide the necessary support and resources to maintain a substance-free lifestyle. patients can appreciate supervision and a substance-free setting to help focus solely on recovery and developing coping skills for triggers and cravings. 

At Gateway Foundation, inpatient programs can include a combination of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), counseling and behavioral therapies, support groups, and education about addiction and recovery.

Outpatient Care

Outpatient Care

Outpatient care for addiction is a type of treatment where individuals with substance use disorders receive care while living at home or in a community setting. Unlike inpatient care, outpatient care does not require individuals to reside in a treatment facility but rather regularly attend appointments and therapy sessions.

The primary goal of outpatient care for addiction is to provide individuals with the necessary support and resources to maintain their sobriety while allowing them to continue to fulfill their daily responsibilities, such as work or school. This approach can include individual and group psychotherapy sessions, medication-assisted treatment, and support groups.

Certified Dual Diagnosis Enhanced Treatment

Certified Dual Diagnosis Enhanced Treatment

Dual diagnosis is a specialized treatment for individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. This approach combines mental health and addiction treatment services to address both conditions concurrently.

Our dual-diagnosis treatment plans are provided by licensed and certified healthcare professionals who have received specialized training in both mental health and addiction treatment. We’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your unique needs, providing the skills and resources to manage your mental health and substance use disorders. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based, often individual therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative patterns of thinking and behavior contributing to addiction. At Gateway Foundation, you can work one-on-one with a therapist to identify the thoughts, feelings, and situations that trigger substance use. From there, you’ll work to develop coping skills and strategies to manage triggers healthily. You can also participate in group cognitive behavioral therapy sessions.

Research has shown that CBT can be an effective addiction treatment, particularly when combined with other forms of treatment, such as medication-assisted treatment and support groups. CBT can help individuals develop the skills and resources they need to manage their addiction and maintain long-term recovery.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that can treat various mental health conditions, including addiction. It works by helping patients regulate their emotions and develop coping skills to manage stressful situations that might trigger substance use. The therapy is based on mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

DBT for addiction typically involves individual sessions with a trained therapist and group therapy sessions with other individuals in recovery. During therapy sessions, individuals learn skills to manage negative emotions, cope with stress and avoid situations that may trigger addictive behavior — you can further practice those learned skills in other individual and group therapy sessions. Dialectical behavior therapy also helps individuals develop healthy relationships and communication skills.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) provides therapy and medications to help patients manage addiction and maintain long-term recovery. MAT works by reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings, making it easier for individuals to maintain abstinence. 

Medications used in MAT are typically approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are safe and effective when used as directed. Research has shown that MAT can be an effective addiction treatment, particularly when combined with individual behavioral therapy and support groups. MAT can help individuals manage their addiction, reduce the risk of relapse and improve overall outcomes.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of therapy that focuses on helping patients accept their thoughts and feelings rather than attempting to control or avoid them. Gateway provides ACT to help you commit to actions that align with your values. You’ll identify your goals and develop mindfulness skills to accept addiction-related thoughts and feelings.

You can then establish your commitment to taking action toward your values, whether seeking treatment, attending support groups, or engaging in healthy behaviors. 

Withdrawal Management Instead of Detox

Withdrawal Management Instead of Detox

Withdrawal management is the process of safely managing withdrawal symptoms when stopping or reducing substance use. At Gateway Foundation, we provide medications to manage physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal so that you can comfortably focus on your recovery. 

In contrast to traditional “detox” programs, which often focus solely on removing the substance from the body and managing withdrawal symptoms, withdrawal management emphasizes the importance of ongoing support and treatment to maintain recovery. Our comprehensive team of healthcare professionals will provide withdrawal management, support, and resources through 24-hour nursing care to help you transition to long-term addiction treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Group Therapy

Our group therapy for addiction in Chicago provides a safe, compassionate space to discuss your experiences and work toward long-term sobriety. Here are some common questions we receive about these sessions:

How Effective Is Group Therapy?

1. How Effective Is Group Therapy?

Studies continue to support the effectiveness of group therapy as a treatment option for addiction. One study found group psychotherapy or group CBT and pharmacotherapy were more effective at reducing opioid use than pharmacotherapy alone. Group therapy can help people with various issues, from mild addiction symptoms to severe or chronic mental health concerns. 

Research also shows group meetings can be as effective as individual therapy and even more efficient. Counselors can reach more people at once as they gain solidarity with other group therapy patients and reduce stigmas in their perceptions of addiction.

2. What Does a Typical Group Therapy Session Look Like?

Groups can vary in session format, though most are structured or semi-structured, meaning these groups are like workshops that focus on a particular topic. Each session will often consist of a brief presentation by the group facilitator, followed by discussions and experiential activities. Group therapy can be guided by a single therapist or co-led by two therapists. The role of the leader is to set and reinforce group rules and guidelines, lead discussions and ensure the atmosphere remains safe, healthy, and productive for everyone. 

Some group therapy sessions are less structured, allowing members to bring up any issues they feel are important. The focus of these sessions is on the interactions among participants, where each member provides feedback on their interpersonal styles and identifies how they feel connected to one another. Therapists might ask questions, encourage participation, give feedback when appropriate, and observe interactions. The goal is to ensure participants can benefit in ways that move them closer to reaching their individual treatment goals. 

How Is Group Therapy Structured?

3. How Is Group Therapy Structured?

Group therapy sessions can be open or closed, where new members might join at any time — open — or group membership remains consistent from beginning to end — closed. Open groups can be ongoing with no specific start or end date, while closed groups are created for a predetermined time. Outpatient programs often offer closed groups, while inpatient and residential treatment might accommodate open groups. 

Group psychotherapy sessions can last at least an hour, while some last one to two hours. The longer length can ensure everyone has time to participate and speak during discussions. Group sizes vary, though most will have five to 10 participants at a time. 

In outpatient programs, groups might meet once a week. In intensive treatment settings, therapy groups might meet two to three times a week or once every day. 

4. Is Group Therapy Confidential? 

Group therapy sessions are confidential, meaning what is shared stays in the group. All patients are expected to honor every participant’s confidentiality. This confidentiality can help individuals feel more comfortable sharing their experiences and emotions with others. Some group settings set a rule that participants do not interact with other group members outside of therapy when actively involved in it.

5. What Role Do the Group Facilitators Play?

Our group therapy for addiction in Chicago has a leader or two that facilitates individual growth while using a unique style of carrying out that task. Facilitators can guide self-exploration, offer feedback and support, and encourage group harmony. Some leaders play an active role throughout sessions, while others give members more room for self-exploration. Most tend to fall between these styles, with activity levels depending on the particular group. 

Learn More About How Gateway Foundation Can Help

Learn More About How Gateway Foundation Can Help

Therapy is a powerful tool in treating addiction, providing individuals with support, motivation, and accountability as they work toward recovery. Group psychotherapy can also help individuals learn new coping strategies, increase self-awareness and build community. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, individual and group therapy can play a vital role in recovery, mainly when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan at Gateway Foundation.

Contact us today to learn more about group and individual therapy and our other treatment programs.