Group Therapy for Addiction in Lancaster CA

Bellagio In The Desert Residential Treatment Center


If you or someone you know is affected by substance use disorder, there is good news. Group therapy has proven to be an effective part of addiction treatment programs. Addiction to substances, commonly referred to as a substance use disorder affects the person in many ways. 

Addicts are affected by various substances physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially.  Group therapy has proven to touch upon these complications that come into play when a person struggles with alcohol and drug addiction. 

Read on to find out how group therapy for addiction treatment can help your situation.

What is Group Therapy?

Traditionally, group therapy is a type of psychotherapy where individuals come together as a group. Typically one or more therapists will serve as facilitators of the group. The group serves as a “mechanism of change.” This allows participants to explore interpersonal relations and focus on improving different aspects of their lives. 

A traditional group therapy session follows a psychodynamic format. However, in recent decades, many other forms of group therapy have emerged. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, music or art therapy, support therapy, group meditation, and more.

Group Therapy for Addiction Treatment

When an individual has a substance use disorder, social skills, family dynamics, socio-economic status, and psychological problems can all be affected. Group therapy works to tackle these issues either directly or indirectly in a peer setting. According to the National Institute of Health, there are five primary models for group therapy for substance abuse treatment:

Cognitive-Behavioral Groups

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a common tool used at the beginning of an individual’s treatment for drug abuse. Participants learn to change pre-conceived thinking patterns which take the form of opinions, assumptions, thoughts, or beliefs. These thinking patterns are not useful in helping the person cope with their lives. 

The individual is able to change the way they see themselves or others by shedding false beliefs. Then they are able to change negative behaviors that lead to substance abuse. 

Cognitive-behavioral group therapy also emphasizes the development of social networks. These are meant to support the individual as they lead a life of sobriety. They will also learn to become more aware of behaviors that lead to relapse. 

Psychoeducational Groups

These groups are designed to teach greater awareness about substance abuse.  They tend to occur in structured settings where participants learn about substance abuse. As well as its consequences, and the behaviors associated with it that disrupt a person’s life. Trained facilitators use lectures, videos, podcasts, and other forms of presenting the material in order to facilitate discussion.  

Interpersonal Group Therapy or “Therapy Groups”

Therapy groups with these names refer to psychodynamic group therapy for addiction treatment. These groups are originally based on Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis established in the early part of the twentieth century.  They have been modified to take the form of psychodynamic group therapy. This type of group therapy focuses on making changes within the individual and between people. 

Skills Development Groups

This group focuses on life skills. Many skills development groups are based on a cognitive-behavioral approach. This is the assumption that the participants need to change dysfunctional thought patterns in order to change their behavior. Leaders of this type of group therapy may come from various backgrounds and apply different techniques. 

They focus on coping skills, specifically cultivating participants’ skills to live a substance-free life. This focus can take a broader approach relevant to living a life of sobriety. The approach can also address issues such as problem-solving or anger management.

Support Groups

Although support groups come from the self-help tradition, they may be group-facilitated or led by a trained leader. They emphasize providing support, exercising unconditional positive regard, and actively listening. While drawing from each participant’s personal experiences and reflections to help each other live a life free of addiction. 

Unlike other groups described above, support groups primarily emphasize providing support in a group environment. As opposed to attempting to analyze the roots of an individual’s path to addiction recovery. 

Support groups for rehab may include 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. They also include groups for specific populations with shared experiences, such as women’s groups. And also include check-in groups that encourage each member to share their thoughts and feelings in a general way.

Non-expressive groups

This is a term for groups that come together for art therapy, music therapy, or a dance therapy session. They are non-expressive in that members are guided within a group to express themselves through an artistic medium. This is used rather than talking, sharing, and verbal processing.

Benefits of Group Therapy for Addiction Treatment in Lancaster, CA

The peer component provides support and compassion as participants share their experiences. Peers who experienced similar challenges regarding how substance misuse has affected their lives may be able to offer valuable insight. They may relate firsthand to addiction’s devastating effects on relationships with family, jobs, and friends. 

Depending upon the format and the way the group is facilitated, participants may be able to challenge each other in productive ways. Especially when they recognize how addictive behaviors in a particular participant complicate or destroy the person’s life. Finally, group therapy sessions provide a dynamic, interrelated network of participants where each member can work on social skills. These skills are frequently lost or underdeveloped when a person is struggling with drug addiction and rehab.

Final Thoughts: Benefits of Substance Abuse Group Therapy

Participants will receive the support they need depending on the type of group therapy program involved. Participants will learn how to become sober and maintain a life free of addiction. They will also change thinking patterns that lead to destructive and addictive behaviors. In addition, they will learn how to work on social skills. 

Working in a group to achieve these goals provides the participants with perspective and insight from peers and helps them on their path through rehab. This insight is not necessarily available when working one-on-one with a professional.

In short, the best therapeutic programs and their components will vary for each individual. If you or someone you know needs to seek alcohol and drug addiction treatment in Lancaster, California, consider Bellagio RTC. Bellagio Residential Treatment center offers programs in Group therapy, Individual therapy, and Medication Assisted Treatment.