Treating adult clients in groups has many advantages. According to the TIP manual, group therapy provides positive peer support and pressure to abstain from substances of abuse. Group therapy elicits a commitment by all the group members to attend and to recognize that failure to attend, to be on time, and to treat group time as special disappoints the group and reduces its effectiveness in the very beginning. Peer support and pressure for abstinence are strong.
In addition, groups reduce the sense of isolation that most people who have substance abuse disorders experience. Also, Groups can provide useful information to clients who are new to recovery, help members learn to cope with their substance abuse and other problems by allowing them to see how others deal with similar problems, while also helping provide feedback concerning the values and abilities of other group members according to the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Protocol of 2005. In addition, there is another benefit of group therapy, which is that they offer members the opportunity to learn or relearn the social skills they need to cope with everyday life instead of resorting to substance abuse.
In reading, we have learned that substance abuse treatment professionals employ a variety of group treatment models to meet client needs during the multiphase process of recovery. These varieties include Psychoeducational groups, Skills development groups, Cognitive–behavioral/problem solving groups, Support groups and Interpersonal process groups. Although all types of groups can be very beneficial, a combination of these can be widely effective. For example, a psychoeducational, support and interpersonal process group could also contain some cognitive and behavioral aspects within it.
Support groups bolster members’ efforts to develop and strengthen the ability to manage their thinking and emotions and to develop better interpersonal skills as they recover from substance abuse. Support group members also help each other with pragmatic concerns, such as maintaining abstinence and managing day-to-day living.
Interpersonal process groups use psychodynamics, or knowledge of the way people function psychologically, to promote change and healing. Psychodynamic group therapies can be thought of as a generic name encompassing several ways of looking at the dynamics that take place in groups. Originally, these dynamics were considered in Freudian psychoanalytic terms that placed a heavy emphasis on sexual and aggressive drives, and conflicts and attachments between parents and children. Over the past half century many researchers, such as Jung, Adler, Bion, Noreno, Rogers, Perls, Yalom, and others, expanded or changed the Freudian emphasis. As a result, current dynamic conceptualizations include heavy emphasis on the social nature of human attachment, rivalry and social hierarchies, and cultural and spiritual values.
Our references come from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the Substance Abuse Treatment Group Therapy manual and from the text by Jacobs, et al. published in 2012.