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American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

5 Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Group Therapy

Virtually all medical professionals will tell you that therapy sessions are an essential part of a successful recovery. Understanding the root causes of your addiction and being able to address past traumas are both necessary tools to understanding what triggers your urge to use…and learn how to work through it.

Getting the Support You Need from Group Therapy

For those who attending an inpatient rehab, group therapy serves as a vital supplement to your individual recovery work. Many times, people are hesitant to share their darkest moments to a room full of strangers.

The result of that fear is that they either become resistant to the group therapy process as a whole or they just emotionally shut down.

Avoiding both of those outcomes should be on the top of your recovery “to-do list.”

Developing trust and an organic bond with the other members of your therapy group can give you valuable motivation in treatment. Believe it or not, the people in your group are the ones who can pick you up and give you the courage to continue fighting for your own recovery – especially on the days you’re feeling hopeless.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five simple tips that will help you get the most out of each and every group therapy session:

  • Be Open: The most important thing you can do in group sessions is be open and willing – both will help you dive in and become an active participant. Ask questions and be honest with your group, even if that means being emotionally vulnerable. It’s okay to be “messy” and reveal things that you would normally keep hidden. Group is a safe place – a place where you can be you and not feel as if you have to apologize for it.
  • Give Feedback: When someone in the group shares a personal story or reveals something they’re dealing with, be willing to express how you feel about the situation. Be direct, honest and specific about what you’re responding to (a particular remark, their emotions, etc). You should also provide this feedback as soon as possible so it’s still relevant to the session.
  • Learn to Accept Feedback: This can be one of the hardest parts of group therapy. When another group member gives feedback on something you’ve said or expressed, do your best to avoid becoming defensive. And if the feedback makes you feel negatively, admit how you’re reacting and share that it’s something you feel is unavoidable at the moment. Admitting how you’re feeling may also help to get some clarification from group members or elicit the opinion of other members. Talking it out and coming to a resolution can feel wonderfully freeing.
  • Avoid Monologues: Telling stories can be a great way to avoid interpersonal dialogue and intimacy, especially if it’s a story you frequently tell. When sharing personal experiences with your group, aim to look back at these life moments in a way that helps you better understand them rather than simply rehashing the past.
  • Focus on Group Dynamics: Look at the relationships you have with group leaders, members and the group as a whole. Why do you feel closer or more distant with certain people? Explore these thoughts with the group. You might be surprised to learn what draws you to some people and what drives you away from others.
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