Group therapy activities offer a space for people in recovery to examine themselves and their addictive behaviors in a safe and welcoming environment. Those who participate find that these activities can provide them with new insights and meaningful experiences.
Indeed, such activities can be an invaluable way for people to remind themselves that they are not alone in this. In fact, it’s a vital part of recovery due to the bonding and sharing between peers that occurs. SAMHSA states that “because human beings by nature are social beings, group therapy is a powerful therapeutic tool that is effective in treating substance abuse.”
The Purpose of Group Therapy Activities
Isolation, guilt, and shame are often significant issues for those struggling with substance abuse. Group therapy activities allow participants to connect with others who understand what it’s like to suffer from addiction and are there to offer support. It can help people who are apprehensive about therapy get a feel for how it works, and how prepared they are to examine and process their experiences.
Group therapy activities for those who have struggled with addiction can offer a unique atmosphere that fosters insight, connection with others, and problem-solving skills. The inclusion of group therapy activities can greatly complement any addiction treatment program and is usually considered to be an integral part of the treatment process.
Who Leads Group Therapy?
Therapy groups should be lead by a trained group leader who promotes discussion and encourages each individual to participate actively. Other than mindfully guiding the conversation, the group leader is responsible for identifying participants’ issues that arise during group therapy as well as in daily life.
Participants will often react in group therapy sessions in a way that represents their habitual patterns and thought processes, unaware that they are doing so. For instance, a person who is a “people pleaser” might frequently validate the statements of others, yet keep their own experiences or opinions to themselves to avoid causing conflict.
These situations are opportunities for the group leader to make suggestions and offer insight into habits that might need to be changed. By observing participants in a group setting, therapists can provide a different perspective that allows them to improve the quality of care rendered to the clients.
Types of Group Therapy Activities
So, what type of activities do participants in group therapy engage in? Teaching individuals what to anticipate is an essential part of helping them become more open to the idea of recovery. It also helps to ease their worries and fears about the treatment process and how uncomfortable they have presumed it would be.
Discuss Common Triggers
Being able to identify triggers is a skill that is a crucial focus of all addiction treatment programs. Sometimes, working in a group setting can help individuals identify these triggers. Also, it makes it possible for people to discuss them in-depth. Understanding that they aren’t the only ones who encounter these triggers is beneficial for most people in recovery.
Examine Gender Roles
Often, it’s easy to overlook the fact that gender roles play a part in how people respond to certain situations. Regrettably, gender stereotypes can drive people to suppress their feelings and avoid sharing them with others. Group therapy activities can help them break free from these stereotypes and share their thoughts and feelings more honestly and openly.
Many group therapy activities place a focus on relapse prevention. It can be useful for people to talk about relapse openly without judgment. It can help them to remember the many adverse consequences of using drugs or abusing alcohol. In a group environment, participants can also encourage each other to avoid relapse and discuss ways of doing so.
Of the many beneficial aspects of group therapy, engaging in open communication is one of the most vital. A person in recovery must know how to express himself or herself in a way that is clear and decisive. Many group therapy activities include communication-building games to show people the value of productive communication.
For instance, one such game involves participants sitting in a circle. Each person receives a message that he or she must pass on to the individual on their left. Eventually, the message makes it’s way around the room and back to the original participant. The aim is to get the same message back to the person at the end of the circle.
Discuss Role Models
Many people have role models that are people they know personally or professionally. However, some may be celebrities, athletes, or people who are highly intelligent or have achieved great success in life. Regardless, it’s critical to discuss role models in a group environment. Sometimes, people begin to learn that perhaps their previous role models aren’t really the best people to admire or aspire to imitate.
Discuss the Importance of Self-Care
Discussing the importance in several areas of one’s life can help participants understand that these practices are vital for sustaining long-term recovery. These include healthy habits, such as eating properly, exercising, and engaging in a regular and restful sleeping routine.
Participants can discuss nutritional goals and what they are currently doing to achieve those goals. They can also examine their relationship with food and identify habits that they should adopt or abandon.
Similarly, by discussing exercise, participants can identify fitness goals and how they can accomplish them. They can examine their exercise regime and determine if it’s healthy or more work needs to be done.
Finally, by discussing the importance of sleep, participants can develop a sleep routine conducive to recovery. They can also determine if they have a healthy sleep pattern, and if not, what they can do to remedy this problem.
Discussing Best and Worst Moments
Therapists seek to communicate the fact that value judgments are very subjective and can be interpreted in different ways. Another activity commonly used by therapists to achieve this is to ask participants to list what they consider to be the best and worst moments of their lives.
Therapists and other participants will then ask them why these moments, in particular, were either good or bad, and if they can identify any similarities or patterns between these experiences. People engaging in this exercise often realize that there are rarely any moments that are “all good” or “all bad.”
This sometimes startling revelation can help an individual see how similar the “good” and “bad” occurrences in their lives can be, and that their value judgment has been made subjectively. As a result, they understand that they may have been using faulty judgment and have, in some cases, been too hard on themselves.
These are just a few of the countless activities that group leaders can facilitate. These activities can encourage people to share their thoughts and feelings and learn new ways of addressing the pitfalls of addiction and recovery alike.
Start Group Therapy and Addiction Treatment Today
Harmony Treatment and Wellness understands the importance of group therapy as part of a broader, comprehensive addiction treatment program. In addition to group therapy, we also offer other essential services, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Partial hospitalization programs
- Outpatient treatment programs
- Trauma therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Individual counseling
- Family counseling
- Health and wellness education
- Substance abuse education
- Art and music therapy
- Adventure therapy
- Aftercare planning
You don’t have to try to overcome addiction alone. Using group therapy and other therapeutic techniques, we can help you develop the coping skills you need to foster long-lasting sobriety and wellness.
Contact us today if you are ready to end the cycle of addiction! We are dedicated to ensuring that our clients receive the very best care available, and receive the tools and support they need to reclaim healthy, more fulfilling lives!