Individual vs. Group Therapy for Addiction Treatment

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The field of addiction medicine has come a long way in the past two decades. While both individual and group therapy have been widely acknowledged for their effectiveness in managing addiction, modern research continues to suggest that they have unique benefits as treatments. Because of this, both individual and group therapy continue to be used for addiction. However, the benefits of these treatments are often different.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between individual and group therapy for addiction. We’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each type of treatment so that you are able to make an informed choice for yourself or a loved one. 

What’s the Difference Between Individual and Group Therapy for Addiction?

Individual therapy is a one-on-one conversation between you and a therapist, often focusing on you as the individual and your addiction. The therapist might help you identify triggers and avoid them, provide support and advice, or explain withdrawal symptoms. In group therapy, you and a group of people discuss your addiction together, often as a part of a weekly meeting or class. This can be weekly meetings or a more structured format that helps the group process issues more effectively.

Pros of Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is often the most effective form of treatment for addiction. It allows you the chance to talk to a qualified individual about your addiction and what’s happening inside of you. A skilled therapist can help you identify problems and myths related to your addiction and point you in the right direction for effective coping mechanisms. It’s also possible to find an addiction therapist at your local hospital or addiction treatment center.

Individual therapy often includes one-on-one meetings, phone calls, and/or online chats. You can bring in books, articles, and/or programs to help you process what’s happening in the therapy room. Often, therapy is broken into stages to increase the impact of each discussion and suggestible questioning. Some people find that therapy is helpful in diagnosing and treating themselves as well as other addictions.

Individual therapy can include a range of different techniques to help you process feelings, such as therapy on your own or with a loved one. You can also bring in materials to be talked about in-depth with you or your loved one.

Pros of Group Therapy

While individual therapy can be very helpful for people with addiction, group therapy can be even more powerful. A group therapy session can be incredibly healing for people with addiction. It can provide a safe place to talk about and process emotions related to addiction with other people who understand. It can also be used as an assessment tool to help you understand why you’re having trouble dealing with issues and develop a plan for moving forward.

Some people find that group therapy is more engaging and effective than individual therapy. They also enjoy the camaraderie of a group therapy experience and find it much more realistic and helpful than a one-on-one conversation with a therapist would be.

Cons of Individual Therapy

As with any type of therapy, individual or group, there will be some people who don’t need or want therapy and don’t have a good reason for seeking it. Some people also might not be ready or able to deal with all the things that come up in therapy. This might be a good time to pause and reflect on whether you actually need or want therapy and whether it’s the best option for you.

If you’re feeling unsure or hesitant, you can also consider finding a friend or loved one to talk to you about your issues. People often have good reasons for doing therapy that don’t involve addictions or related health problems. They just might be ready to talk to someone about what’s happening in their lives.

Cons of Group Therapy 

Group therapy can be very time-consuming, depending on the size of the group. That is, it often requires a lot of talking, listening, and sharing. It can also be quite emotional, depending on the issues that the group is trying to address. The nature of group therapy also requires vulnerability from the participants.

It can become difficult to share deeply personal experiences with a room full of people. For some, talking about something they are nervous about can be really difficult, and can negatively affect the healing process. That’s why it’s important to find a therapist who is good at counseling group sessions and has experience working with similar groups.

Oasis Recovery Can Help

As we’ve seen, there are a number of differences between individual and group therapy for addiction. While both individual and group therapy have been widely acknowledged for their effectiveness in managing addiction, modern research continues to suggest that they have unique benefits as treatments. Because of this, both individual and group therapy continue to be used for addiction. 

If you feel that you or a loved one may be struggling with substance abuse, you are not alone. Substance abuse and addiction can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with addiction, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services.

 Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:

  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
  • Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
  • Aftercare Services

Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with addiction on your own. We are here to help. 


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