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Substance Use and Mental Health Disorder Educational Blog

10 Ideas for Substance Abuse Group Therapy Activities

substance abuse group therapy

Substance Abuse Group Therapy: How It Works

Substance abuse group therapy is a unique form of therapy counseling that’s used to treat substance use disorder (SUD) and addiction. Typically, substance abuse group therapy involves regular sessions with at least one therapist and includes several individuals who are being treated for the same health issue. Oftentimes, this type of therapy will be offered in a private practice setting, mental health clinic, community center, or hospital. 

There are many types of health conditions that group therapy can help with. Here’s a few: 

  • Alcohol addiction
  • Tobacco or nicotine
  • Prescription pain medication
  • Opiate addiction
  • Stimulants 
  • Depressants
  • Antidepressants
  • Hallucinogens
  • Illegal or recreational drugs

Additionally, there are several benefits to substance abuse group therapy. In fact, group therapy can help individuals in a myriad of ways, such as: 

  • Being able to interact with others who are learning to cope with and overcome an addiction. Whether that’s an addiction to drugs or alcohol, substance abuse group therapy can be helpful for those in the beginning of their recovery journey.
  • Substance abuse group therapy can help members realize they’re not alone and gives them a platform to share information and experiences with one another, which can boost self-esteem and confidence. Plus, studies show that sharing feelings and experiences can reduce stress, guilt, and pain among group therapy members.
  • Learning how to avoid engaging in destructive behaviors, including drugs, and instead practicing new, healthy behaviors.

Substance abuse group therapy offers a structured environment where discussions are controlled. Here, members can also get feedback and advice to gain a better understanding of themselves. But is substance abuse group therapy effective? 

The American Addiction Centers surveyed 379 alumni to rate their satisfaction with a variety of treatments. According to the results, group members were 168% more likely to recommend their treatment facility to others, which suggests group therapy plays a big role in addiction recovery. 

The way group therapy works is by helping members through the six stages of recovery, which are:

 1.  Pre-contemplation: this stage is where clients are not actively trying to change their substance abuse behavior because they don’t believe they have a problem

2.  Contemplation: clients think about decreasing their drug or alcohol use

3.  Preparation: group members are still using their substance of choice, but plan on stopping 

4.  Action: individuals choose a strategy to help them stop the substance abuse 

5.  Maintenance: clients work hard to remain abstinent and avoid relapse

6.  Recurrence: clients relapse and return to one of the previous stages 

There are five common types of group therapy models that are effective forms of treatment for substance abuse. The five types include: 

  • Psychoeducational groups that focus on feelings and anger management, conflict resolution, prevention, trauma, health and wellness, culture and family roles
  • Cognitive behavioral groups that focus on building new skills, conflict resolution, anger/feelings management, relapse prevention, and early recovery
  • Skills development groups focus on the same factors as cognitive behavioral groups, but skills development also includes relaxation training, meditation, and life skills training 
  • Support groups focus on relapse prevention, trauma, spirituality, culture, ceremonial healing practices, and gender-specific topics
  • Interpersonal process group psychotherapy focuses on trauma and different forms of abuse, psychodynamics, and humanistic/existential topics

Additional types of substance abuse group therapy include specialized groups, relapse prevention treatment, communal and cultural groups, and expressive groups. 

Recovery is a process that lasts a lifetime.

10 Substance Abuse Group Therapy Ideas

There are many reasons people seek substance abuse group therapy. These are the top 10 ideas that are discussed in substance abuse group therapy: 

 1.  Family issues, including parent-child relationships, sibling interactions, feeling supported, resentment, forgiveness, jealousy, and abandonment issues

2.  Mental health conditions, including education about a specific mental health condition, coping skills, social skills, acceptance, setting boundaries, developing self-worth and confidence, overcoming fear, and dealing with anger issues

3.  Emotional wellness, including being more mindful, reducing stress, having a more positive outlook on life, how to develop healthy sleep habits, strengthening social connections, dealing and coping with loss

4.  Grief, including acceptance, anger, depression, denial, guilt, saying goodbye, looking towards your new future, coping skills

5.  Trauma, including sexual assault, financial abuse, mental abuse, physical abuse, acceptance, forgiveness, anxiety, depression, fear, and trust

6.  Phobias, including understanding phobias and causes, reframing or positive thinking, sharing small or big accomplishments and empowerment, exposure activities and record-keeping, supporting the self and other group members, anxiety reduction skills, token economics and rewarding ourselves

7.  Self-care, including how to practice mindfulness, how to meditate, benefits of exercise, journaling, and goal setting

8.  Weight and body image, including learning how to identify and conquer your triggers, understanding the weight loss process, knowing how to fuel your body for exercise, finding the type of exercises that work for you, discussing your relationship with food, exercises, and self-image

9.  Anger management, including conflict resolution, stress management, communication, positive thinking skills, people and social skills, and how to handle the unexpected

10.  Criminial behavior, including social skills, critical and moral reasoning, means-end problem-solving, impulse control and management, self-control, and reintegrating into society outside of prison

While therapy isn’t always an easy accomplishment, it is worth it. However, it’s up to you to find the right style and technique, such as group therapy, that might make it easier for you to commit to the process. Group therapy is a great option for those who are looking for additional support in their journey to recovery. 

Recovery is a process that lasts a lifetime.

Get Group Therapy and Individualized Care at Magnolia Recovery of LA

If you or a loved one suffers from substance use disorder, consider seeking care from Magnolia Recovery of LA. This addiction treatment center offers individualized treatment plans for all clients, including specialized detox care for those who struggle with alcohol addiction or drug addiction. 

The goal of Magnolia Recovery LA is to understand the underlying issues that have contributed to people’s substance abuse, alcohol use, or other destructive behavior. With personalized treatment plans, patients have access to the right tools that can help replace unhealthy habits with productive ones so patients can live a happy, fulfilled life. At Magnolia Recovery of LA, you’ll receive health related education, therapeutic counseling, nutrition, exercise, and spiritual development. 

Whether you enroll in a partial hospitalization plan (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), or inpatient/residential treatment, your recovery journey will include substance abuse group therapy. In this group session, you’ll have the chance to sit down and converse with people who understand what you’re going through. Plus, you’ll be able to learn from others who have been in your shoes, and make new connections that can enhance recovery. Substance abuse group therapy at Magnolia Recovery of LA is conducted by caring recovery professionals who are specially trained in topics such as drug abuse and alcohol abuse. In group therapy at Magnolia Recovery of LA, you’ll discuss:

  • Substance abuse and the need for support and goal-setting
  • Problem-solving with the opportunity to listen to other similar problems
  • Patient empowerment and skill learning
  • Routine and structure setting
  • Relationship building and improvement
  • Communal sharing, learning, and healing by talking amongst group members
  • Token economics
  • Family and community support

  • As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.

Magnolia Recovery… A Special Place to Learn and Heal

(818) 431-2224
Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. Before making any decisions on your physical or mental health, please consult your doctor. The staff at Magnolia Recovery Center will work with our patients on a custom diagnosis and care plan. Specific medical advice will be provided to our patients while in our care.