Group Therapy for Addiction

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Many people new to recovery can be wary of group therapy for addiction. This is understandable as speaking about personal problems and volatile emotions among a group of strangers can be intimidating.

It doesn’t need to be that way, though. Indeed, many of those reluctant to open up in group therapy at first soon find group counseling for addiction is a rewarding and therapeutic experience.

Group therapy allows treatment providers to streamline delivery of therapy and lets those in recovery get more hours of treatment at a lower cost, but there are many further benefits to counseling and therapy in a group setting.

What Happens During Group Therapy Sessions?

Group therapy for addiction treatment can be effective in many levels of care and therapeutic settings, including:

  • Hospital-based inpatient treatment
  • Residential rehab
  • Outpatient rehab
  • Virtual rehab

According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), group therapy can be as effective as individual therapy for those committed to ending substance use and engaging with recovery.

Unlike family therapy, members in group therapy sessions do not typically have a pre-existing relationship. Many groups will request that members do not spend time together outside of the group for the duration of the program.

A trained therapist conducts group therapy sessions for addiction. In peer support group sessions, by contrast, there is no experienced leader guiding sessions.

Group size will vary from 16 to 24 people who will meet with the same therapist to promote trust within the group.

The number of group therapy sessions you need will also vary according to your requirements and the severity of your addiction. Most group therapy programs run for anywhere from 30 days in residential rehab to six months or more in an outpatient setting.

The format of sessions is also fluid, varying between therapists and the type of group therapy – see below for a breakdown of the most common types of group counseling.

These are the four most common models used for group therapy sessions for the treatment of addiction and mental health disorders:

  1. CBT groups
  2. Skill development groups
  3. Psychoeducational groups
  4. Interpersonal process groups

1) CBT groups

CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is a form of psychotherapy proven effective for treating both addiction and mental health disorders.

In group CBT sessions for substance abuse, you will be guided to accomplish behavioral change by:

●  Identifying problematic behaviors and distorted beliefs.

●  Learning and implementing new patterns of thinking and behaving.

●  Exploring relapse prevention strategies.

2) Skill development groups

Skill development group sessions for drug addiction and alcoholism involve group members interacting with each other. A group leader will direct sessions with topics including:

  • Identifying and improving responses to anger.
  • Managing personal triggers for substance abuse
  • strengthening parenting skills
  • Improving communication skills
  • Becoming more financially responsible

3) Psychoeducational groups

The core focus of psychoeducational groups is imparting information and education on all aspects of substance abuse and mental health issues, as well as the consequences of those behaviors.

Through psychoeducational group therapy, you can learn about the impact of substance abuse and how to thrive rather than simply survive in your new sobriety.

4) Interpersonal process groups

Interpersonal process group sessions focus on the following:

  • How group members are feeling
  • How group members are functioning within the group
  • How group members are interacting with one another
  • Overall group performance

The primary focus of these groups is on how childhood issues and emotional development can lead to impaired decision making and unhealthy coping mechanisms. The content of sessions is less important to the group leader than the behaviors and interactions of the group members.

Group sizes tend to be slightly smaller for this type of group therapy.

What are the Benefits of Group Therapy for Substance Abuse?

Although group therapy may lack the personalized laser focus of individual therapy, you can expect to achieve the following benefits:

1. Group therapy provides a safe and secure environment: As you consistently meet with the same group of people, you will become more confident and more self-assured. You can discuss any roadblocks on your recovery journey, as well as any challenges and triggers. Group members can offer a powerful sense of support as you move into ongoing recovery. Developing a robust sober support network is a critical part of sustained recovery without relapse.

2. You get the chance to give and receive support: In addition to receiving support when you need it, you can also share your coping strategies and viewpoints with other group members. This can boost your self-confidence and foster a sense of camaraderie within the group.

3. Group sessions help you to strengthen your communication skills: By actively listening and participating in group therapy sessions, you will improve your communication skills. This can help in all other areas of your life as you repair relationships damaged by the consequences of your substance abuse.

4. Peer support reinforces the fact you are not alone in your recovery: Many of those grappling with addiction feel intensely isolated, lonely, and misunderstood. By interacting with peers in recovery, you will be reassured that you are not going through this alone.

5. Group counseling sessions expose you to a broad range of feedback: In one-to-one therapy sessions, you will only receive feedback from your therapist. In group sessions, on the other hand, you’ll get additional feedback from multiple peers.

6. You can implement new skills in group sessions: Group sessions offer the ideal setting in which you can implement the coping skills and strategies you are learning in your recovery.

Addiction Group Therapy in Cincinnati, Ohio

All of our treatment programs at Ohio Recovery Centers offer access to group counseling for drug addiction or alcoholism as a core component of programming. We also offer treatment programs for mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and PTSD co-occurring with addiction. Again, group counseling will play a central role in treatment.

Choose the type of program that best fits the severity of your addiction and your personal circumstances. We provide therapy at the following levels on American Society of Addiction Medicine’s continuum of care as follows:

●  MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

●  PHP (partial hospitalization program)

●  IOP (intensive outpatient program)

Kickstart your recovery at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers and tackle the physical and psychological component of addiction to drink or drugs. Contact us online right here or call (877) 679-2132 for immediate assistance.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn