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Addiction Treatment: What Is Group Therapy and Will It Help?

Written by Brandon Okey. Mina Draskovic, B.Psy., reviewed this content for accuracy.

The thought of talking about your problems in front of strangers can be intimidating, but group therapy is fundamental in overcoming addiction. Group therapy has become a staple for addiction treatment in recovery centers across the nation. This type of therapy has seen vast success as it allows clients to connect with others who have similar experiences. It is also an effective way of treating more clients at less cost. Continue reading to find out if group therapy is right for you.

What Is Group Therapy?

Group therapy aims to help people improve their mental health through communication with others. This differs from individual therapy in that there are multiple clients, and sometimes more than one counselor, all sharing together. During a group therapy session, each person will take a turn sharing their feelings, struggles, goals, and experiences. An array of topics can be discussed, such as: Identifying and discussing triggers for substance abuse Practicing gratitude Roleplay activities that explore what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes Recognizing alternative activities that can take the place of substance abuse Exploring the best practices for self-care Having this type of support system is one of the key elements of addiction recovery.

What to Expect From Group Therapy

There are many different types of group therapy sessions, but they can generally be divided into two main approaches: open and closed. Open therapy sessions are accessible to the public and the attendees can change from week to week. New members can join this type of session at any time. Inpatient services are typically considered to be open sessions as they have no distinct start or end date. On the other hand, closed therapy sessions are not open to the public and will usually have a set number of participants. These sessions are typically designed for outpatients and they have a specific start and end date. For instance, everyone might take part in a 12-week program together. Group therapy sessions are usually led by one or two counselors who act as moderators. Their role is to keep the group talking, bring up new ideas, and ensure that the conversation is headed in a meaningful direction. Before the session begins, the therapists will set clear guidelines and enforce those rules throughout the duration. The moderators will encourage people to talk and foster a safe environment where people can speak freely. The ultimate objective of group therapy is to help each individual meet their goals and take progressive steps toward recovery.


Confidentiality is key for group therapy sessions to work. Without discretion and trust between the patients and counselors, very little headway can occur. A lack of trust disincentivizes people to be honest and open with others, hurting the chances of success.

You Are Not Alone

Addiction can feel extremely isolating and lonely. It’s not uncommon for addicts to think that they’re the only ones going through this dreadful journey. However, when a person enters a group therapy session, they’re finally in a setting where they can connect with others. They will hear similar stories from others battling addiction and relate to their harrowing experiences. Facing this can help remove the sense of seclusion and worthlessness that addiction brings. Witnessing others who are going through the same struggles is often the first significant step towards recovery.

Interacting with Others

Not only is group therapy beneficial for the patient, but it can be very informative for the therapist as well. One of the biggest drawbacks of individual therapy is that the therapist is only receiving information from one person’s perspective. Even though this information has significant merit, it can be limiting. In a group setting, the therapist will get a chance to see how their client interacts with others, providing a larger perspective that can’t come from individual sessions alone. These interactions can help the therapist see a different side of their patient so that they can create a more thorough addiction recovery plan.


Group therapy promotes self-awareness, as it allows clients to see themselves in a different light. Most people in or out of addiction recovery have a distorted view of themselves. These preconceived notions and thoughts are challenged in a group setting and help everyone have a more authentic self-understanding. Much of this is possible because the patient is getting feedback from the therapist as well as fellow attendees. Hearing alternative viewpoints significantly helps in the recovery journey.

More Advantages of Group Therapy

Here are some other advantages of participating in group therapy to overcome addiction:
  • Fosters peer support to keep personal recovery goals
  • Provides participants with the option to see how others have handled other similar situations in addiction recovery
  • Encourages group members to offer assistance and feedback to other members creating a sense of community
  • Provides helpful information about the recovery process
  • Teaches healthy coping skills to overcome daily stressors without relying on substance use
  • Boosts structure and routine in the lives of group members
  • Builds self-esteem and confidence around others in social situations
  • Creates relationships and friendships that can go beyond the confines of a group therapy session

Is Group Therapy Right for Me?

Group therapy is a great resource for addiction recovery. When someone is placed in this setting, their individual needs are carefully considered to maximize the sessions. Group therapy can be difficult for people who:
  • Cannot follow the group rules, such as confidentiality
  • Do not believe group therapy can be helpful
  • Are debilitatingly anxious around new people and situations
  • Have difficulty building proper relationships

Experience Group Therapy at Ardú Recovery Center in Provo, Utah

At Ardú Recovery Center, we understand the value of group therapy in helping our patients on their journey to a better future. We tailor our program to fit your specific needs, so you’ll have a greater chance of achieving long-term success. We serve clients throughout all of Utah, as well as nearby communities like Orem, Springville, Lehi, and Salt Lake City. If you or someone you love suffers from addiction, contact Ardú Recovery Center for admission information. Begin your journey towards recovery today.
Brandon Okey

Brandon Okey is the co-founder of Ardu Recovery Center and is dedicated to empowering people on their journey to sobriety.