Outpatient and Group Therapy
With the recognition of addiction as a major health problem in this
country, demand has increased for effective treatments of substance
use disorders. Because of its effectiveness and economy of scale, group
therapy has gained popularity, and the group approach has come to be
regarded as a source of powerful curative forces that are not always
experienced by the client in individual therapy. One reason groups work
so well is that they engage therapeutic forces - like affiliation, support,
and peer confrontation - and these properties enable participants to bond
with a culture of recovery. Another advantage of group modalities is
their effectiveness in treating problems that accompany addiction, such
as depression, isolation, and shame.
Groups can support individual members in times of pain and trouble,
and they can help people grow in ways that are healthy and creative.
Formal therapy groups can be a compelling source of persuasion,
stabilization, and support. In the hands of a skilled, well-trained group
leader, the potential healing powers inherent in a group can be harnessed
and directed to foster healthy attachments, provide positive peer
reinforcement, act as a forum for self-expression, and teach new social
skills. In short, group therapy can provide a wide range of therapeutic
services, comparable in efficacy to those delivered in individual therapy.
Group therapy and addiction treatment are natural allies. One reason is
that people who abuse substances are often more likely to stay sober and
committed to abstinence when treatment is provided in groups, apparently
because of rewarding and therapeutic benefits like affiliation, confrontation,
support, gratification, and identification. This capacity of
group therapy to bond patients to treatment is an important asset
because the greater the amount, quality, and duration of treatment, the
better the client's prognosis.
Source: (Leshner 1997; Project MATCH Research