Why Group Therapy Works

Many people struggling with addiction try all sorts of ways to beat or control it before admitting that they need help from a rehab clinic. Some visit their doctors and either deliberately minimise their drinking or using (that is most of us) or genuinely do not realise how much we are drinking or using. That can lead to that good old remedy of being put on anti-depressants as the doctor clearly can see that we are not happy and is not told what the real problem is.

Then the anti-depressants don’t work – partly because chemically they cannot work effectively with the combination of the alcohol or drugs we are taking – or because actually it is not a simple case of depression we are suffering from. We are actually more depressed because of our drinking or using (alcohol and some drugs are depressants in themselves) and in addition we have not actually addressed the problems within us – which may be part of the reason why we turned to alcohol or drugs. So the vicious circle continues.

Not Being Truthful

Some of us turn to weekly counselling in order to beat our habit and address our issues. However, again this rarely works because we are not totally truthful with our counsellor . Also even if we are, we are with him or her for an hour a week.  With ourselves for the rest of the week. We are in the same environment with the same temptations and for most of us that means that we drink or use throughout the rest of the week in pretty much the same pattern as before.

So eventually we reach the end of the road and go into rehab with the expectation that we will get plenty of one to one counselling. Many people coming into rehab say that they cannot do group therapy, they will find it uncomfortable to open up in a group. But they will engage with one to one counselling. My advice to them is ‘wait and see’. Go and sit in your first group and observe and get to know your fellow peers. Then as and when you feel like it, do not be afraid to join in.

Power Of Group Thearpy

Almost without exception, patients in rehab are amazed at the power of group therapy. Once they become comfortable with the people in the group they recognise how much sharing everything that has troubled them is a way of ‘releasing their monsters’ . By sharing them we let them go and release the power they have over us. We let them out of the darkness into the light and they fade away.

Prior to sharing our feelings with our group, many of us have become emotionally isolated and have put up a barrier around ourselves because of what we have been up to. By risking showing our feelings and opening up honestly we can experience the unconditional love of the group who recognises themselves in us and one another. They can offer valuable and insightful opinions based on their own experiences – and we can do the same for them. Being honest with a group of people like ourselves  gives us strength and freedom.

 The Haynes Clinic is a drug and alcohol rehab clinic offering detox and treatment for those suffering from addiction to alcohol, drugs and prescription medication. Call 01462 851414 for confidential help and advice.