Recovering from addiction requires dedication, courage, and commitment. Working through past trauma, distressing memories, and overwhelming emotions can be challenging. Luckily, the right kind of therapy can help you get through some of the most uncomfortable parts of the recovery process. Individual therapy can help you overcome automatic negative thoughts and negative self-beliefs. On the other hand, group therapy can be a great way to receive the support and help you need. Process groups are a specific type of group therapy that can be especially beneficial during addiction recovery.
What Are Process Groups?
Process groups are a form of group therapy that allows people in recovery to learn the skills needed to navigate social relationships and stress. By understanding these skills, individuals will likely have fewer urges to use mood-altering substances.
Most process groups consist of eight to ten people in recovery who meet regularly and a facilitator to help guide the sessions. Behavioral health experts call this form of group therapy a “process group” because a therapist oversees a long-term treatment progression where one session builds upon the other. These sessions generally focus on identity, desired life changes, and relationships with others. As the group members learn more about each other and receive guided feedback and comments from the facilitator and leader, the group learns from each other’s experiences. It forms a social community that has its own unique culture and identity.
Different Types of Process Groups
Even though all process groups focus on long-term, progressive treatment, several different types of process groups are used to treat addiction challenges. The most common types of process groups include:
- Psychoeducation. These process groups typically involve watching videos about addiction and talking about feelings the video elicits.
- Skill Development. In these groups, individuals learn skills that can help them avoid relapse, maintain sobriety, manage stress, regulate emotions, and develop and maintain healthy relationships. The recovery skills taught include communication, conflict resolution techniques, and anger management.
- Cognitive-behavior. These process groups focus on helping individuals understand their thoughts and how those thoughts result in certain behaviors.
- Supportive. As the name suggests, the primary focus of these groups is to help individuals feel supported as they work toward long-term recovery.
- Interpersonal therapy. These process groups focus on how individuals’ thoughts and behaviors can affect their relationships.
Even though many process groups focus on these topics individually, some groups may tackle multiple issues.
What Happens In A Process Group?
Not knowing what to expect from a process group can be unnerving, but the structure is similar to a group therapy session. In a process group, multiple individuals meet face-to-face and share their struggles and concerns in the presence of a trained group therapist. The first few sessions focus on establishing trust between the group members, allowing individuals to open up and share feelings.
During process groups, individuals:
- Express their emotions
- Discuss current problems and challenges they’re facing
When this happens, individuals listen to each other and agree or disagree with the thoughts and actions of the person leading the conversation. This process ensures that all members receive perspectives, support, encouragement, and feedback from multiple people in a safe and confidential environment. As individuals gain great self-awareness and receive consistent support, they leave the group feeling empowered.
Principles Of Process Group Therapy
There are several principles individuals can learn in process groups. Some of the most common include:
- Hope. Listening to others talk about experiencing and overcoming challenges can help individuals have hope for their situation. Additionally, listening to positive feedback and seeing positive changes take place in others’ lives can help encourage clients to stay motivated as they experience ups and downs in their recovery journey.
- Universality. Recovery can be isolating. Fortunately, being a part of a group of people who have experienced similar problems and understand what you are going through can help individuals realize that they are not alone and that suffering and challenges are universal experiences.
- Altruism. Altruism is the belief and practice of being genuinely concerned for the happiness and well-being of others. Process groups give members a chance to practice altruism by helping others in the group.
- Socialization. Working in a process group provides individuals with numerous opportunities to socialize, spend time with others, and practice healthy communication skills in a safe environment.
- Interpersonal learning. Interacting with a therapist and other group members and receiving feedback can help individuals learn more about themselves.
- Cohesiveness. Process group therapy sessions can also facilitate a shared sense of belonging and acceptance.
- Catharsis is a principle based on the healing powers of sharing information with others. Talking through feelings and experiences in a group setting can help ease the guilt, relieve shame, and decrease stress.
This set of principles provides many advantages to process group therapy.
How Does Process Group Therapy Help With Substance Recovery
Process group therapy can be a great treatment tool for individuals seeking a substance-free life. One of the primary benefits of process group therapy is talking about challenges in a supportive, judgment-free environment. Receiving feedback from multiple people can help individuals gain a new perspective and point of view, which can be encouraging, inspiring, and motivating. Other benefits of process group therapy include:
- Moving on from past traumas
- Giving and receiving support
- Realizing that you’re not alone
- Learning to relate to others in a healthy way
- Improved self-esteem and mood
Recovering from addiction can be challenging, but process group therapy can help individuals make positive life changes and move toward achieving their personal and recovery goals.
Supportive, Judgment-Free Treatment
Here at StoneRidge, we know that addiction recovery can be an isolating experience. That’s why we encourage individuals in recovery to attend group therapy. Process groups can help individuals overcome past traumas, build healthy relationships, and develop skills essential to long-term recovery.
If you or someone you know is in addiction recovery and may benefit from process groups. Our compassionate and judgment-free team is ready and willing to help.
Innovative, Evidence-Based Therapies
Because mental health and addiction concerns are so often interconnected, we utilize research-based approaches with evidence-based outcomes that promote overall healing and recovery.