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Group therapy occurs when there is at least one professionally trained therapist who uses interventions based on psychological principles treating more than one individual at the same time. Groups offer a number of advantages, including the development of social support, the ability to learn from others, the ability to share information, and a feeling of togetherness such that one does not feel alone in their own issues with their substance use disorder. Most clients benefit from using both group and individual therapy.
There are literally thousands of different activities that can occur in groups, and it would require several volumes of books to list them all. This article will list some of the more common types of activities that occur in group therapy. It is important to understand that group therapy can only be delivered by a licensed, trained, professional therapist.
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Even though the following list presents the activities as forms of discussion, almost any of the activities listed above can be implemented via discussion, role-playing, or a skill-building technique.
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This is by no means a complete list of all activities that can occur in groups for substance use disorders. Therapists who run these groups are very resourceful and in order to keep the process relatively fresh introduce different activities continually.
In addition, it is always important for group members to discuss any current issues and get advice and support from other members of the group. Often, discussing individual concerns or experiences and the need for advice or support occurs early in the group session and then other activities are addressed, depending on the particular personal issues discussed or on the goals of the therapist and members of the group. As individuals continue in group therapy activities, they begin to develop very strong bonds with one another. The implementation of new and challenging activities for group members helps to strengthen those bonds.
A number of these activities come from the books Group Exercises for Addiction Counseling and Group Therapy for Substance Abuse: A Stages Of Change Manual.
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