People recovering from alcohol addiction have a variety of choices when they are choosing a counselor or other treatment method. Quite understandably, the road to recovery can be a very personal and emotional experience. The benefits of self help groups can be a positive influence in the quest for the appropriate treatment. Although the thought of sharing with one therapist or counselor might be a little less intimidating initially and a group setting may feel more daunting than the one-on-one atmosphere with a counselor, self-help groups provide the flexibility to fully discuss and understand their disease. It is important to remember that being able to share information with a group is an important step in the recovery process.
Group therapy for alcohol abuse has long been a proven, effective method, and it should definitely be considered as a form of treatment. For example, for over 70 years, Alcoholics Anonymous® has helped people “share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.” Additionally, group therapy provides a common understanding and motivational opportunities.
Peer Support and Understanding in Group Therapy
Remember that the “group” in group therapy means that every other person there is going through the same battle. A group setting will reiterate the fact that although there may be a leader or moderator, everyone in the group shares the same common goal: to overcome alcohol addiction. Having the opportunity to share experiences with others can also provide a different perspective in handling the same addiction, which can be quite beneficial in the long run. When someone else shares a common issue and the details of their approach to overcoming it, another group member would be able to adjust their view of their own personal issue and quite possibly try out a new way of handling it, as well as sharing their results with others.
Motivation and Leadership in Group Therapy
A group therapy setting not only allows sharing with others, but it also means that group members will be able to motivate and cheer each other on. If a group member has a specific goal he/she wishes to attain, the group setting will enable others to provide positive feedback and ongoing support. This type of dynamic is very different from a one-on-one session, and it can be quite powerful. Because most groups have leaders or moderators, participation in group therapy for many, can become the first time in which they were allowed to assume a leadership position. This leadership position may include facilitating a group round table or becoming a mentor to another group member who may be having an issue that the mentor has previously overcome.
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