What Are Group Counselling Therapies?
Group Counselling Therapies or Group Therapy for short, is a tried and tested method of delivering effective programmes of ‘change’ for those undergoing substance abuse treatment.
Group therapy sessions are created to cater for a small group of people working together to achieve the same goal. The group therapy usually is led by a facilitator who is trained on group dynamics and has a sound knowledge on the subject matter being discussed.
This is a form of group psychotherapy and it provides results to the group members. We offer this at Abbeycare among other treatment options, to assist our residents on their path to long term recovery from alcohol and drugs.
Group Therapy Sessions: How Do They Work?
Group therapy sessions are designed to work with psychological or emotional disorders in a small group setting. This form of therapy is effective when considering the effects of alcohol or drugs on a group of like-minded people.
A Few Facts About Group Therapy;
It should have group sizes of between 3 and 15 participants
It only takes 3 group members to create a group therapy. If the group has more than 15 people, then the distribution of time would be ineffective.
It should be set up within a circle
Circles create equality in the group therapy session as each person can see one another, sit shoulder to shoulder and don’t have the opportunity to hide from the facilitator.
Circles have been a chosen means of Group Therapy for decades and can create a powerful, effective and transformative dynamic within the members of the group.
The group therapy should have a Group Facilitator
A Group Facilitator is the lead professional in therapy groups. The facilitator may ask another member of staff to attend if the group is on the larger side of 2 – 15 to take notes or support them in specific matters of the group therapy.
The Group Facilitator should have specialist knowledge on the roots and symptoms of addiction and how to discuss these in a specific manner. The facilitator at Abbeycare usually uses different types of therapy within the group setting.
The group therapy session should last between 45 and 60 minutes
The duration of the therapy sessions is between 45 and 60 minutes. This timescale has been set to ensure the members of the group retain information and stay involved in the process. Any group therapy longer than 60 minutes, will make attending group therapy boring, and the group members may ‘switch off.'
If the group has to be continued the members of the group will be given comfort breaks in between to ensure they can rest, go to the bathroom or go outside for fresh air or a cigarette.
The individual therapy participants must have a common goal.
Participants within Abbeycare’s group setting have a common goal. The shared goal is to stop the use of alcohol and/or drugs and stay stopped for the long term.
With this in mind the group therapy offers a common ‘bond’ between the residents who may have come from hostile home environments. A mental health professional should also help with primary family group therapy for the other members of their families.
Strewn with arguments or "world war," or other problems associated to alcohol and drugs such as: homelessness, arrests, financial issues and childcare. The socializing techniques ensure that the support groups and individual therapy participants should share common experiences.
Abbeycare group therapies create a safe space in which it is okay not to be okay, the rest of the therapy group members understand and are non-judgement or confrontational.
Types Of Counselling Therapies
Group Psychotherapy Groups
Group Psychotherapy is used for the treatment of mental health or emotional disorders. It could be argued that any group treatment setting falls under the category of psychodynamic as human beings are thinking, feeling and emotive.
In psychological therapy, the facilitator will use empathy to discover and uncover thinking patterns, belief systems and negative behaviours. The word empathy is used here as the groups are more about gentle probing and are not designed to be confrontational.
Understanding the mental health conditions of the members makes the therapeutic process easier.
At Abbeycare, we have one or more psychologists in the group dynamic, which provides significant improvements in their lives.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT Groups
Cognitive behavioral groups within Abbeycare, are designed to look at negative thinking, social anxiety, and behavior patterns surrounding the use of alcohol and drugs.
Thoughts that are negative in nature can be triggered by certain situations known as "activating events," such as; I saw my ex-partner which made me feel sad, angry, unlovable.
To deal with these negative feelings I bought and consumed alcohol – which is known as the negative behaviour.
The CBT group therapist will consider a more positive framework. I saw my ex-partner now I have considered the relationship truthfully I feel relieved, to celebrate I went for a walk and phoned a good friend? Note substance abuse has now been removed.
Its all about re-organizing your mental health. Our mental health services administration will ensure that you have the right group therapy activities and the right psychoeducational groups.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy MET Groups
This group environment is designed to illicit behavioural change in an ambivalent mind i.e. still undecided if sobriety is the life you want to lead?
MET uses techniques to self-motivate the group member to make positive lifestyle changes. Working under the theory, the decisions must be ‘made by’ and ‘come from’ self this style of group work requires active participation.
12 Step Groups
12 Step Group Work considers ‘abstinence’ from alcohol and drugs as a source of recovery. The philosophy that the use of alcohol and drugs can-not be controlled in safety is discussed in group analysis.
The small groups participants consider the path they have travelled due to their addiction and question how it would have been without alcohol and drugs. The group will also consider ‘who’ will help them stay in recovery now that they are in recovery.
The main objective is to encourage members and promote long term ‘abstinence’ from problematic alcohol and drug use.
At Abbeycare, our therapy offices provide one or more therapists at the medical centers to ensure that your personal growth and interpersonal relationships are handled by a qualified therapist.
Most groups meet several times a week, in order to understand each one's mental health condition. This is a good experience, where honest communication, is encouraged.
Interpersonal skills are developed through an open group where everyone is encouraged to speak or have an international journal. As a result any depressive symptoms are immediately identified and dealt with during individual psychotherapy.
Existential factors enable the members in the group experience understand that they are responsible for their own happiness. Larger groups may sound like a great idea, but when starting out, open groups made up of a few people can be extremely beneficial.
According to peer reviewed studies, clinical psychology, helps with interpersonal learning. In fact. it was in America that group therapy was first used. After the Second World War, several psychotherapists including Irvin Yalom developed the concept further. In terms of modern group. (1)
Understanding Group Therapy Dynamics
In each group, there should be an eclectic mix of people from different walks of life and ages. This is psychoeducational group therapy that helps with social skills.
Not everybody in the therapy group will present with similar dependencies. This creates interesting, dynamic and thought-provoking discussions. This must never be a closed group.
The Group Members may present with different dependencies:
- Crack cocaine
- Prescription Medications
- Treating combat fatigue
Group Roles -
In Group Dynamics at our community centers, everyone has different Group Roles, and may be adapted just as in everyday life. This forms interesting dynamics to the group and the therapist is trained to spot them.
A trained therapist will work with these group roles to bring cohesion to the group. Here are some of the Group Roles:
- The Fixer
- The Harmoniser
- The Clown
- The Antagoniser
- The monopoliser
The Fixer in the group therapy takes responsibility for anyone who is struggling in the group or any uncomfortable silences and tries to fix them. There are pro’s and con’s for this role as sometimes the areas do not require to be fixed by themselves or other members.
The Harmoniser in the group therapy tries to stop any animosity or tension from surfacing in the group. Again, this may be unhelpful as animosity is a part of real life and group members are required to develop their own techniques for dealing with this.
The Clown in the group therapy will try to bring humour to the group. This can be frustrating as a group therapy member because some areas are quite serious and do not require inappropriate humour. The clown can also derail an important conversation.
The Antagoniser in group therapy is generally not happy about being in the group or has an issue outside the group therapy which they carry with them. Generally angry and confrontational these techniques are once again used as a distraction from the important issues.
The Monopoliser takes up most of the sharing time within the group therapy. They will interject conversations with an opinion or identification with the speaker. This can be unhelpful when trying to build a rapport with a group member which is disrupted by a monopoliser.
So, what is the best role to adapt in a Group therapy session? The answer is there is no definitive role although the following will help:
- Being open-minded
- Being considerate with time
- Being compassionate
- Being honest
- Being respectful of others views
- Being an active Listener
Group Counselling Therapy and Group Cohesion
Tuckman (1965) created an illustrative view on groups and the processes a group goes through when coming together. (2)
The processes are known as Forming, Storming, Norming/Performing and Adjourning. Work in the following ways:
Forming – the group therapy session is new, and all the roles people adapt are on display. During this time the group members and the facilitator work to bring everybody together and ‘on the same page.’ Members become aware of the roles they are playing and try to work in line with the group rules.
Storming – this is the stage in group therapy where the participants start to take risks to identify if they can trust the other group members. This stage can bring about disagreements. In this stage individuals can make a bid for supremacy. The facilitator and participants work to bring harmony.
Norming/Performing – the group therapy members now know each other, and initial disagreements have been rectified. This is where effective change can be accomplished when the group begins to mold together and work to reach mutual goals.
Adjourning – this is the end of the group therapy journey together. The group celebrates the achievements they have secured and prepares to move on and leave rehab.
Frequently Asked Questions
At Abbeycare Group Counselling Therapy is the backbone of the therapeutic programme on offer. Life changes and the experiences had previously may differ from the present.
Abbeycare asks participants to keep an open mind as they may be surprised at how much they enjoy Group Therapy and the many benefits it has to offer.
At time of assessment the assessor will ask if you have any trouble with writing etc. If there is writing included in any of the programme a member of staff will support you.
Abbeycare are aware that people present in various stages and hope this does not deter anybody from applying to attend.
Clients are encouraged to talk in group therapy in order to get the best results from their time at rehab. However, if you struggle to talk you will be supported in this area by all the members of the team.
The family therapy groups are more relaxed and engaging. They are also in a group setting and the specialist facilitator will ensure group members feel safe and supported.
Group Counselling Therapy at Abbeycare is delivered by specialist recovery workers versed in the art of group facilitation. Abbeycare only uses the transformative and researched models of treatment designed to deliver the best results for their residents.
Group Therapy has been proven to be an enjoyable component of rehab as well as beneficial in helping to change negative thinking and behaviour patterns. In a safe, constructive and confidential manner.
Those attending Group Therapy have went on to live drug and alcohol-free lives. Armed with a battery of tools designed for living this new life.
If you visualise yourself free from alcohol and drugs living a happy and productive life?
And wish to learn more about our Short-term residential treatment programme call our free 24/7 Helpline on 01603 513 091 or fill out the form below to speak to a trained addiction counsellor.