When a friend or loved one is experiencing symptoms of mental illness or substance abuse, it is a difficult and scary thing for everyone involved. If you know someone who is suffering from either of these conditions, the best course of action is to seek help for them through therapeutic treatment. Finding the right kind of treatment is a vital step toward recovery.
Enter: Group Therapy
Depending on one’s symptoms and the severity of their condition, there are multiple treatment options to choose from. And while individual therapy can be very effective, group therapy can be equally, if not more, successful in treating patients. There are several reasons why it can be so powerful.
Group therapy’s strength lies in its members having the ability to interact and socialize with each other in a meaningful way. Groups provide a safe and non-judgmental space, allowing members to share their stories openly and receive honest, supportive feedback. This feedback is result of the audience being able to listen to a victim and deeply relate to them and their struggle with mental illness or substance abuse.
Overall, group therapy brings about a sense of normalization that may help members understand that they are not walking through this difficult stage of their life alone. Together, with the help of their group leader, members lift each other up in their individual fights while attacking the challenge as a whole.
The Role of Group Leaders
Group leaders (experienced therapists) are tasked with beginning the healing process and maintaining the confidential nature of interactions during sessions. More than being solely responsible for leading the group’s work, a leader can facilitate change by directly addressing positive interpersonal actions. These may include actions such as:
• The bravery one may show when sharing his or her struggle with depression
• When various members provide powerful emotional support to one another
• The strength shown for one to maintain two months of sobriety
Beyond providing positive reinforcement during therapy, a group leader navigates the path to treatment on a case-by-case basis.
For example, they may recognize that a member who has self-harmed is not fundamentally weak, but instead needs positive communication from others. Or they may respect one that does not seem motivated to receive treatment, and will encourage others to rally around them in their fight.
No matter what the scenario is, the group leader will piece together the steps necessary to ensure the treatment of each and every member.
Getting the Help Needed
Beginning a therapeutic journey can be a scary prospect. It is important to let the person in your life suffering from mental illness or substance abuse know that they are not alone and you will be there every step of the way.
Group therapy and its leader are there to remind a victim that they have something beautiful and important to offer to not only the group, but the world. They can provide the precious hope for the next chapters in their life after recovery. There are many ways to go about getting the getting help your friend or loved one needs. Group therapy can be an effective and life-changing process on the road to recovery.