group therapy

Individuals who decide to seek help for their substance use disorder often attend group therapy. If you enter a 30-day to a one-year inpatient program, you’ll attend sessions with others.

Inpatient centers also schedule individual counseling sessions, educational classes, and physical activity time.

For sessions with others, there are several things to keep in mind. For example, a few therapy types exist such as:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Skill development
  • Educational
  • Support and interpersonal

Each has a purpose, and each session requires a few things from the participants.

It’s normal to wonder what’s the point of attending group sessions?

Group therapy provides a:

  • Support system
  • Space to talk
  • Discipline

In addition, it’s a beneficial component of recovery. 

An individual can attend an inpatient program for 30 days. Then they graduate into outpatient therapy sessions. 

The outpatient sessions serve as ongoing support after detox and a 24-hour recovery-focused setting. It’s helpful for managing cravings and remaining sober.

Here we outline what to keep in mind when going to group therapy.

Your Participation Matters

When an individual enters inpatient rehabilitation, it’s often the last resort. The individual acknowledges that they require professional help. Therefore, they agree to follow the steps in the rehabilitation process set by the inpatient center. 

If you sign up for outpatient group sessions first, you face an added layer of responsibility. It’s up to you to attend every session, on time in between work, school, and your home responsibilities. 

Right off the bat, keep in mind that group therapy requires commitment in all settings.

Group therapy acts as a safe space for individuals seeking to overcome their disorders. Inpatient attendees often detox first, which is a draining process.

Nonetheless, to reap the most rewards from these sessions, your participation matters. 

The length of the program plays a role. In a 90-day or year-long program, there is more time to acclimate to the environment. If you attend a 30-day program, you should participate on day one.

Participating includes answering questions, offering experiences, and actively listening.

 Accept Feedback

No two people are exactly alike. Everyone processes and gives feedback differently. During recovery, it’s easy to take feedback as an attack. However, feedback in this environment helps the participants.

Group therapy takes place in small groups of three to four participants. In other programs, it goes up to 12 individuals.

Feedback helps participants understand the impact of their actions and similar experiences of others.

Therefore, keep in mind that you will receive feedback in this setting. You can also offer it to your peers.

Listen to Others

When you attend one-on-one counseling, you talk and the therapist listens to you. They offer feedback and suggestions but the session is all about you.

In sessions with others, active listening is part of the process. Listening helps you connect with the group. The sessions become productive and another way to heal.

Each inpatient program has its philosophy. Individuals who attend Recovery Center Hollywood will receive a walkthrough of the process. 

Apply New Skills

Group therapy is a great place to apply new skills learned in educational sessions and individual counseling.

For example, if you attend a program that places a focus on cognitive behavioral therapy, you will learn new coping skills such as:

  • Self-monitoring
  • Decision-making
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Restructuring

You might receive feedback that stings because it rings true during a session. Instead of becoming upset or hurt, you can apply self-monitoring and progressive muscle relaxation.

A peer offers feedback. They understand your situation. Most likely they experienced it too. 

Therapy sessions prepare participants to return to their environments. Something that triggers you in a group session might trigger you at school, home, or work too. Group prepares you to cope with daily life.

Remember that You’re Not Alone

In the middle of a substance use disorder, it’s easy to feel alone and misunderstood. Sessions with others help participants see that support is available. 

When you exit your program, the goal is to ensure you have the skills and ability to cope with life again. Some individuals return to the environment that triggered their disorder in the first place. 

The goal is to arm patients with the mechanisms that help them deal, and walk away from triggering situations.


Group therapy is a crucial component of substance use disorder. It allows the patient to learn from others. Plus, it’s an opportunity to practice the skills the patient picks up in their other sessions and classes. Enter it with an open mind, willingness to learn and participate.