Group Therapy During Addiction Treatment

Group therapy is an important component of addiction treatment. People who enter rehab can generally expect to participate in different forms of group therapy as a part of their comprehensive addiction treatment plan.1

Learning more about group therapy for addiction can help you or a loved one know what to expect during this component of rehab. Keep reading to learn more about group therapy, how it works, and what group therapy for substance misuse involves at Recovery First.

What Is Group Therapy?

Group therapy for addiction is a way of providing different forms of therapy to a group of people who are in treatment or recovering from substance use disorders (SUDs) or co-occurring disorders (like depression or anxiety).1,2

It is the most widely used treatment modality in substance misuse rehab.2 In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that 93% of substance use treatment facilities offer group therapy.1

Group therapy addiction treatment is commonly based on the following 5 group models:6

  • Psychoeducational groups focus on educating individuals about addiction and recovery.
  • Skills development groups enable participants to grow the skills they need to attain and sustain abstinence; these include improved coping skills or anger management.
  • Cognitive behavioral groups work to change thoughts and actions that contribute to substance use.
  • Support groups provide participants with support from others as well as a place to share information that can help others maintain their recovery.
  • Interpersonal process groups explore and uncover the major developmental issues that interfere with a person’s recovery or contribute to their substance use.

Groups are kept small, and the participants meet on a regular basis, along with 1-2 therapists who provide direction, education, and support.1

The group can be closed, meaning it starts on a specific date and new members cannot join after this date, or open, meaning members can join on an ongoing basis; most SUD treatment groups are closed groups, so you can expect to work with the same group of people through the course of therapy.1

Groups can have a variety of purposes and goals and involve different group activities for addiction treatment depending on the needs of group members.1

Additionally, some groups may be offered for specific populations, such as gender or age-specific groups, LGBTQ+ groups, or groups for Veterans.1

Types of Group Therapy

Therapists may use different types of therapy as well as associated group therapy exercises for substance misuse that can vary depending on what the group is designed to address. Some of the more common types of evidence-based therapy used in a group setting include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is designed to address and change specific symptoms, thoughts, and behaviors that contribute to or are associated with substance misuse. CBT can focus on different areas of recovery, such as relapse prevention group activities, coping skills, or interpersonal skills.3
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT is used to help people learn different ways to self-regulate, teaches skills to reduce arousal levels, and helps people cultivate mindfulness, emotional regulation, and interpersonal skills.3
  • Motivational interviewing (MI). MI focuses on addressing ambivalence to change and increasing motivation to initiate changes in relation to substance misuse and other unhealthy behaviors.4
  • Family therapy. Family or couples therapy can be appropriate for people who want to work on the ways that substance misuse has impacted their relationships with important people in their lives and improve their overall relationship skills. Different forms of family therapy can help promote necessary changes in relationships, allow people to improve parenting or other relational behaviors, and encourage healthier family functioning.5
  • Psychoeducation. These groups are designed to provide education about different topics related to SUDs, such as the consequences of addiction, the impact SUDs have on families, and how to improve the use of support systems.1
  • Process groups. Process groups focus on important developmental issues that can affect addiction and recovery; people share their struggles and challenges and provide encouragement to each other as they work on these concerns. Process groups can help people develop insight into and work through emotions and problems from the past that they may have avoided through the use of substances.6

Groups often involve a combination of some of the above strategies, which, for example, might include components of MI, group therapy activities for adults with substance misuse issues, psychoeducation, supportive approaches, and skills development.1

How Does Group Therapy Work?

At Recovery First, group therapy is led by our licensed clinicians who work with small groups (no more than 14 people). This encourages a great deal of participation and support. The structure of group therapy can vary based on the specific therapy as well as the needs of the group.

Group therapy sessions at Recovery First are conducted throughout the day and each session typically lasts 50 minutes to 1 hour or more, depending on the therapy type.

Therapists at our drug and alcohol rehab in Florida, maintain a caseload of 8-10 people. This allows them to better understand each person and address their individual needs.

Counselors and therapists employ evidence-based therapy techniques and:

  • Provide content, education, and guidance.
  • Ask questions.
  • Encourage discussion, interaction, and reflection.
  • Help people work on specific goals.

Our clinicians review the therapy schedule each week to ensure consistency, avoid redundancy, and facilitate a continuous growing process for our participants. Sessions may build on content covered in the previous session or introduce and cover new topics.

Group Therapy Activities

Recovery First offers a robust clinical program that includes a variety of group therapy activities. Some group therapy activities and topics discussed include the following:

Benefits of Group Therapy for Addiction Recovery

Group therapy for addiction may provide a number of benefits for people in recovery. These can include:6

  • Offering positive support and peer pressure to remain abstinent.
  • Reducing the sense of isolation that can accompany SUDs.
  • Allowing people to witness others’ recovery efforts.
  • Helping people to learn from others by hearing about the ways they cope with similar problems.
  • Providing new information about substance misuse and ways to deal with related issues, such as coping with triggers to use or learning how to self-identify as a person in recovery.
  • Providing helpful feedback from others, which can encourage self-reflection and change.
  • Providing support and nurturance that may have been lacking in a person’s family of origin or prior support network.
  • Offering the opportunity to work on and reinforce new skills.
  • Confronting a person’s substance use or other unhealthy behaviors.
  • Providing necessary structure and discipline to people with SUDs, who may come from chaotic backgrounds or environments.
  • Offering a sense of hope to the person, in the sense that if others can remain abstinent and stick with recovery, so can they.

Does Insurance Cover Group Therapy?

Yes, most insurance companies are required to provide at least some level of coverage for group therapy for addiction. Behavioral and mental health care, including addiction treatment, is considered to be an essential health benefit under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).7

This means that insurance companies must provide a similar level of coverage for substance use disorder and mental health treatment as they do for other medical and surgical types of care.7

However, insurance coverage for rehab can vary widely depending on your provider and your plan. You can instantly check your insurance coverage for rehab with our .

Group Therapy & Addiction Treatment in Florida

If you or a loved one are dealing with substance misuse, it’s important to know that treatment, which can include group therapy, can provide many benefits, including reducing substance use, improving abstinence, and improving psychological symptoms and associated distress.1

Recovery First, our alcohol and drug rehab near Miami, Florida, offers multiple levels of addiction treatment that include group therapy for addiction and different forms of evidence-based treatment.

If you’re interested in regaining control of your life, you can start treatment today. Please call to speak with our caring admissions navigators.

Our team can provide more information about your rehab options, walk you through the admissions process, and answer any questions you may have about how to pay for rehab.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

The Price of Not Getting Help
When contemplating the costs of addiction treatment for yourself, child, or loved one, consider the costs, or consequences, of “things as they are now.” What would happen if the substance abuse or addiction continued? Rehab doesn't have to be expensive. We accept a variety of health insurance plans, VA benefits and more.