Group therapy is an important part of substance abuse recovery. Every session is unique, but there are certain activities that you can expect before your first substance abuse group therapy activities. This review discusses some of the more common therapy activities a counselor may implement in group sessions.
7 Effective Substance Abuse Group Therapy Activities
Every substance abuse group therapy session is different and is based on the needs of the group as a whole. Some universal exercises you can expect include positive affirmations, discussion of triggers and coping mechanisms, stream of consciousness exercises, role-playing activities, music therapy and learning the neuroscience behind addiction.
Daily Meditation And Positive Affirmations
New group members may feel nervous being in a group setting for the first time, especially when it comes to discussing their personal experiences with substance abuse. Subsequently, many substance abuse group therapy activities counselors start each session with meditation. This offers an opportunity for every member to collect themselves and calm down any anxieties they may have. Positive self-affirmations may also be a part of group therapy; the counselor may have each group member close their eyes and take slow deep breaths while the counselor reads positive affirmations.
Discuss Triggers And Coping Strategies
One of the main goals of substance abuse treatment is to identify triggers and coping strategies. Many individuals who struggle with substance abuse also deal with feelings of loneliness. Group therapy offers a safe setting to discuss triggers that may lead to substance use. In these group formats, group members often see that they are not alone and that others are battling similar substance abuse issues. The discussion of coping strategies allows group members to learn from others in the group as they formulate their own relapse prevention plan.
Stream Of Consciousness Exercise
A stream of consciousness exercise involves having each group member journal whatever thoughts are in their head. Even if all the member writes is “I don’t know what to write,” the important part of this exercise is for them to get the pen to paper. As they write their thoughts, they can begin to open up in ways that they may otherwise not have verbally. Group members are then asked to share what they have written up to the point that they are comfortable sharing.
A Discussion About Nutrition And Fitness
Nutrition and an active lifestyle play an important role in overall health and are particularly important for individuals who are recovering from substance abuse or are working to keep their sobriety after rehab. Many individuals are not aware of the value of or what comprises a healthy diet. Having a discussion about nutrition and fitness helps to bring an understanding as to why it is important, what food choices and activities can help achieve and maintain sobriety. The discussions may also include setting attainable nutrition and fitness goals, as well as the steps to accomplish those goals.
Role-Playing (Psychodrama) Exercises
Role-playing exercises, which are sometimes called psychodramas due to their similarities with drama-style plays, allow the group members to act out scenes they may experience throughout their daily life. This allows them to process and learn how to respond to certain triggers and aspects of life which will help them improve their success for overall well-being and ability to remain sober.
Music Therapy Activities
Not only is it possible for group members to learn how to act in substance abuse group therapy activities, but they also learn an instrument as well. Music therapy is often involved with substance abuse group exercises. The counselor may have the group take turns playing a Tibetan singing bowl or drum. Writing (and possibly singing) songs could be an exercise in group therapy as well.
Learn And Discuss The Neuroscience Of Addiction
When patients understand the science behind addiction, it can then help them to understand why they may struggle. This demonstrates that addiction is not their fault entirely and that there are neurological reasons for substance abuse as well. This education provides coping mechanisms from a scientific and psychological perspective.
Family Therapy Vs. Peer Counseling Groups
It is important to highlight the distinction between family therapy and peer counseling groups. The aforementioned exercises are typically used in peer counseling groups, although some of the activities overlap into family therapy as well; both are useful during substance abuse rehabilitation. The counselors are able to tailor each session depending on the type of substance abuse group therapy activities and the preference of the patient. Family therapy and peer counseling are typically combined with individual counseling, detoxification treatment and more.
Discuss Substance Abuse Group Therapy Activities With Aquila Recovery Clinic
Substance abuse is not something you or your loved one has to fight alone. Here at Aquila Recovery Clinic, we help individuals who are struggling with alcohol or drug abuse to gain their sobriety and learn to live a happy and productive life. To learn more about our recovery program, contact us today.