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The Power of Group Therapy for Addiction

Vanessa Reda, LMFT Primary Therapist, Center for Change If you walk into Center for Change you can usually find a group running. At Center for Change we offer an eclectic mix of psycho educational, experiential and process groups, such as: Life Skills, Meditation, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Exploring Substance Abuse, and Family Systems. Each group is different in nature and offers a unique experience for growth and change. Group Therapy is beneficial as it helps clients to increase self-awareness and increase social comfort. It also provides support, educates, and helps clients to develop skills that they can put to use in their everyday lives. One of the many things that I enjoy about facilitating Group Therapy is that it offers a venue for our clients to relate to one another. It helps clients to realize that they are not the only one with a particular feeling or facing a certain struggle. At times during individual work, a client can feel as if he is “all alone” with what he is experiencing, which can feel isolating. However, during Group Therapy the client hears from his peers that they too have gone through something similar or have felt the same way. Clients learn that they are not as alone or unique with their issues or their struggle with substance abuse, as well as the many emotions that they are now feeling. It can be encouraging to hear that other people have similar difficulties and can grow through them. As a group facilitator, my goal is to provide a safe environment for the group to share. This is of utmost importance. Group Therapy is based on the premise of confidentiality, so that what is said in the group, stays in the group and the individuals in the group are asked to honor that. Once trust is established I encourage the group members to take a positive risk to self disclose at their own comfort level and provide feedback to one another. Interaction between group members is highly encouraged. In Group Therapy the work occurs not only with the individual who is processing “an issue”, but by the group at large who are impacted by similar themes or situations in their own lives. Through this process clients are able to develop empathy and see how others view them. It also provides an opportunity for clients to learn more about how they interact with others, as well as handle conflict. At the Center for Change it is truly wonderful to watch this process unfold and witness how supportive the group members are to one another.