Counseling is a pillar in treating people for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). OUD is more than just a physical dependence on substances. There are various psychological and social factors that can be addressed through therapy that can advance recovery and reduce the risk of relapse. While many types of therapy can be useful during Medical Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs, Group Therapy creates a safe and non-judgmental environment that can be especially effective in creating positive long-term outcomes in several ways:
- Members of the group are able to interact with other people who are learning how to cope with their own illness, especially during the early stages of recovery.
- Sharing experiences with the group can boost confidence and self-esteem, plus reduce the stress and guilt group members might be feeling.
- Cognitive sessions can help group members recognize their own mindsets and the situations that dial up cravings. Patients learn how to avoid these triggers by enacting positive, healthy thoughts and feelings.
Similarly, Family Group Therapy is also available as a way to help family members learn how to cope with and advance the recovery of their loved one.
How effective is it?
People are fundamentally social creatures. People’s lives are shaped by group experiences. So, group therapy is really a natural process that has been proven to be highly effective. By joining a group, you are not only influenced by others, but you can learn about your own power and influence within the group. The effects of these sessions can extend to include outside relationships in every aspect of the patient’s life.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, limited face-to-face contact presented a challenge to keep providing group therapy services going. Fortunately, where face-to-face sessions might be unavailable or inconvenient, there are virtual intensive outpatient services available to help patients continue their recoveries.
Outpatient substance use and opioid addiction recovery treatment facilities such as Symetria Recovery offer Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) support groups where patients share their experiences and develop the skills and tools they need to manage their behaviors. All SMART support group meetings are led by trained counselors who are specifically certified in SMART facilitation, as well as in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) services. This is just one aspect available for treating the whole person with substance use disorder at Symetria.