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Group vs. Individual Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Patient Support
04.09.2021

Therapy, in many forms, is an integral part of Wellbridge’s treatment program – including psychotherapy (talk therapy). A large part of talk therapy is about creating safety for the patient to be heard through validation, reflective listening and understanding. This is important because it will create a space where trust and healing can begin.

The two main types of psychotherapy therapy are individual and group therapy, both of which are important parts of the addiction treatment process.

Group vs. Individual Therapy

Both group and individual therapies have the same end goal in mind but different approaches and objectives along the way. They both provide important benefits to the addiction recovery process.

What is Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy creates a safe environment with a person-centered approach. Through the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a therapist works with an individual to gain an understanding of what is at the core of their addiction by looking at:

  • Substance use triggers
  • Thoughts and feelings surrounding substance use
  • Core beliefs behind those thoughts and feelings

Individual therapy can benefit addiction treatment in multiple ways. Through individual therapy, a therapist and individual will work to understand the underlying triggers and identify high-risk situations in recovery, the leverage those learnings to plan for life post-treatment accordingly.

Additionally, many people who are struggling with addiction also struggle with feelings surrounding unworthiness. The very act of individual therapy confronts this struggle through personally dedicated time and care.

What is Group Therapy?

Group therapy provides identification, support and validation from peers. Individuals can expect psychoeducation surrounding sober support, 12-step recovery and coping skills. CBT and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) groups surrounding mindfulness, refusal skills, healthy communication, coping with urges, problem solving, emotional regulation and anger management are integrated into treatment to help individuals develop skills to support their recovery post-treatment.

Group therapy provides a unique opportunity for genuine connection with others during treatment, which is important due to the stigma surrounding addiction. Group therapy also allows for relationship building and identification with others by opening the doors to a social setting without the use of drugs or alcohol with discussion, support and perspective.

Group vs. Individual Therapy: The Differences

The most obvious difference between group vs. individual therapy is that individual therapy is done on a one-on-one basis (therapist and patient) while group therapy is done with one therapist and multiple patients. Group therapy is a social setting that offers connection with peers while sharing education and insight into issues leading to substance use, as well as strategies to prevent relapse. Individual therapy allows for more time and focus into meeting the patient’s specific needs through CBT tools such as functional analysis and a change plan.

Which Therapy is Right for You

At Wellbridge, we believe that including both types of psychotherapy in a recovery program gives each individual the best opportunity for success, as both individual and group therapies offer unique differences and benefits.

If you’re interested in learning more about addiction treatment at Wellbridge, contact us today.