As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Many therapeutic settings use group therapy to capitalize on the social reinforcement offered by peer discussion and to help promote drug-free lifestyles.” This treatment is also part of many methadone maintenance programs, allowing recovering opioid addicts the chance to meet others in their same situation and to discuss their journey through recovery.
Why is Group Therapy Necessary in Methadone Maintenance?
Counseling should always be a part of any well-rounded addiction treatment program, especially because medication, while helpful, does not allow individuals to consider the changes they need to make in their behavior and doesn’t push them to make those changes. Methadone can minimize withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and allow a person to live their life without the severe consequences of addiction during recovery, but behavioral therapies can “address a patient’s motivation to change, provide incentives for abstinence, build skills to resist drug use, replace drug-using activities with constructive and rewarding activities, improve problem-solving skills, and facilitate better interpersonal relationships” (NIDA).
While at least one type of behavioral therapy must be available to individuals in addiction treatment, group therapy can be especially helpful because:
- It provides peer support to individuals who may not have a strong support system at home.
- It reinforces the routine of coming to the methadone maintenance center and discussing the issue of recovery.
- It obliges participants to talk to other individuals, as sometimes addiction can go hand-in-hand with social issues, and helps them learn to become more comfortable with social situations.
- It asks group members to become active participants in one another’s treatment, strengthening the recoveries of all involved.
What Types of Group Therapy are Available at Methadone Maintenance Clinics?
Different types of group therapy sessions may be available, depending on the individual patients and their needs. Many maintenance centers provide space for 12-step groups like Narcotics Anonymous to meet, which can be highly beneficial to an opioid addict’s recovery, as they will be able to make friends and get to know others in their community. Some treatment centers provide group therapy sessions run by licensed counselors that seek to help multiple patients learn how to better communicate with one another and create a stronger foundation for recovery.
Is Group Therapy Right for Me?
“Research has shown that when group therapy either is offered in conjunction with individualized drug counseling or is formatted to reflect the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy or contingency management, positive outcomes are achieved.” It is likely that group therapy will be beneficial to your overall recovery, simply because it helps many individuals gain new perspectives on their addiction and become more involved in their community of recovering addicts.
Most maintenance programs do offer group therapy as a treatment option, and it is likely to be beneficial to your needs. If you would like to find maintenance centers in your area and learn more about the way in which group therapy fits into these programs, call 800-530-0431.