Most professionally run groups for addiction treatments handle drug and alcohol addiction or codependency.
Thanks to awareness and online communication, more professionally run groups than ever have arisen that focus on other types of addiction. But many more options are needed.
Sharing personal issues and information in front of other people can feel uncomfortable, even scary. Yet, many people will benefit more from a group than from individual work. A professionally run group can cost $15 to $60 per hour. Groups ran by interns or through a nonprofit agency may cost less. Most meet weekly for one to two hours.
Professionally run groups have several important advantages over peer run groups, including:
- More consistent.
- Less likely to have interpersonal issues.
- Have a wider range of resources.
- Likely to provide members with emotional help to resolve issues and move on.
There are several types and styles of professional groups. Common ones are:
- Educational: Informational, held for a few weeks.
- Psycho-Educational/Coaching: Informational, goal setting, solution finding, emotional and practical support; either time-limited or ongoing.
- Therapeutic: The support and guidance to explore, gain insight, grow, and resolve deeper emotional issues; usually on-going time line.
Working with a Group
Those who feel guilty, shy, or vulnerable, or those who want to go deeper into their issues and grow quicker, may benefit from individual work before they take on group work, but they should remain aware that support and carefrontation of peers can be very effective in breaking down defenses (especially denial and minimization) and dealing with the many issues of recovery. In mainstream treatment, clients are challenged by carefrontation, but never attacked, emotionally broken down, or morally judged. Most groups meet at least once a week for between one and two hours.
Codependent recovery support groups offer the support to focus on yourself, not others. This isn’t easy for most co’s, who usually have strong defenses regarding their addiction to be needed by others. Expect to be carefronted until you’re truly able to focus on yourself.
Adult Child of Alcoholics or dysfunctional families (ACA/ACOA) groups are helpful for support and carefronting of childhood issues. Because of the deep emotional intensity of such old issues, personal psychotherapy can also be very beneficial. The individual work involved in psychotherapy gives you personal time, a safe environment, and the guidance of a therapist.
The style and cost for codependent recovery groups and ACA/ACOA groups are similar to other recovering support groups. They have their unique focus.