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Is It Possible For Group Therapy Dynamics to Not Work?

Group therapy is an integral part of addiction recovery because it provides clients with a safe, structured environment to practice interpersonal skills, develop new perspectives, and establish relationships that could be added to their social support network. In group therapy, therapists often guide clients to engage in activities and/or discussions as well as educational components to learn more about addiction, its effects, recovery, and more. If you’re currently in a treatment program and have participated in group therapy, it is possible for you to experience a group dynamic that simply does mesh – after all, each person has their own unique attitudes, values, and beliefs, and it can be hard to predict the interaction between various members a particular group.

A 2016 study published in the journal Psychotherapy takes a good look at the nuances of group therapy and types of situations that can occur:

  • One particular member of the group is disruptive amongst a group of more reserved, newly-established group members
  • One particular member of the group is withdrawn and inhibited, despite being in a lively, energetic group
  • An entire group experiences low commonality and is unable to establish rapport

Consider the situation you’re currently in – do any of these examples fit? As effective as group therapy has been shown to be, the unfortunate reality is that sometimes groups just do not work well together. Sometimes it’s a matter of personality, other times it’s a matter of commonality, and yet other times there are reasons beyond control that have an impact on the group dynamic. If this is what you’re experiencing, what should you do?

If you feel that the group dynamic is off, bring up your concerns to group therapy leader. Provide them with specific examples, and discuss with them potential ways that could improve the group dynamic. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of reconvening and trying a different approach with a particular group – other times, a person may need to be moved to a different group (especially if hostility is involved). No matter the case, it’s important that you voice your concerns to your healthcare team. After all, you want to ensure that you’re receiving the best care possible – speaking up in a respectful manner increases your chances of obtaining this.

If you or someone you know has struggled immensely with trauma, help is available. Call The Guest House Ocala today for information on our residential treatment programs for trauma, addiction, and related mental health issues. 1-855-483-7800