by Webconsuls

The History of Group Therapy

The origins of group therapy can be traced back to the early 1900’s as a therapeutic intervention treating chronic illnesses like Tuberculosis. It was found helpful for these patients in gaining emotional support and expressing their common feelings. Later, physician and psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion following WWII found while working with traumatized soldiers, the importance and benefits of groups and sharing similar experiences. Around the same time, Kurt Lewin PhD. Established the Research Center for Group Dynamics. Lewin’s work set the fundamental ideas of today’s behavioral group therapy, which are: groups come into being in a psychological sense ‘not because their members necessarily are similar to one another (although they may be); rather, a group exists when people in it realize their fate depends on the fate of the group as a whole. If the group’s task is such that members of the group are dependent on each other for achievement, then a powerful dynamic is created.

Finally, Irvin Yalom MD professor of psychiatry at Stanford University’s School of Medicine went on to write what is considered the “Bible” of Group Therapy, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. Yalom identified eleven specific factors that lead to significant changes and shifts in group members. These healing change factors are: Instillation of hope, Universality, Imparting Information, Altruism, Corrective Recapitulation, Socializing Techniques, Imitative Behavior, Interpersonal Learning, Group Cohesiveness, Catharsis and Existential Factors.

Evidence-Based Treatment

South Miami Recovery utilizes proven “best practices” employing substance abuse group therapy sessions which are facilitated by a professional therapist. A trained therapist directs the group and helps each participant to discover hidden aspects of themselves. The benefit of participating in substance abuse group therapy is that you realize you are not alone – there are other people in similar situations, even though the circumstances which led them there may differ. Relating to others with similar issues and experiences provides new insight into self-defeating behaviors. This is the benefit of substance abuse group therapy. Everybody shares their own experience, and you can gain a lot of insight from hearing what others have been through.

What to Expect in Our Sessions

At South Miami Recovery, our therapists use a blend of proven approaches to facilitate each group session. Groups may take many forms, including:

  • Skills-Based Groups: teach the life skills necessary to live in sobriety.
  • Educational Groups: provide helpful information about the disease of addiction.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Groups: use therapeutic methods to change patterns of thinking which lead to addiction.
  • Support Groups: create a setting in which to hear others' stories and share your own.
  • Process Groups: enable clients to work through past situations and rethink their reactions.

Benefits of Group Therapy

Even if you don’t necessarily agree or get along with everyone in your substance abuse group therapy sessions, there are valuable lessons to be learned from them which will play a large part in your recovery. The people you connect with during substance abuse group therapy can provide you with a new social circle – one comprised of other people who are in treatment. You can provide each other with the support and friendship necessary during treatment, and those relationships may last long after.

Do you need help for addiction? Support is just one phone call away.