Coping mechanisms are an essential component of recovery. These practices help you manage the stress factors that arise within your environment. Managing these stress factors well can help you prevent relapse. They can also improve your ability to maintain positive relationships because they help you regulate your emotions around others.

How Group Therapy Teaches Coping Skills

Various coping skills are taught through our group therapy programs. In group therapy, you can gain knowledge about the skill discussed. More importantly, you can put it into practice with others.

It can be difficult to open up in group therapy settings and put these skills into practice. Fortunately, this gets easier over time. Group therapy at Dream Recovery focuses on relationship-building with others in your groups. This can help you feel comfortable letting your barriers down and gaining the most out of each session.

Common Coping Mechanisms

Below are some of the common coping skills that may be addressed in group therapy. Reviewing these can help you prepare for group sessions.

1. Notice Your Self-Talk

Many of us have a little voice inside our heads that states what we truly feel. This voice does not always align with our outside reflection of emotions. For example, you may have a smile and friendly demeanor on the outside, but the voice in your head is talking about how annoyed you are. 

During recovery, many individuals find that they have negative thought patterns consistently running through their minds. Many of these thoughts are subconscious and can go unrecognized. While this may reflect how you are feeling internally, allowing these patterns to play out without noticing and correcting them only reinforces those emotions.

2. Alter Your Self-Talk

If you find that you are consistently buried in negative thoughts as you analyze your self-talk, consider altering your thought processes. Each time you notice a negative thought playing in your head, try to stop it immediately.

Next, try to change that thought by reminding it of positive factors or outlooks on the situation. Even though the negative thought may have some truth to them, there are always positive factors as well. Too often, the positive way of looking at a situation is overlooked.

For example, you may have the thought that you will never reach your goals in recovery and cannot succeed. Instead, rephrase this idea. You may not have the ability to reach your goal now, but you will work to achieve them. You will utilize your recourses to achieve your goal. Moreover, you will enjoy the process of improving and getting closer to your goal.

Continuing to do this with your thought patterns will slowly help your positive thoughts to occur more naturally.

3. Communicate

Communication is another greatly important skill that will likely be addressed at some point in your group therapy sessions. Good communication skills can be practiced in group therapy, as it is important to have good communication skills with your peers in recovery.

There are many aspects involved in healthy communication. These skills can be applied throughout all areas of your life. Of course, many communication skills can be used for areas outside of coping. However, having these skills can help you to effectively communicate your problems and emotions with others. 

When you experience moments of high stress, you may be tempted to yell or act out aggressively toward others. Utilizing your communication as a coping skill, you can calmly admit your emotions without raising your levels of anger.

Building your communication skills can help you discuss your deeply rooted emotions with your treatment team. This can help them discover the best resources for you to overcome your current stressors. Failure to communicate can lead you to feel isolated when overcoming these obstacles.

4. Be Mindful

Not only is mindfulness beneficial for your own coping through recovery, but it can also be useful in group therapy. When others are expressing their concerns, it is important to be mindful of their journey and stressors that may differ from your own. Mindfulness can also be used as a coping mechanism when you are experiencing high emotions in group therapy or external settings.

Utilize mindfulness practices to help ground yourself and reset your emotions. Mindfulness helps you to focus on the here and now, rather than stressing about past mistakes or the responsibilities ahead of you. Incorporating mindfulness into your recovery can assist you in focusing on the positives and acknowledging where you are currently at in the recovery process. This is a great coping mechanism to help you become more self-aware and grounded through your journey.

5. Adjust Your Expectations

You may have a predetermined set of expectations as you dive into a group therapy session. When your expectations are not met, you may feel upset or resentful to participate.

Adjusting your expectations can help avoid these feelings of resentment. When you begin to feel upset, reanalyze your current expectations and adjust them to fit your needs realistically. This does not mean that you need to lower your expectations necessarily, but adjust them to a state that you can cope with more easily.

Talk with others within your group to discuss each other’s expectations. Setting expectations for the session beforehand can alleviate this resentment from everyone involved in group therapy. This skill can be applied to other areas of your life as well, ensuring you maintain a realistic viewpoint of the engagements ahead of you.

Applying Your Coping Mechanisms

Practicing coping mechanisms in group therapy is an important first step. However, the coping mechanisms learned in group therapy also need to be practiced in your outside life.

It is essential to practice these skills outside of group therapy to becomalso be applied to other areas of your life mechanisms you learn are intended to help in life outside of therapy. The more you can practice your coping skills, the more natural they will feel when you need to use them.

Utilizing the coping mechanisms you have gained through recovery and group therapy sessions is greatly important to help you achieve long-term success in your recovery journey. Reviewing some of the commonly taught and practices coping mechanisms in group therapy can help you prepare for these sessions. Noticing your self-talk, altering self-talk, effectively communicating, being mindful, and adjusting your expectations as needed are all coping skills utilized in this setting. Putting these into practice in other areas of your life can set you up for all-around success in your recovery. To learn more about these coping skills and the benefits involved with each of them, reach out to Dream Recovery today at (657) 216-7218.

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