Group therapy has a variety of different strategies to encourage people to open up to their peers through recovery. While process groups and support groups have many similarities, they have some significant differences. Learning about these differences can help you determine if either group therapy method can benefit you during your recovery.



Process Groups



Process groups are a form of group therapy based on the idea that individuals can benefit from opening up and verbally processing the struggles they are experiencing. Hearing the perspective of others going through similar problems can be comforting, motivating, and enlightening. These groups are often behaviorally oriented and focus on setting goals that positively impact recovery success.



How Do Process Groups Work?



Therapy through process groups often consists of regular meetings with individuals who are working through similar obstacles. Processing your recovery experience with individuals who have similar experiences can help you realize that you are not alone in this. As the group members are likely all learning similar skill sets to implement in recovery, you have the opportunity to discuss which options are currently working or not working for you. Hearing different perspectives on the skills you are acquiring can help you understand the potential benefits of each skill.



For this form of therapy to be effective, the individuals within the group need to establish some form of trust. By developing trust, members of a process group can feel comfortable opening up and be honest about their problems. A professional therapist is always present in the group to direct the conversation and keep things mediated as needed.



While the leader of the group may give feedback at times, most of the time, the focus is on listening to each other. Each individual will have an opportunity to discuss aspects of their recovery and spread awareness of the problems they are currently facing. As many forms of therapy require individuals to listen to advice and learn new skills, process groups can be a nice way to release your emotions and discuss issues that are relevant to you and your other group members.



Support Groups



Support groups are very similar to process groups. They also provide individuals with opportunities to share their stories, discuss their current issues, and receive support from their peers. While support groups can be focused on the addiction and sobriety aspects of recovery, they can also help people deal with the external factors that impact their mental health and recovery journeys.



Support groups can also be very beneficial for family members or friends who need support while their loved one deals with addiction or goes through recovery. They may desire to support their loved ones through recovery but not be sure how to do so. Attending a support group with other family members or friends of people who have addictions can allow them to process their emotions with individuals in similar situations.



How Do Support Groups Work?



If you are currently working through the recovery process, support groups can also be extremely beneficial for you. Like process groups, support groups allow you to express your concerns to the group and open up about your current struggles through recovery. The main way support groups differ from process groups is by having more structure than process groups. The support group leader will present new strategies, interventions, and discussion topics that they feel will best benefit the group they are working with.



Support groups often include an opportunity for members to connect with sponsors. Sponsors are individuals who have personally been through the process of recovery and have maintained sobriety. By partnering with an individual who understands your situation and has overcome many of the obstacles you are now facing, you can gain great insight and motivation. Finding the right sponsor for you may take time, but doing so can be very beneficial for your willingness and ability to recover.



In general, support groups have more lectures and presentations of new information. They still usually include opportunities for their members to open up and receive support from each other, but that is not typically the core focus of these groups.



Benefits of Group Therapy



Group therapy of any form can be extremely beneficial for people working through the recovery process. Having the opportunity to relate to other individuals who are in similar situations can drastically improve your view of yourself and increase your motivation for recovery. It can be easy for individuals to develop a negative self-image through recovery. Seeing that other people have worked through this and overcome these issues can help you regain the confidence you need to move forward.



Attending different group therapies can also increase your chances of developing a social support system and creating new friendships. As everyone in the group is working to overcome similar struggles, you can support each other and help lead each other to succeed in recovery.



Process and support groups are very similar but have a few significant differences. Support groups are often offered for a greater variety of individuals, including the loved ones of people in addiction. They are usually more structured and include more presentations by the group leader. Conversely, process groups often have an open floor, encouraging members to share their stories. Both of these forms of group therapy can have tremendous benefits for recovery. Group therapy can help you create a social support system and influence the success of others in recovery. Having the opportunity to open up about your struggles in a judgment-free zone with the opportunity for feedback from others is amazing. If you join a group that can connect you with a sponsor, you can also receive their insight and support. To learn more about the process and support groups, contact Dream Recovery at (657) 216-7218.


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