Psychoeducational Groups for Substance Abuse Recovery

Arizona Psychoeducational Groups for Drug & Alcohol Treatment

As sources of empowerment, psychoeducational groups are utilized to educate individuals and enhance their understanding of addiction in a group setting. This important aspect of healing broadens recovery potential, as one is better able to effectively participate in recovery efforts of self or a loved one.

In substance abuse recovery, psychoeducational groups are one of five different types of group therapies offering benefit to patients.

Those five models of group therapies are:

  • Psychoeducational groups
  • Cognitive-behavioral and problem-solving groups
  • Support groups
  • Skills development groups
  • Interpersonal process groups

Psycho-Educational Group Therapy and Addiction Treatment

Psychoeducational groups focus on patient education regarding specific disorders and how they can cope with the hurdles those disorders present in their substance abuse recovery. In some of these groups, all of the patients have the same type of issues requiring exploration and education, such as:

  • Depression
  • Trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Trust Issues
  • Medication needs
  • Similar addiction types
  • Stress issues
  • Common triggers
  • Relationships
  • Other commonalities

In other psychoeducational therapy groups, patients may have any of a number of co-occurring disorders with greater group focus placed on coping skills the entire group can benefit from, such as:

  • Overcoming triggers
  • Living within a community
  • Relationship building
  • Rule acceptance and adherence
  • Other life skills

Psychoeducational groups are facilitated by a trained therapist or other professional who acts as the group leader, also sometimes called a moderator. The group leader is highly involved in activity among the group, keeping direction focused and helping patients interact as they should for maximum benefit. These sessions are often heavily focused on providing support for substance abuse recovery, guiding patients through understanding of problems or issues, and helping patients gain skills to minimize the problems’ impact at present and in the future.

In Tucson, AZ, Recovery In Motion provides substance abuse recovery programs developed around evidence-based therapies for a comprehensive, integrated approach to overcoming addiction. These therapies include psychoeducational group therapies, as well as other forms of counseling and treatment that include dual-diagnosis treatmentgroup therapycognitive behavioral therapy, and family therapy programs.

To learn more about how you or your loved one can benefit from the diverse array of evidence-based therapies available at Recovery in Motion.

How does Psycho-Educational Group Therapy Work?

In substance abuse recovery, these types of groups play several roles. First, they are used to benefit patients in their own recovery. Second, these groups may be used for family education about addiction and recovery of the family unit.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, psychoeducational groups follow a specific structure and curriculum. This structure helps keep the group focused and working toward the common objectives.

A psychoeducational group session will often unfold something like this:

  • Patient self-introductions, including admitting their addictions, recent struggles of recovery and last day of use
  • Brief review of the session’s topic and goals
  • Curriculum presentations and group discussions led by the group leader
  • Review of patients’ individual plans for recovery during the upcoming week
  • Recitation of the Serenity Prayer or other group mantra with encouragement to continue in recovery and group participation

This is just one example of how a psychoeducational group may be conducted for patients. Family psychoeducational group sessions may follow a similar structure, but address issues families need to cover for the maximum benefit of their loved ones and themselves as part of substance abuse recovery.

“The group experience is an ideal forum for psycho-educational learning. We are social beings, and a group situation allows opportunities to improve social skills, learn from others, practice skills with others, develop confidence and improve self-esteem,” says Judith Belmont, MS, LPC. Psycho-educational groups facilitate the benefits of group therapy while one increases his or her knowledge of the disease of addiction. 

Psycho-Educational Groups and Co-Occurring Disorders

Many individuals suffering from addiction are also suffering from a separate psychological disorder, such as depression or anxiety; this is called a co-occurring disorder. Psycho-educational groups are varied to serve those with and without co-occurring disorders.

Group meetings aim to educate participants on addiction as well as their specific co-occurring disorder, which can decrease the potential for relapse later in recovery. For example, a person who suffers from an anxiety disorder and an addiction may begin to recognize symptoms of each disorder, becoming aware of how one affects the other. This knowledge empowers the person to make changes in daily life to strengthen his or her recovery.

Increased awareness happens over a period of time in a safe and comfortable environment led by knowledgeable professionals. Participants are conveyed information pertaining to both disorders including symptoms, which creates an avenue for discovering triggers for substance abuse.

Developing healthy coping strategies to replace triggers prolongs abstinence and lowers the chance for relapse. Similarly, as one gains understanding of the co-occurring disorder, one can more effectively participate in treatment with his or her psychiatrist. This awareness helps to produce effective psychological treatment so that life can get back on track.

Benefits of Psycho-Educational Groups

Individuals addicted to drugs and alcohol usually lose the ability to take care of themselves. Not only is basic hygiene neglected, but basic problem solving skills are diminished and several more life skills are lost in active addiction. Psycho-educational groups are designed and structured to address these concerns.

In a safe environment among comrades, participants are able to practice healthy expression as they share difficult truths. The ability to help others in their times of need often promote positive self-esteem as well as feelings of hope and motivation.

Social techniques and communication skills are honed during meetings as well as outside of meetings when greater knowledge allows one to impart important information to friends, family, and others. Participating in these meetings is part of a slow integration back into society, from the solitary lifestyle of addiction to the more social lifestyle of recovery.

Our knowledgeable psycho-educational group moderators lead these group meetings with our patients and their needs at heart. We strive to guide our patients through their recovery with the most potential for long-term recovery. Give us a call today and begin your journey. You can take your life back!