THE POWER OF THE CIRCLE
Group therapy options include a process group. Your issues and concerns are the topics. It’s not based on a specific curriculum. As the facilitator, I am like an orchestra conductor. I am responsible to pace the session. You, the group members are the main attraction. I direct the process so things go smoothly. Everyone gets her turn to share. It’s important for every woman to feel heard.
WHY NOT JUST GO TO AA?
Deciding about group therapy options often means thinking about the self-help options. I fully endorse 12-Step and alternatives like Refuge Recovery. (See resource page Self-Help Community Resources) That might be enough support. If that is true for you, awesome. Group therapy is something a bit different. It involves direct feedback. Our groups are also much smaller. (4-6 women per group.) Facilitation by a professional keeps it considerably more predictable.
Sharing is important as well as listening. The compassion you feel for your peers then points back at you. As you support your sisters in group you learn to direct some of that same compassion back to yourself. Group involves a sense of connection and commonality individual therapy cannot provide.
“Let the power of the circle represent together what we cannot do alone.”
HELPING WOMEN RECOVER: A PROGRAM FOR TREATING ADDICTION
Other group therapy options include two structured groups. Helping Women Recover focuses on women’s empowerment. This group is divided into 4 Modules:
There are in-session exercises. On their own group members do journal work in A Woman’s Journal. It is helpful to have the accountability and sharing of the group. Women sharing their insights together breaks down isolation. Because of this it encourages growth in a way that individual therapy cannot.
SEEKING SAFETY: A PRESENT-FOCUSED THERAPY
This is a present-focused therapy for recovery from trauma and alcohol and drug problems. The focus is on increasing safe coping skills and setting manageable personal commitments.
I was working at Residence XII during the clinical trials by National Institute on Drug Abuse. (NIDA) This curriculum was developed by Lisa Najavits from Boston. She openly acknowledges surviving trauma herself. She is brilliant researcher as well as a courageous woman. http://seekingsafety.org
Seeking Safety helps us learn more about PTSD and recovery. A focus on coping skills in the present is important. A present focus reduces relapse risk. Past-focused approaches may be valid but not in early recovery. Learn about what behaviors and thoughts are common for people surviving trauma and addiction. This group does not delve into details of past trauma. No one is asked to share specifics about her trauma history with the group. If that is of interest it may be part of individual therapy. That will be entirely up to you.
Group members come away feeling very validated. You’ll see that you aren’t really alone. Old self-defeating coping came about in response to surviving trauma.
Developing new coping reduces anxiety and depression symptoms. Then you’ll no longer feel bogged down by the impact of trauma. You’ll be able to move on and fully participate in your life.