Quality psychotherapy is traditionally done between a single patient and a single therapist. This therapy is most effective through the fostering of a relationship built on trust and a sense of common goals. Different psychotherapy techniques have been developed over the past century, but the core element of a therapeutic alliance is what really helps people improve. A therapeutic alliance can also come in the form of group therapy.
Group therapy is a valuable option for patients, especially those in early stages of recovery from substance abuse. A group typically involves a ‘facilitator’ who is often a therapist and the members of the group. Some groups allow people to openly attend when they are available (examples include 12 step groups or the recovery support groups offered at Denver Health). Other groups are ‘closed’ and hence have the same core people each session.
Groups are also distinguished by their style. One style of a group is called a ‘process group’ in which there is no specific agenda occurring, and each patient tries to communicate freely with other patients while expressing emotions experienced in their daily lives and also the emotions experienced within the group session itself. Another style group is more structured and may include doing worksheets or handouts, having instructional components, and having a specific ‘manual’ that may be walked through by the therapist who facilitates the group. An example of a more structured group is called Intensive Outpatient Therapy, or ‘IOP.’ IOP is often a great way for patients to continue the therapy provided to them while in residential treatment or in the hospital. Many IOP groups are structured, but some may function similar to the process group described above. Most IOP groups also are time-intensive and involve attending 9 hours of total therapy each week.
I strongly promote group therapy through my practice as it provides patients other viewpoints and also helps improve communication. Many times, a patient is able to gain new insight through attending a group if they commit to regular sessions and are constantly working with the other group members. There are many available group therapy options in the Denver community. I make referrals to groups whose programs I trust to deliver strong results for patients. Some of these include
Denver Health (see above)