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Faith-Based Group Therapy

Faith-Based Group Therapy

Faith-based group therapy approach to addiction recovery have proven time and time again to be a very successful means of rehabilitation. Spirituality is an important part of life for many people and can tremendously aid in getting the addict on the right track. No matter the religion, it plays a key role in how people think about themselves and others. When coupled with a strong faith-based group program for the rehabilitation of substance abusers, you have a winning combination for a successful recovery. Many faith-based therapy groups are centered around Christianity. They operate off the theory that addiction stems from a lack of spirituality. This void in a person’s life is the cause of the addiction or substance abuse. The focus of group therapy then becomes a reintroduction of spirituality into their life so as to fill the hold and end addiction.

The process of therapy is essentially the same in Christian counseling as in other counseling but the tools used in the process may be different. The incorporation of spiritual beliefs into the counseling experience will often vary from patient to patient and therapist to therapist. Some patients want to know they share a similar belief system with their therapist and will reference that belief system during therapy. Others have specific spiritual issues related to their emotional symptoms and want to be able to process those in session with another person of the same faith. The client is the best person to determine how much and in what way spiritual beliefs are incorporated into therapy.

Using and abusing drugs and alcohol can be seen as a sin, bringing about deep shame as use continues to spiral out of control. Many Christians hesitate to seek help for these kinds of complications, hiding in embarrassment rather than admitting a need for assistance. Despite the judgment and pressure that can come with accepting the reality of a problem, this is an important step. There is nothing to be ashamed of when seeking help; in fact, the Bible encourages using Scripture to better yourself and make positive changes.

Is Faith-Based Group Therapy Right for You?

There are no guaranteed practices against substance abuse. But spiritually based programs provide their patients with more than medicinal treatment. When a client enters into treatment for the first time, they may feel hopeless and ashamed of their condition. Spirituality negates these emotions by making the clients feel worthy of a better future.

If you identify with religious standards, then a spiritual recovery will help you rediscover your faith. The leaders of these programs believe that alcohol and drug addictions can be cured through faith. If you are ready to take back the reins over your life, then a faith-based program will help repair your brokenness and purpose in life.

How Therapy Programs Can Boost Success

Every individual has their own form of Spirituality. Faith-based group therapy allows the individual to expand upon this spirituality and explore personal faith and rediscover vision, hope, belief, and reality in their life and the world around them.

In the process of recovering from drug or alcohol addiction and abuse, there are often feelings of blame, guilt, and shame the addict puts upon themselves. This creates an unhealthy level of stress which is very detrimental to recovery. While it is still important to be accountable and responsible for one’s past actions in the process of recovery, letting go can be very liberating for the former addict. Letting go is when all negative feelings are given up and released into the hands of a Higher Power, thus freeing up spiritual and emotional space within the individual. This allows for emotional growth, which leads to self-empowerment and the road to long-term sobriety.

Faith-based programs encourage:

  • Rise in hope
  • Trust in oneself
  • Restored connection with others
  • Reawakened inner truth
  • Renewed life purpose

For a person with strong spiritual beliefs who is struggling with addiction and/or substance abuse, a program without these aspects would not be complete. To be unable to acknowledge their love and trust of a Higher Power would leave holes in their recovery. A long-lasting complete recovery for this type of individual would need to include a group therapy in which people of like mindsets could share their beliefs and help to empower each other through scripture and spiritual teachings.

Types of Group Therapy

Group counseling is an option in which a group of individuals suffering from similar conditions come together to speak about struggles, experiences, successes, coping mechanisms, and more. Led by a group leader, often a licensed therapist, who dictates topics or requests feedback, therapy groups can handle all kinds of topics, from addiction to crises of faith. While group counseling may be less intimate and personal, many patients benefit from the support of a peer group.

Group therapy isn’t a singular approach to mental health counseling, and not all treatment groups are right for everyone. This is true in a rehabilitation setting as well. Like individual psychotherapy, group therapy exists in many forms.

Some of the most effective for addressing substance abuse include:

  • Psychoeducation groups. A group approach that offers thorough education on related subjects such as increasing alcohol and opioid addictions.
  • Skills development groups. These groups provide an opportunity to teach skills such as sobriety techniques or ways to stand up to peer pressure.
  • Cognitive behavioral groups. These types of groups work to modify behavior through CBT and other forms of psychotherapy.
  • Support groups. A common concept in everything from terminal illness to recovery, support groups provide a safe environment to share challenges with others in a similar life position.
  • Interpersonal process groups. These groups target interpersonal connections to see an improved perspective on interacting with others.

Group therapies can be held in gender-specific or mixed gender groups. The benefit of gender-specific groups is that it gives individuals a chance a speak openly about subjects that may be sensitive. A woman may not feel comfortable sharing her path towards addiction in a group filled with men if she is embarrassed by some of the things she may have done to get there. The same goes for men.

What to Expect at Faith-Based Group Therapy

While each independent religious rehab center will have its own methods of operation, most will include teachings based on the faith or religion practiced at that facility, in combination with standard secular detox processes. This can prove to be a highly functional and successful means of recovery type program for individuals in need of rehab who also embrace a religious lifestyle.

Common faith-based group therapy programs include:

  • Assistance with drug detoxing and withdrawals
  • Educational classes on drugs
  • Group therapy classes on drugs and alcohol
  • Spiritual education
  • Establishing a relationship with a Higher Power
  • Group therapy in religious studies
  • Engagement in prayer or meditation

When recovering from addiction, feelings of blame, guilt, and shame can be overwhelming.  Providing a space for individuals to feel safe and understood is a necessity. The group sessions allow individuals to relate to others as well as become closer to God. In addition to secular detox-type discussions, biblical studies and scripture study are what sets this type of program apart. In faith-based group therapy sessions, people can give themselves over to God and receive guidance from counselors and biblical text. Repairing individual relationships with God has proven to have a long-lasting effect on people. As their spiritual relationship grows they find themselves being at peace and are able to put their addictive tendencies behind them – typically for good!

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