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What Are the Pros and Cons of Group and Individual Therapy in Addiction Treatment?

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If you are researching addiction treatment programs, you’ve come across terms like group and individual therapy.  Since each of the therapies can be beneficial, many facilities provide both to ensure that their clients get the proper level of care they need.  

The best way to get the most out of a treatment program is to learn about the pros and cons of each type of therapy beforehand.  You may benefit from participating in both group and individual therapy sessions.  The following information may help you determine which treatment approach is best for your situation.  

An Overview of Group Therapy

During group therapy, participants develop new insights and social skills while also receiving much-needed guidance, comfort, and support.  

The three basic forms of group therapy sessions are:

  1. Interpersonal Process Groups – Provides individuals with the opportunity to uncover and process past trauma that is the root cause of their substance abuse.
  2. Cognitive-Behavioral Groups – Helps participants identify and change problematic thinking that contributes to their desire to use alcohol or drugs.
  3. Psychoeducational Groups – Offers counseling and education about mental health and harmful behaviors involved in substance use.

While some people are not comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings in a group setting, the sessions are proven effective in breaking the cycle of addiction.

A Look at the Pros and Cons of Group Therapy

Group therapy is central to addiction treatment for several reasons.  People’s lives are shaped by their experiences in groups.  They help shape our self-image, behavior, and physical or mental health.  Of course, the influence of groups can be both negative and positive.  

The same holds true for group therapy. Both negative and positive aspects are involved.  Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of group therapy:


  • An opportunity to give and receive encouragement and support.
  • Participants feel that they aren’t alone in their struggles.
  • Ability to model positive behaviors.
  • A chance to improve communication and social skills.
  • Provides structure and discipline.


  • No individual person is the center of the therapist’s attention.
  • A limited degree of flexibility.
  • Lack of confidentiality.

Researchers have found that group therapy fosters a sense of accountability among participants.  They tend to show up more regularly and on time.  Also, members feel more connected to others and are relieved to know that they aren’t alone.

An Overview of Individual Therapy

Why do some people prefer individual therapy?  It’s partly because the sessions are confidential and more intimate than group sessions.  

Individual therapy includes Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.  These methodologies help participants understand what fuels their drug or alcohol use.  They also learn to recognize triggers and develop strategies for managing them.  

A Look at the Pros and Cons of Individual Therapy

The main benefit of individual therapy is that the sessions focus entirely on you. You have an opportunity to explore and discuss your concerns, thoughts, and feelings.  Here is a look at the pros and cons of individual therapy.


  • Sessions are more confidential.
  • Opportunity to develop a stronger relationship with the therapist.
  • Personalized attention to improve self-awareness.
  • Therapy is customized to the individual’s needs.
  • More time for in-depth discussions about trauma and triggers.


  • Absence of peer-to-peer communication and interaction.
  • Individual sessions usually cost more.
  • Some individuals find focusing on themselves difficult or too intense.

An individual therapy session offers a safe, intimate environment where you can discuss your issues without feeling judged.  The therapist allows you to proceed at your own pace so you don’t feel rushed or pressured. 

What Is the Right Type of Group and Individual Therapy for You?

Group and individual therapy are available in most addiction treatment facilities.  To choose the approach that is best for you, consider the cost, your needs and preferences, your need for accountability, and the level of support and interpersonal relationships you require.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to choose one form of therapy over the other.  Most programs allow you to participate in both therapies concurrently to ensure the best recovery outcome.

Contact Design for Change Recovery to Learn More About Group and Individual Therapy

Now that you know the differences between group and individual therapy, we can help you determine what’s best for you.  At Design for Change Recovery, we offer you an opportunity to create a customized treatment plan suited to your unique needs.  

Our integrated approach to treatment includes Group and Individual Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Relapse Prevention, Holistic Therapies, and more.  

If you are ready to free yourself from the destructive control of addictive substances, reach out to our Lancaster, CA facility today.  We will be happy to answer your questions and help you get on the path to recovery as soon as possible.


What Are the Pros and Cons of Group and Individual Therapy in Addiction Treatment?