Treatment for Opiate Addiction: One-on-one vs. Group Therapy

One-on-one opioid addiction treatment isn’t necessarily better than group therapy, and many people thrive in a combination of both individual and group treatment. However, there are benefits and drawbacks to both.

What is One-on-One Treatment?

One-on-one treatment, or individual therapy, generally involves a single client and psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker who is formally trained in therapy and addiction treatment or rehab. Individualized sessions generally last about an hour. Sessions usually end with creation of goals or homework to work on between sessions.

Benefits of One-on-One Treatment

Many people prefer to maintain a high level of confidentiality, and they may not feel comfortable sharing their private matters with other people.

Some feel it is a waste of valuable treatment time to listen to the problems of others, and that their therapy time is diluted among several people. Individualized treatment provides plenty of time and ample personal attention to explore issues.

Individualized treatment also provides an opportunity to forge a cooperative client-therapist alliance. One-on-one treatment is private and confidential.

What is Group Therapy?

Group therapy involves more than one client and at least one therapist, Most groups involve six to 12 members, although numbers may vary. Many clinicians feel ten members is about right for effective group treatment.

Topics of group therapy may be general nature, or a group session may focus on a single topic such as coping with stress, dealing with anxiety or depression, managing cravings or preventing relapse.

What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Group Therapy?

Group treatment is beneficial for people who feel it helpful to share problems and concerns, and to learn from others who struggle with similar issues. Group therapy is a safe, supportive environment that may help people who have difficulty socializing or lack communication skills.

Group therapy often becomes a powerful way to bond with others, and strong, long-lasting friendships are often the result.

Everybody is encouraged to participate, but it’s true that attention is shared among many group members. Often, members who tend to be quiet don’t receive as much attention as members who are more outgoing. Some people may be painfully uncomfortable when it comes to speaking in front of a group.

Some group members may fail to fully engage, choosing instead to let other members do the heavy lifting. This may be a significant drawback for people who prefer to avoid accountability. Of course, there is always a risk of personality conflicts between members.

For many, the lower cost of group therapy is a deciding factor. However, there is no guarantee of confidentiality, which means that group treatment may not be a good choice for individuals who require a high level of privacy.

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