If we look at the “traditional” way that people are treated for addiction, it generally involves people sitting around in a circle telling everyone how bad they have it. The traditional 12 step program is not only outdated, it also encourages people to use drugs or drink alcohol. The moment you start telling people that they have a disease that they cannot possibly control, what reason do they have to even try?
If you as the supposed expert tell people that this is a struggle that they cannot win, only managed as best as possible; you have now given them an out to use again. The moment you give someone who is addicted a reason to use; there is a good chance that they will take it. Luckily, more and more people are becoming aware of the ineffective nature of group therapy and switching to other methods of therapy that put the power in the hands of the individual.
The Approach Is Wrong
Just the simple notion that you can shame someone into getting rid of addiction is ludicrous. Alcohol and drug recovery and withdrawal require an attentive, focused, and deep process that you simply cannot achieve in a group setting. To do so is to underestimate the very principle of addiction. In the confidentiality and safety of committed therapy, true healing from the emotional and physiological roots of substance addiction can begin.
Not Enough People
One of the reasons behind the lack of attention is quite simple though, it comes down to saving money. If we look at the majority of drug rehabilitation centers that use group therapy as one of the major approaches for treatment, most of them have something in common – they are understaffed. Group therapy programs at rehab clinics are horrifically understaffed and overpopulated. This ultimately means that no one receives the depth and type of healing that these patients both need and deserve for recovery.
Good For The Budget - Bad For The Patient
So ultimately, these facilities end up short-changing their patients. While the facility may be cutting cost due to group therapy (everyone pays but no one gets individualized care which means that they end up making money) it ends up costing the patient much more. This leads to physical complications, mental breakdowns, and chronic relapse as drug use continues.
Even If It’s Successful, It’s A Failure
Some people will defend this treatment and suggest that it may work for short-term rehabilitation, which is the equivalent of putting a Band-Aid over a severed artery; just because the problem is solved for a moment does not mean that there are no underlying serious issues.
Even if short-term rehabilitation is achieved, it still does not deal with the unique challenges and struggles of the individual. The underlying issues are what made a person turn to drugs or alcohol in the first place – and those are not yet resolved in such a short time. That is exactly why more and more people are starting to understand that group therapy is nothing but a poor substitute for actual therapy.