Group Therapy for Substance Misuse

Behavioral therapy is a very common form of substance use treatment,1 with 93% of addiction treatment programs utilizing group therapy.2 Group therapy can be especially beneficial to people in addiction treatment because the group process provides social support and reduces stigma.1

This page will explore group therapy for addiction treatment, how it works, and treatment options in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What is Group Therapy?

Typically, group therapy involves groups of 3 or more people led by a licensed therapist or counselor who meet for regular sessions. As part of a , group therapy can:1

  • Improve engagement in treatment as well as a sense of support.
  • Provide a safe place to discuss struggles and difficulties as well as celebrations and positive changes throughout recovery.
  • Provide structure and professional guidance that can focus the process and help patients achieve their recovery goals.

Group therapy also helps patients establish lasting connections with supportive peers, learn new skills, and practice a variety of recovery skills and strategies.

The focus and goals of group therapy for addiction treatment are varied. Common focuses include:1

  • Delivering psychoeducation. Through psychoeducation, patients learn about the nature and consequences of substance use disorder (SUD) as well as the use of support systems.3
  • Practicing behavioral skills and strategies. For instance, patients learn how to handle relapse triggers, cope with distressing emotions, restructure unhealthy thought patterns, and more.2
  • Interpersonal communication, which is key to developing healthy relationships and sustaining a supportive, sober network.2

The following section will explore some common behavioral therapy methods used in group therapy for addiction treatment.

Group Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Common therapy types used in addiction treatment that may be provided in a group setting include but are not limited to:2

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is one of the most common therapeutic approaches used in group therapy. The primary focus of CBT is learning to identify thoughts that have become distorted and then challenging and altering those thoughts to produce more desirable emotions and behaviors. Common techniques include self-monitoring to recognize the onset of cravings, identifying high-risk situations, and developing coping strategies for when these situations arise.2
  • Motivational interviewing (MI). MI is a therapeutic approach that helps patients overcome ambivalence and make changes that align with their values. Through the MI process, patients will explore values and identify strategies to make positive changes.3
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).4 DBT helps patients develop awareness and acceptance of emotions while learning to utilize change strategies. DBT is particularly effective when co-occurring mental health issues (e.g., borderline personality disorder, emotional dysregulation) are present. 4

What to Expect in Group Therapy

At Desert Hope Treatment Center, individuals participate in 4 sessions that each last 90 minutes, with a break in between each group. The primary modalities used in groups are CBT and MI, with some elements of treatment that are informed by DBT.

The 4 group sessions are as follows:

Counselors lead all groups, and most often, each counselor leads groups that consist of patients who are on their caseload. We also have peer leaders—4 men and 4 women—who help other patients who are struggling with the recovery process or feel like giving up. These peers also present things to the group and staff that might help to improve the experience at Desert Hope.

You can expect all group addiction therapy sessions to provide everyone the chance to speak and share in the group setting. All patients are encouraged to participate in all groups as our trained counselors ensure that everyone in the group has a voice. All groups are LGBTQ-informed and welcoming.

Drug Addiction Treatment in Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas is home to many Desert Hope residential treatment center in Nevada, provides a wide range of high-quality treatment. In addition to residential/inpatient we offer many other treatment levels including:

All types of drug and alcohol treatment programs are tailored to meet the needs of each patient through evidence-based approaches.

Speak to one of our admissions navigators at to learn more about the services we offer, determine the best program for your needs, and start the admissions process. You can also verify your health insurance coverage using the confidential .

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