Therapy is a treatment that helps a person in need of physical, mental, and emotional care. For someone who is uncontrollably addicted to a substance, undergoing therapy will help them restore themselves into a transformed person, a person free of addiction. Sharing the burden of your emotions to someone, may it be in a group or a one-on-one, relieves you the emotional, mental, and physical toll that your situation is having on you. In this article, we’re going to discuss the differences between individual and group therapy.

Individual Therapy is a one-on-one dialogue between a therapist and client, practicing the client to build trust with someone who he or she is unfamiliar with.

There are some advantages to individual therapy such as:

  • Individual Benefactor
    • Sessions can be conducted by the therapist based on the client’s preferences. This makes the client feel more comfortable and at ease, as the client is in their comfort zone and not being pressured to open up or share. The therapist can concentrate on the client and effectively address the client’s needs.
  • Better relationship and Confidentiality
    • In individual therapy, the client and therapist receive direct answers which can lead to a more beneficial relationship between the two parties. It progresses more swiftly than other therapies since the therapist is focused only on understanding one client at a time. Since the sessions are composed solely between the client and the therapist, everything said in the sessions is considered confidential.
  • Scheduling and Pacing of the Sessions
    • Sessions can be personalized based on the client’s preferred time, making the scheduling process much easier. For most clients, undergoing therapy can be a challenge, not recognizing each other and opening up is difficult. In individual sessions, the therapist can adjust the pace of the sessions when the therapist observes that the client is having a hard time.

There are some disadvantages to individual therapy such as:

  • Cost
    • In individual therapy, you are in control of your time. You are given the attention of the therapist alone and the luxury of having it in your way, as a result, it is more expensive compared to group therapy.
  • Getting only the advice of your Therapist
    • Since individual therapy is one-on-one counseling, you are only limited to the point of view of the therapist, though they are the experts in this kind of field. Sometimes, it beneficial to get multiple insights.
  • Being motivated by other people
    • People love to be motivated, being in individual therapy the only motivation you can get is from your therapist and yourself. Some people love to get the motivation from others who share the same issues and get ideas on how other clients recover.

Now, let’s talk about Group Therapy.

Group Therapy is defined as a session for more than one client facilitated by one or more therapists. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the success rate of people undergoing group therapy for addiction is higher compared to individual therapy.

There are some advantages to group therapy such as:

  • Feedback from people with the similar issues
    • Group therapy allows communication from other clients, sharing experiences and pieces of advice from one another. It helps a client develop better problem-solving skills and coping mechanisms to better fight addictions. This is able to happen from all the information the client acquires from members of the group supporting one another.
  • Inspiration from other clients
    • In group therapy, clients discuss their experiences which can be inspiring to others. Other clients narrate their stories of success in recovering. The most influential thing for clients in recovering is hearing an individual who once an addict and how they are now succeeding in life.
  • Gaining a new relationship from another member of the group
    • Clients can develop a friendship outside the counseling room. This is because they share some of their issues in life, and they can relate to one another. After all, facing the world with a friend is easier than doing it alone.

There are some disadvantages to group therapy such as:

  • The attention of the Therapist
    • The therapist in a group therapy setting handles two to ten clients at a time. The attention of the therapist will be divided to all members of the group. This can decrease the amount of attention given to clients and can cause some members to feel unheard, underappreciated, or undervalued.
  • Level of Confidentiality 
    • The level of confidentiality in group therapy is lower than on a client having individual therapy since there are more people involved. This may cause a person to hold off on sharing sensitive information because they may fear being judged or having their information told to other people who do not have a right to know.
  • Individual Personality may disrupt the sessions.
    • Clients have different personalities, and those clients who are antisocial or overly social can affect the course of the session. Most of the time, the different personalities of an individual affects the mood of the sessions and if someone is not participating in a group or drowning out other people’s voices, that can mess with the entire session.

As a whole, both individual and group therapies are beneficial to people trying to recover from addiction. Individual and Group Therapy have their own individual strengths and weaknesses. Some clients prefer having to undergo one-on-one counseling, while others enjoy a group setting for their therapy sessions. Factors such as the costs, the client’s preferred settings, and how the client wants to be treated must be evaluated before choosing what they want in therapy. The bottom line is that both individual and group therapy have different approaches in succession, but either will make a difference in a client’s life.

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