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What Happens in Didactic Group Therapy

What Happens in Didactic Group Therapy

Written by: stodzy | Date: April 3, 2018

Addiction is known for being an extremely invasive disease that affects just about every aspect of a person’s life. It has physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual effects, and it can often take several months to get one’s life back in order.

Because addiction is a multifaceted disease, people who pursue sobriety often find that having a multifaceted approach to recovery is the best way to ensure long-term recovery. Didactic Group Therapy is an excellent tool to use in conjunction with other therapeutic modalities.

What is Didactic Group Therapy?

Where other forms of therapy emphasize one on one interactions with a licensed therapist, didactic group therapy encourages growth and social interactions through working with a group that is guided by a licensed therapist.

The primary goal of didactic group therapy is to enhance problem-solving skills, foster healthy coping mechanisms that are commonly needed for people with addiction, reconnect to a community of like-minded people, and to understand the disease of addiction.

Didactic Group Therapy, unlike many other forms of talk therapy (one on one with a therapist), is intended to be a goal oriented and short-term form of therapy. For this reason, it has become one of the most widely used therapeutic methods in the substance abuse treatment field and allows for honest investigation into common problems that addicts face.

Many facilities use Didactic Group Therapy as a way to promote education and understanding about the disease of addiction. It is extremely common for many people who enter substance abuse treatment, especially if it is their first time, to be completely unaware that they have a problem with addiction, and how common this problem is. This form of therapy encapsulates a space for learning and understanding the disease, to help better overcome it.

Benefits of Didactic Group Therapy

Many people who seek treatment for substance abuse and mental disorders have been living very isolated lives because of their using. This often stems from guilt, shame, and previous traumas that may be centered in their addictions.

Didactic Group Therapy helps break down the barriers for many people in early recovery through:

  • Encouraging Teamwork
  • Education about the disease of addiction and how it affects the brain and body
  • Understanding the results and effects of behaviors
  • Managing and coping with emotions
  • Learning relapse prevention tools
  • Encourages rational thought processes

women in a support group

How Does Didactic Group Therapy Work?

At its core, didactic group therapy is designed to be an educational model that promotes fostering basic life skills such as self-informing and self-analyzation. Didactic therapy, unlike other forms of therapy, is meant to be a relatively non-invasive, relaxed environment, where patients are encouraged to ask questions, get involved, and learn about addiction.

Problem Solving: Didactic group therapy encourages rational problem solving to common problems in the lives of recovering addicts and people with mental disorders.

  • For those who have used substances to self-medicate for many years, basic problem-solving techniques have been forgotten or were never learned.
  • The didactic therapy method focuses on how to handle future situations such as, finding a job, maintaining healthy relationships, triggering events, social interactions, and managing stress.

Life Skills: It is very common for people in early recovery to require essentially an entire reprogramming of healthy life skills and daily habits.

  • Didactic therapy encourages and promotes fostering these healthy habits into daily life.
  • They can range from time management, benefits of good sleep and hygiene, the importance of physical exercise, organization, communication techniques, and goal setting.  

Supportive Environments: One of the main factors to maintaining long-term recovery is being surrounded by people on the same mission. This is why so many people join 12 step programs and recovery programs.

  • Didactic group therapy provides people who have long felt isolated with an opportunity to be a part of a community of people who understand their past, their emotions, and their behaviors.
  • Identifying as a part of a community has been proven to encourage a desire to remain in the community, which often means staying sober and doing the right things.
  • This supportive community helps to reduce the sometimes burdening feelings of shame and isolation and helps nurture a connected recovery.

Emotional Coping Skills: Addiction professionals agree that for many people who have struggled with addiction, their maturity levels often seem to have stunted at the age when they first started to get deep into their addiction.

  • This means that many people have emotional coping skills at a level of early teenage years.
  • For most, learning these coping skills for their emotional stages is a crucial step in preventing future relapse, and engaging in healthy personal relationships.
  • Not only will these coping skills help prevent relapse, but they will also be effective in situations such as, stress from work, pressures at school, interactions with family members, and creating healthy bonds and friendships.

A Break From the Intensity

For those who choose to partake in the journey of inpatient substance abuse treatment, their schedule is often filled with individual therapy and intensive examinations into themselves, their past, any traumas, and their behaviors (which is good!).

However, although didactic group therapy teaches individuals about these common issues in their lives, it is usually in a much more relaxed setting, which can provide a much-needed break from the intensity of their day to day therapeutic processes. It allows them to cultivate that community spirit, create bonds with others who have struggled with addiction and want to recover, and to also learn a lot about the disease of addiction itself.

Didactic group therapy encourages a community spirit of “can-do” attitudes, where a person can become armed with facts about their disease, what sorts of behavior patterns and triggers they need to look out for, and how to live functioning and happy lives.

Getting Help at Wayside House

If you are a woman struggling with addiction and mental health issues, Wayside House can help. We offer a women-only program and provide a safe, supportive environment to recover in. We have outstanding treatments and therapies that are often only found in more expensive programs. We offer inpatient rehab with various therapies, relapse prevention education, outpatient, and aftercare, as well as services for medical professionals and veterans. Contact Wayside House at 800-655-0817 to learn more.