Why group therapy?
Group therapy helps clients understand that they're not alone in their struggles. It also allows clients to develop more empathy and understanding towards the experiences of others, which in-turn helps them develop improved relational skills that can be utilized within other significant relationships. Given a space to have a “meeting of minds,” clients help each other solve common problems effectively with multiple perspectives at hand.
Groups have helped clients recognize their strengths and resources by expanding on these qualities: enhancing their sense of self, developing more positive self-perceptions, and elevating self-confidence.
& EXPLORATION IN RECOVERY
What happens when you cage a wild animal? I found myself asking almost every one of my clients this question at some point during their treatment process. All of my clients, in some way, shape or form, we're trying to deny or avoid a very important part of themself; and almost always, they found that the more they tried to deny, forget, or avoid it, the stronger the thoughts, feelings, urges or behaviors would resurface. This experience is far too common for clients trying to refrain from a pattern of drug use/abuse, and they often get frustrated and disappointed when they find themselves reverting and falling back into their old ways. They just don’t understand it. They begin to feel a sense of self-defeat and then begin to think that recovery is not possible, which then has the very strong potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If clients are not able to find hope, motivation, and alternative thought and behavior patterns, relapse is inevitable.
In my experience working within the substance abuse treatment field, I found that for so many clients, sex and sexuality was that wild animal. It was a source of deep-rooted shame, confusion, trauma, and turmoil. It was an animal that they didn’t really understand or know how to manage, and they were rarely given the opportunity to fully examine, explore and process this within treatment. Too often, their sexual concerns, fears, and experiences were pushed to the back burner and disregarded as secondary to their recovery. They were told by other primary therapists, treatment support staff, sponsors, and the recovery community that their sexuality, sexual experiences, and romantic relationships were merely a “distraction” to their recovery, when in fact, these unaddressed sexual issues and concerns were major factors leading to relapse and/or the maintenance of addiction.
Adopting a sexual health in recovery program gives clients the opportunity to explore and process issues of sexuality while giving them a safe space to understand how their sexual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are linked to drug use/abuse. Integrating sexual health education and exploration within treatment offers clients a unique opportunity to engage in valuable discussions about their sexuality to further gain insight into relapse triggers and patterns, which ultimately enhances and bolsters their experience of treatment and recovery.
SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION
Looking for a Licensed Therapist to Run Some Groups?
I’m a Certified Sex Therapist working in South Florida. I have vast, in-field, experience with using multiple therapeutic techniques to help clients who are struggling with a wide range of presenting problems. My clients are able to speak about their present and past sexual experiences, without the fear of being judged, in a group environment with others struggling with similar problems. This process has consistently enabled long-lasting results.
Upon completing my Master’s degree, I worked for 2 years in Substance Abuse Treatment where I developed a Sexual Health in Recovery Program to provide a platform for my clients to speak on several different sexual topics that they were unable to explore and process in other conventional group work. This program incorporates a multi-faceted approach that helps clients expand their point of view to further comprehend their behaviors and preferences, while also encouraging them to talk transparently (without judgment) about difficult sexual encounters. This has ultimately helped my clients feel that they are not alone in their experiences, particularly as it relates to sexual trauma and performance anxieties. Groups have helped clients recognize their strengths and resources by expanding on these qualities: enhancing their sense of self, developing more positive self-perceptions, and elevating self-confidence.