Memories associated with trauma are stored differently in the brain, which can cause side effects and symptoms that interfere with the recovery process. Some people experience flashbacks, dissociative events, and high anxiety when talking or thinking about the trauma. However, the benefits of talking through traumatic events far outweigh the initial discomfort. 

At Newport Beach Recovery Center, we treat underlying trauma using various methods, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), mindfulness-based techniques, and trauma-focused group therapies. 

What Happens During Group Therapy? 

Group therapy usually consists of guided discussions, peer support, and skill development. We provide clients at our facility with a safe space where they can talk about their traumatic experiences. 

We use gender-specific groups to give clients a comfortable space where they can disclose details about the trauma that they might not be comfortable talking about in co-ed groups. Our group leaders use a wide range of therapeutic modalities like CBT and DBT to create a truly personalized experience that addresses the issues of each participant.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), cognitive-behavioral group therapy can do the following for individuals with trauma-related disorders:

  • Promote self­-control skills to manage overwhelming emotions
  • Teach functional behaviors that may have deteriorated as a result of the disorders
  • Provide relapse prevention training

We incorporate multiple modalities in group therapy because they all have helpful tools that clients can use to heal.

Do You Have to Talk About Your Trauma? 

No one is required to talk through their trauma in a group setting. Listening to others share their traumas and coping mechanisms can help clients feel less alone. SAMHSA indicates that sharing painful events with compassionate peers can decrease symptoms of trauma, including: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Stress responses
  • Hyperarousal and hypervigilance 
  • Dissociative events 
  • Flashbacks 
  • Intrusive thoughts 
  • Distressing sense memories

By talking through how you feel about recovery and the effects of trauma, you can discover new perspectives and view the events from a more objective point of view. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), “The treatments that work best for PTSD are trauma-focused talk therapies.” 

At Newport Beach Recovery Center, we use a trauma-focused approach to treatment that minimizes the risk of re-traumatization and encourages clients to open up to peers during group therapy. 

What Types of Trauma Can You Share? 

Clients often feel uncertain about discussing details of sexual or physical abuse in a group setting. We personalize our treatments, which means the therapist will inform group members of potential triggers. Although it is not required, we encourage clients to talk through anything that causes them pain or distress. In addition, we tailor each group to meet the needs of every participant, and individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ can choose which groups to attend. 

Common traumas we address in group therapy include: 

  • Sexual abuse 
  • Domestic abuse 
  • Physical abuse 
  • Chronic stress 
  • Trauma-related to military service 
  • Trauma-related to experiencing or witnessing an overdose 
  • Serious injury or illness 
  • Self-harming behaviors 
  • Emotional abuse

Some traumas are easier to talk about than others; in some cases, people feel uncomfortable talking about traumas related to stigmatized behaviors. We tailor our groups to ensure that the participants feel comfortable disclosing details that can help them heal and move forward in their recovery. 

Benefits of Talking About Trauma in Group Therapy

We ensure our groups feel welcoming to clients who may have never previously discussed their trauma. Talking through issues in group therapy can have many benefits. In addition, groups offer the following:

  • A judgment-free zone where clients can safely discuss feelings of loss, betrayal, and pain
  • Multiple perspectives that provide a learning opportunity and tips for coping with triggers
  • An open line of communication that can enhance social skills
  • Space to grow and learn new ways of looking at the world and past experiences

Group therapy works best when clients actively engage with others and talk about the things that have contributed to their substance misuse. Clients can discuss trauma using metaphors to make the discussion less stressful. We encourage them to trust their care team and peers.

Should You Continue Group Therapy During Aftercare? 

Group therapy provides a healthy place to discuss details about your treatment and recovery with others who understand what you have gone through. Many people find it helpful to continue attending group therapy after rehabilitation. Community-based self-help and 12-Step groups offer similar benefits. 

However, a more formal therapy setting can encourage more significant growth during early recovery. At Newport Beach Recovery Center, we can provide referrals to community-based and private group therapy to individuals who want to continue taking advantage of these treatment options during aftercare. 

If left untreated, trauma can have a lasting and damaging effect on a person’s health and well-being. Group therapy and other methodologies provide a safe space where you can reprocess trauma and learn how to manage symptoms. Talking about trauma is not always easy. However, at Newport Beach Recovery Center, we use a trauma-informed approach to care that minimizes the risk of re-traumatization. Our team understands the healing power of peer support and group therapy. We provide a space where you can talk through the events, thoughts, and emotions that may have left you feeling helpless or overwhelmed. Trauma does not have to define you. We are here to help, and we believe in your ability to overcome challenges related to substance use disorder and trauma. To learn more about our program, reach our facility today by calling us at (888) 850-0363.