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Is Group Therapy Better Than Individual?

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Medically Reviewed By: Ashley Levin

Clinical Director

Part of the recovery process from alcohol and drug addiction is participating in group and individual therapy. Both of these therapies have their benefits for someone with an alcohol or substance use disorder. However, one question that many people seeking treatment often have “Is group therapy better than individual therapy?” 

What Is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a type of treatment for substance addiction in which individuals meet with others dealing with similar issues to gain insight, support, and accountability. In a group therapy setting, members can share their experiences and feelings related to their problems without having to fear judgment or criticism from the rest of the group. 

Group therapy sessions provide a safe space where addicts are encouraged to challenge each other’s beliefs about sobriety and confront underlying issues fueling their addictive behavior.

What Is Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy is a type of treatment for substance addiction that focuses on one person’s needs. This form of therapy provides a personal space in which the therapist and patient work together to identify, process, and address underlying emotional issues related to their addiction. 

The goal of individual therapy sessions is typically to help individuals acquire new life skills, increase self-awareness, and create coping mechanisms. During these sessions, therapists utilize various therapeutic techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness exercises, acceptance strategies, or other forms of psychotherapy to help the person achieve long-term recovery from their addiction.

Who Is Group Therapy Best For?

Group therapy is best for individuals who do not feel comfortable or safe when discussing personal matters in a one-on-one setting. Group therapy can also benefit those struggling with feelings of isolation or loneliness during their addiction treatment. Additionally, the supportive environment of group therapy increases self-esteem and gives members an opportunity to connect, grow, and heal together while learning from each other’s experiences.

What Is Individual Therapy Best For?

Individual therapy is best for those who prefer to discuss personal matters in a private setting and benefit from more personalized attention. This form of therapy can also be helpful for individuals who have ongoing mental health issues that may be contributing to their substance abuse.

Additionally, individual therapy allows clients to build trust with their therapist, furthering the therapeutic process by gaining insight into themselves as well as providing them with coping strategies and resources.

Who Should Not Participate in Group Therapy?

Group therapy is not recommended for those who struggle with aggression, hostility, or other disruptive behavior toward their peers. Additionally, group therapy may not be suitable if the individual has difficulty verbalizing thoughts and feelings in a group setting, does not feel comfortable sharing vulnerable experiences with strangers, is dealing with trauma, has a personality disorder, or is very sensitive or shy in group settings. 

Those individuals should consider individual therapy instead, as it offers personalized attention and guidance when discussing sensitive matters.

Group Therapy Benefits

Group therapy offers several benefits for participants. For example, group therapy provides a supportive setting in which individuals with similar struggles can share their stories, provide emotional support to one another, and receive accountability and counsel from peers. 

Additionally, members of group therapy sessions gain insight into themselves and gain valuable skills and techniques that can help them work toward long-term sobriety. This type of therapy promotes self-esteem through healthy connections built between members and offers the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences.

Another benefit of this type of therapy is that it allows participants to form strong bonds with peers that they can connect with for new friendships that often last beyond rehab treatment

Individual Therapy Benefits

Individual therapy also provides several benefits, such as providing a safe and confidential space for the individual to explore their emotions and feelings openly and honestly. In addition, therapists work with the individual to help them uncover and identify the causes of their addiction and addictive behaviors. Another important benefit of individual therapy is improving self-awareness while developing constructive ways of dealing with stressful situations and triggers. 

Is Group Therapy Better Than Individual Therapy?

Deciding whether group therapy is better than individual therapy depends on the individual’s particular needs. It is equally important to note that group therapy does not necessarily replace individual therapy or vice versus. Both types of therapy are beneficial and are often used as complementary therapies. 

However, some individuals may feel more comfortable with one type of therapy over the other. Yet, it is essential for individuals starting rehab treatment to utilize all the resources available to them in order to get the most well-rounded and effective substance addiction treatment available as they begin their recovery journey. 


Group therapy and individual therapy are both effective treatments for substance use disorders. While the actual treatment and duration of each will vary from person to person, both offer beneficial approaches in helping those struggling with addiction work towards long-term sobriety. Individuals should consult with their therapist to determine the best treatments for them depending on their unique needs and situation.

Start a New Life With Compassionate Rehab in Orange County, CA

Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County, California, is an IMS and JCAHO-accredited rehab center that offers caring, compassionate, and personalized rehab treatment. From group therapy to individual therapy, our caring professionals are dedicated to providing the best treatments and resources for successful recovery.

Contact us today for more information.


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      Ashley Levin

      Clinical Director

      Ashley always knew she wanted to be a therapist since she was 13 years old. Ashley believes in helping individuals and families by encouraging openness in communication, restoring trust to self and others, and setting boundaries. Ashley started as an Associate Marriage and Family therapist in 2016 and obtained her license in 2019. Ashley is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Attachment Behavioral Therapist. Ashley has experience in working with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of different settings. Ashley obtained her Bachelor’s in Psychology from California State University Long Beach in 2013 and received her Masters Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy in 2015.