How Co-Ed Group Therapy Helps Aid Recovery

How Co-Ed Group Therapy Helps Aid Recovery

There are many successful resources for people struggling to overcome addiction, even just at Enlightened Solutions alone. For every treatment method offered, counseling is a resource that is available to every one of our clients. We offer group co-ed therapy as well as individual therapy since not everyone is comfortable sharing their experiences in front of others.

Before you dismiss the idea of co-ed therapy, let’s take a look at some of the reasons it has high success rates. You may find that it’s worth giving a chance, in addition to or instead of individual therapy.

The Wisdom of Mixed-Gender Discussion

At other addiction treatment facilities, it’s common for men and women to be separated, even though they’re all there to discuss the same issue. There are some valid reasons for this, as many people turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with intimate traumas like sexual abuse. For people with that background, it’s understandable why they may feel more comfortable in single-gendered spaces. It’s also why co-ed therapy is never something that is forced on our clients.

However, part of group therapy, in general, is to benefit from the wisdom and experiences that others bring to the table.

Not everyone is in the same place in their journey of recovery; some may be further along on that road than others. Some may be getting treatment at a facility for a second or third time. Group therapy allows people to learn from the experiences of others, whether it’s through lessons learned from past mistakes, healing strategies, coping mechanisms that worked (and ones that didn’t), and much more.

Life is experienced differently by men and women, and while not everything shared in co-ed therapy may be directly applicable, it provides a wider scope to understand the effects of addiction.

Meaningful Connections in Co-Ed Therapy

At the start of addiction treatment, single-gender groups are recommended before co-ed ones. This is because the start of treatment can be overwhelming, and introducing the dynamic of co-ed therapy may be uncomfortable. Understandably, we want to remove as many stumbling blocks as we can in order for clients to get the most out of treatment. As clients move further along in our programs, becoming more comfortable with the new environment and the people they meet here, co-ed therapy can become a valuable tool for processing and understanding the nuances of addiction.

In co-ed therapy, we aim to facilitate a healthy dynamic between clients who are sharing parts of their lives with us. In order to accomplish this, we aim to diminish distractions by guiding discussion in the following ways:

  • We keep the focus on gender-specific issues that men and women face, as it relates to substance abuse and addiction.
  • We ensure our clients are comfortable and feel safe in this space.
  • We aim to increase participation by developing self-confidence rather than by pressuring people to share who may do more listening than speaking.
  • We aim to remove gender-specific boundaries and expectations that exist outside of the treatment facility, so everyone is on equal footing.

The Benefits of Co-Ed Group Therapy

Not only are the experiences of men and women different, but so are their thought processes. Even talking about the same topic can yield many unique perspectives that members of one gender or the other may never have considered.

Improves Relationships

Since addiction is an issue that affects relationships with family, or perhaps even originated at home, the perspectives of men and women shared in therapy can help clients better understand the nuances of their relationships with mothers and fathers, or husbands and wives. This may be a limited understanding, but it can help enable clients to improve relationships with these family members once they return from treatment.

Men and women can also offer advice or suggestions for the opposite gender on how to address sensitive issues surrounding addiction, as it relates to mixed-gendered relationships. It’s also true that, while many people relate better to members of their own gender, some people are the opposite.

Strengthens Communication Skills

Co-ed therapy is one way to create an environment in which people of all types of communication styles feel comfortable. While the differences between the genders are significant, there are also more commonalities than perhaps many people realize. Clients may find that they are more equipped to engage with the opposite gender upon leaving treatment and returning back to their daily lives.

Co-Ed Therapy at Enlightened Solutions

At Enlightened Solutions, we understand that there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” approach to treatment. Clients are assessed and recommended specific treatment modalities on an individual basis. Some may be recommended for co-ed therapy, while others will not. An atmosphere of trust and safety is critical for any kind of treatment method to be successful.

At the same time, it’s also important to recognize that much of daily life is filled with interactions between both genders. Therefore, it is important to learn (or re-learn) how to build positive interactions and relationships, and the safe space offered at Enlightened Solutions is a great place to do that. As clients transition to life outside of treatment, the skills they learn in co-ed therapy will serve them well as they form new relationships in daily life, or attempt to rebuild old ones.

No matter what type of treatment method you're looking for, Enlightened Solutions is likely to provide it. We evaluate and assess our clients based on many factors, including (but not limited to) physical and mental health, the severity of the addiction, past experiences, and present needs. Our assessment is thorough and conducted by licensed professionals who are as compassionate as they are knowledgeable. The treatment approach of our facility centers around holistic methods, which are intended to facilitate healing in the mind, body, and spirit; not just in the physical body. To learn more, call us at (833) 801-LIVE to speak with our staff. Don't wait any longer to begin your healing journey.


What Are the Benefits of Co-ed Group Therapy in Addiction Treatment?

What Are the Benefits of Co-ed Group Therapy in Addiction Treatment?

In 1990, the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus reached the forefront of society and changed our perspectives on gender. Suddenly, we focused on the differences between men and women instead of focusing on how different genders complement one another. While the experience of men differs from that of women, one can accept the fact that struggle is a part of life, and for some, both men and women, that struggle includes addiction to alcohol or other substances.

Addiction does not discriminate between genders. Men and women are both at risk of developing dysfunctional behaviors. Having specialized gender-based group therapies is critical to the growth of the individual and to one’s recovery from mental health conditions. However, having a mixed-gender group might enable participants to better understand themselves and communicate more effectively with all persons in their lives as well as develop more effective and varied coping strategies.

While many facilities focus on providing specific gender resources in treatment, at Enlightened Solutions, we offer a unique treatment program that is co-ed. Our program enables individuals to enhance their communication skills in varied circumstances and safely discuss the effects of their addictive behaviors with others.

Co-ed Groups Facilitate Communication

Different genders have different methods of communicating. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests that women often defer to men in conversations, limiting their own interactions and focusing more on the needs of the other gender. Therefore, gender-specific groups can be helpful to women and men separately but do not always help individuals in communicating beyond treatment.

By combining men and women in one co-ed group and providing proper staff facilitation, women and men can learn how to communicate more effectively with other genders and improve their possibility of success in recovery. Another benefit of co-ed groups is related to the differences in one’s capacity to connect to their own gender. Some men are better able to communicate with women, and some women feel more compatible with men as friends than they do with other women. While having single-sex groups is important to facilitate growth, co-ed groups provide different opportunities for growth for all participants.

Men and Women May Cope Differently

There are two different coping patterns: problem-focused and emotion-focused. In an article on sex differences in coping strategies, researchers explain that men are more likely to use problem-focused coping strategies, whereas women are more prone to using emotion-focused coping strategies. With both strategies, one attempts to alleviate distress, but the efficacy of the strategy varies between persons and processes dependent upon the stressor.

The article further explains that women are more prone to apologizing for their behaviors and susceptible to depression and anxiety-related disorders as opposed to their male counterparts. Men are less likely to focus on emotional response, thereby limiting their ability to communicate their feelings and understand the emotions of others.

A benefit of co-ed group therapy is the meshing of coping strategies. Men can learn how to cope with their emotions in a more sustainable manner, and women can more effectively learn problem-focused coping skills. With the combination of genders, there is more opportunity for growth and development of a balanced outlook on life and recovery using different coping skills.

Benefits of Co-ed Groups for Life After Treatment

Life after treatment involves reintegration into your family, friend, work, and community life. In traditional single-gender treatment settings, there may be a sense of culture shock as you rejoin the world after treatment. Co-ed treatment, on the other hand, can help ameliorate the risk of culture shock by integrating all genders in treatment and providing you with comprehensive care aimed at helping you succeed in recovery both in and after treatment.

Not only will you be better prepared for life in the real world after treatment with co-ed groups, but you will also be better equipped to communicate with your romantic partner and other family members of another gender. You will have a better comprehension of the differences in communication styles and emotional responses between genders. You will be able to recognize fallacies in your own thinking as you engage with others. You will also be better prepared to help others recognize your needs without the manipulation of others’ coping strategies.

A final benefit of co-ed groups is learning and developing boundaries between yourself and other genders. While in active addiction, you may have forgotten communication styles and how to best support yourself without infringing on the boundaries of others in your life. Your partners and family members have also experienced your addictions. As you navigate co-ed treatment, you will learn the benefits of boundaries between genders and develop an understanding of others’ limitations, which will significantly impact your relationships with others as you reintegrate into your life after treatment. Recovery is possible, but communication, positive coping skills, and definitive boundaries are necessary for your success.

Men and women communicate and cope with stressors differently, which is why co-ed therapy can be so educational and beneficial. At Enlightened Solutions, we recognize the value of incorporating co-ed groups in our treatment. We know that all genders can teach others different methods of responding to problems, better enabling you to achieve success in recovery. We know you have the power to overcome addiction. We believe open communication in co-ed groups will help you succeed in recovery after you leave treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you need not feel alone in your struggle any longer. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a variety of programs from inpatient to outpatient, and we want to ensure your success in recovery. We know you have the power to change and we want to help you. Call us at (833) 801-LIVE and ask how we can help.