Opioid Epidemic in Boston has Spurred Healthcare Workers to Prioritize Medically Assisted Detox

What types of things are discussed during addiction, and how can they help addicts in their recovery

Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reported that calls to EMS involving heroin, or what was suspected as heroin, were up 20 percent in 2017, compared with 2016, [and] calls during which [naloxone], the drug that reverses an opioid overdose, was given were up 30 percent. (1)  Given the kind of drug use that EMTs witnessed on the city’s streets, it’s no surprise that more patients sought addiction treatment in Boston in 2017.

The opioid epidemic in Boston has spurred healthcare workers to prioritize medically-assisted detox and long treatment that emphasizes professional counseling, including group therapy and individual therapy.

One of the most common questions patients have is what group therapy involves, and what types of topics are discussed during these sessions.

Here’s a breakdown of group therapy, and what you can expect to talk about if you commit to a treatment program.

What Is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a treatment method that puts people struggling with similar addictions in a therapy session where they can freely discuss their feelings, experiences and issues.

The most important aspect of group therapy is developing a trust and a freedom to be able to express whatever you’re feeling in that moment.

There is almost no taboo subject in group therapy, although the counselor who supervises each session will provide some sense of structure to keep things from spiraling out of control.

Group therapy is the ideal forum for patients to feel safe and to bounce their thoughts and fears off people who are going through the same struggle.

Counselors often include addicts who are further along in recovery and can provide much-needed encouragement and perspective to people who are just beginning their recovery journey.

Group therapy is not one-size-fits-all, which means that counselors are free to structure their sessions in whatever way they think will be most effective.

For example, some group therapy sessions may be run as workshops, lectures and training groups, while others may use creative therapies like music, drama, poetry and even art to spur communication and healing.

Although numbers will vary, many group therapies involve six to 12 members that meet for sessions that can last between one hour and three hours several times a week.

In some instances, a behavioral counselor may find that group therapy should be limited to women only or men only to create the safest and most comfortable environment possible.

Benefits of Group Therapy

Some of the benefits of group therapy for addicts include: (2)

  • Makes You Feel Less Isolated – Some addicts feel like no one understands what they’re going through, but group therapy helps you realize that addiction is a disease that afflicts many people.
  • Lets You Encourage Others – In group therapy you get the opportunity to not just receive counseling, but to also encourage others through your own unique perspective. Helping others has the positive effect on making you feel like you can be of value to another human being, and that can strengthen your own recovery.
  • Helps Improve Communication – Communication is a big part of recovery, because you must be able to relate to your friends, family members and colleagues as honestly as possible to help you change your past negative behavior.

It’s important to remember that some patients attend both group therapy and individual therapy to provide them with the most comprehensive treatment possible.

Group Therapy Topics

Each group therapy is different, but there are some common topics that often crop up, including:

  • Relapse Triggers – Relapse is a real issue for many addicts in recovery. That’s why discussing possible triggers to a relapse is a popular topic that can help you understand the warning signs of a relapse, and how to take action to prevent you going back to your old habits.
  • Family Relationships – Family issues are a big aspect of addiction, so discussing existing and past problems between you and your family members can help unearth buried pain and trauma that impacts addiction.
  • Establishing Routine – Developing a healthy and positive daily routine is one of the most important ways to replace negative behavior and bad decisions with positive behavior and good decisions. Group members can talk about the routines they have established to help keep them on the recovery track.
  • Goal Management – Goal management is another important topic, because it helps patients begin the process of changing their mindset about what their future will look like. Before recovery, the main goal of most addicts was to find a way to get drugs or alcohol. Treatment is all about building up to a different kind of lifestyle, with tangible goals that have nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.

Where To Get Addiction Treatment in Boston

If you are wondering where to get addiction treatment in Boston, there are hundreds of public and private facilities that offer these services. But before you commit to one, you have to know exactly what you want out of your treatment.

Are you able to commit to a residential facility for a month or more to give yourself a strong chance of staying on the recovery track? Are you only looking to go through detox, because you don’t have the time for inpatient treatment? Do you want to attend an outpatient program that works with your schedule?

Serenity at Summit New England Addiction Treatment Centers in Haverhill, Massachusetts are 45 minutes from Boston, and offer treatment options to match every situation. Please call one of our counselors today at 978-574-5999.


  1. http://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2018/01/11/boston-opioid-overdose-deaths
  2. http://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2018/01/11/boston-opioid-overdose-deaths

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