At The Orchid, we believe that women best heal from substance dependency as individuals in an honest, supportive, loving group of other women. A large part of our group process work is designed to encourage Relational Growth, a concept first identified and defined by Dr. Karen Dodge during her work with addicted and alcoholic women. During her 20 years of work with addicted women, Dr. Dodge intuited that the conventional explanations and treatments of addiction — based largely on the studies of male alcoholics and addicts — did not fit the realities that she saw every day.
As Dr. Dodge investigated further, empirical research confirmed her observations. Female addicts and alcoholics showed some striking differences to the “typical” — usually meaning male — alcoholic. Specifically, it was discovered that female substance abuse was strongly correlated with low self-esteem, symptoms of depression, fewer traditional job skills and, most importantly, a lack of a strong social support network.
She surmised that women have a natural affinity and need for building connections and community with other women. When trauma, fears and other psychological barriers inhibit women from connecting to other women, sobriety becomes even more challenging to achieve. However, when women learn to trust one another and build a loving and supportive community, that community can form a strong base for individual healing and recovery.
There’s a real benefit for a woman in recovery to have other women with similar stories and backgrounds around to help make sense of their current situation.
Group Dynamic Therapy at The Orchid serves to strengthen and encourage the building of these female communities among our clients. Professional therapists help women to understand and work through the trust, shame and fear issues which prevent intimacy with other women. The all-female group sessions open women up to freely and openly share the feelings and thoughts that they might never discuss in mixed meetings.
During these sessions, Orchid clients frequently realize just how much they have in common with one another, and with recovering women everywhere. In the process, these clients often discover, or rediscover, the joys of close feminine friendships and the valuable support these friendships can offer. When these clients leave The Orchid, they not only have a strong recovery network of women to rely on, but also a new sense of trust and openness to create new networks in their own community.