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Why Gender-Specific Therapy Groups Matter

Jun 27, 2019

Men and women have a lot to learn from each other in the recovery process. Though their lives are different, from their anatomy to the way they experience life, men and women still share their humanity, which will always bond them to each other. In mixed therapy groups, men and women have an opportunity to provide for each other in ways different from their same-gendered peers.

However, during the early recovery time period, there are complications in keeping men and women together in highly emotional settings.

In the early stages of recovery, our brains are still seeking the high of a dopamine surge (the brain chemical which communicates pleasure and reward throughout the brain) where it can. Attention from the opposite sex, as well as feeling emotionally or sexually connected, can fire off dopamine and lead to the same kind of obsessions which lead to problematic impulsive behaviors. For many people, romantic relationships can be a major threat to the recovery process and ultimately serve as a distraction from the deep and necessary work which needs to take place during treatment. As well, many men have trauma related to women and many women have trauma-related to men. Being together in a vulnerable setting can inhibit the therapeutic process, instead of encouraging growth.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-841-1033.

For this reason, among others, gender-specific therapy groups are especially important for the treatment process.

Men have a lot to gain from men and women have a lot to gain from women in gender-specific groups. Clinical studies show that men and women are able to connect more intimately through single-sex solidarity. In a safe space, women can share their female-specific experiences and men can share in their male-specific experiences. Both men and women pursuing recovery often express difficulty trusting members of their own gender. Oftentimes, men and women have been hurt by their parents, family members, friends, or strangers of the same gender. Through gender-specific therapy groups, broken relationship bonds and damaged foundations of trust can be rebuilt, providing a wealth of healing which can only come from the sacred space of men’s and women’s groups.


Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for mental illnesses and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting wellness. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1033.

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