For years, researchers and psychologists alike have worked hard to identify more personalized forms of treatment that can help a person work through addiction recovery in a more holistic way. The psychological issues we face walking into addiction recovery isn’t an isolated event – for many, trauma and mental illness occur alongside recovery from addiction, but without the right tools, it becomes harder to heal. Addiction recovery is about treating the whole self, and since we all have different mindsets and ways of learning, a variety of tools can ensure that we get what we need in treatment. If you’re looking for a creative way to express yourself, learn from others and develop healthy coping mechanisms, psychodrama could be an excellent part of your treatment plan.
Psychodrama involves examining issues and other problems at a more dramatic level. It’s quite similar to psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy” or one-on-one therapy; the main key difference is that more creative practices are involved surrounding practice settings, format, goals, techniques and more. Creative movements tend to be involved with this type of practice, with several types of activities involved:
- Role Reversal – one person acts out a scenario they’ve experienced with members of the group playing other people involved. Afterward, they recreate the scenario – but the person who originally acted out the scenario plays a different role than they originally did. When this happens, the individual is able to gain a new perspective on the situation – and oftentimes, new insights occur.
- Mirroring – A group member takes on the original person’s role while they step back – allowing the person to see from a “bird’s eye” point of view of their own patterns of speech and behaviors. This type of exercise is often very eye-opening.
- Modeling – Group members are asked to replay that very scenario and to react in their own ways. The original person is able to see different scenarios played out, with the opportunity to discover how different reactions could have influenced the scenario at hand.
- Doubling – The original person in the group re-enacts the scene, but this time another group member is next to them, expressing out loud what the original person’s body language is conveying. This helps the original person see how their body language (such as clenching their jaw) comes across to other people.
Benefits of Psychodrama
With psychodrama, studies have shown that a person can enact aspects of their subjective reality that they probably didn’t get to before. This is often because when we’re thinking too objectively, we may be blocking ourselves from understanding our true thoughts and feelings – but with psychodrama, we’re able to break through some of that to discover what’s really going on. When this happens, a person expresses more than what they’d usually say in daily life – they break through the barriers that were holding them back before and take on a more positive social identity.
Through psychodrama, and the person can rid themselves of the typical labels that are placed upon them – such as “liar,” “addict” and “crazy person” – and can actually focus on who they are as an individual in recovery. It’s this new mindset that allows them to become more presently aware of what’s going on and how they could react to different situations. Psychodrama allows those in recovery to gain new insight, which leads to the development of resilience and a greater sense of self-worth.
We can’t go back in time to respond differently to the situations we’ve experienced, but sometimes we can recreate these situations so that we can gain some valuable insights. We’re able to see things in a different light – and that’s how we become wiser in recovery. Topics covered in psychodrama include relationship conflicts, trauma, grief, addiction, personality disorders and more; these sensitive topics tend to lie at the root of our belief system and working through them alongside a therapist means that we finally have a chance to let them out.
It’s easy to believe that we’re the only ones going through tough circumstances, but there’s truly a lot of people who’ve gone through difficult circumstances similar to ourselves, too. Psychodrama therapy asks us to connect with others and collaborate with them to promote growth and learning. For many in recovery, this moment of creativity and reflection enhances our connection to other people, which also serves to build a stronger and more cohesive support network as we heal in addiction recovery.
The best part about psychodrama therapy is that you do not have to be a self-proclaimed actor, artist, or creative person by any means. In psychodrama, a therapist will guide participants into the activities they will carry out – and you will not be alone. You’ll be given the chance to explore different ways of thinking and doing, and this will only enhance your recovery experience. Don’t wait any longer to start pushing your boundaries in recovery; that’s often when the most change will occur.
For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with mental health challenges, addiction, and substance use problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.