According to the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, psychodrama is a form of therapeutic intervention that uses guided drama exercises and actions led by a trained therapist to explore and improve upon individual and group issues. It is an active and creative approach that uses role-playing to address and resolve problems head-on. Psychodrama sessions provide a secure, safe, nonjudgmental environment where individuals can share personal experiences and stories, learn new ideas, and practice new methods for moving forward.

The Goal of Psychodrama

Psychodrama is a hands-on technique that can provide individuals with new and additional insights into themselves, their emotions, and their actions through role-playing, acting, and watching others in the group do the same. It is an active therapy method that can improve self-confidence and self-reliance to enhance how recovering individuals interact with the world around them. By better understanding themselves, people in recovery can better learn how to interact with others within the confines of family and other social groups.

Ultimately, the goal of psychodrama is to address and release negative emotions such as shame or anger as participants re-experience these situations under the guidance of a trained therapist. The role of the therapist is to guide the client into re-enacting a scenario in a safe space and then encourage them to listen to what the experience has to teach them.

How Psychodrama Works

There are three crucial phases of psychodrama. The first phase is the warm-up phase, which allows the participants in the group to introduce themselves and develop trust, group unity, and a feeling of emotional safety.

Once group cohesiveness is established, participants transition into the action phase — the second phase of psychodrama. In the action phase, group members are guided through creating a scene based on an event in one of the group members’ lives. This group member is the protagonist and is portrayed by another group member. The therapist acts as the director and guides the protagonist.

The last phase of the psychodrama process is the sharing phase. Once the action phase is complete, the therapist leads a discussion of the scene and helps the group process emotions that may have surfaced as a result of the scene and any observations that might impact the protagonist. All group members are welcome to provide any insights they gained from the exercise. The hope is that this will lead to insight and transformation.

How Psychodrama Treats Trauma

When a person experiences trauma, often the memory is not processed by the brain but is stored in the body, and the thoughts and perceptions of the person who experienced the trauma become distorted. Psychodrama helps bring one’s past life experiences into the present and bridge the gap between the mind and the body, allowing healing to occur.

Often, people dealing with trauma keep their emotions inside and avoid sharing them with the outside world for fear of judgment or rejection. Creating a safe group environment allows those dealing with trauma to feel safe in vulnerability to process and heal from trauma.

How Psychodrama Treats Addiction

Psychodrama helps people dealing with addiction learn more about themselves and their emotions, deal better with problems, express genuine feelings, and enhance their social skills. Oftentimes in addiction treatment, individuals have the chance to explore the types of situations that could be triggering and where the effects of their addiction led to social and behavioral problems. Psychodrama therapy lets individuals understand how to better handle past situations that may arise again by learning how to manage possible triggers and stressors while improving communication skills, and family and social dynamics.

Furthermore, bottling up emotions can lead to feelings of isolation and create internal turmoil that can fuel substance use. Psychodrama provides a safe environment for those in recovery to let go of negative thoughts and emotions they may be holding onto, which is an essential step toward sobriety.

In cases of substance use disorders (SUDs), psychodrama can help treatment teams better diagnose personal and group concerns and therefore plan and execute improved treatment plans and individualized methods for recovery. Group therapy is also beneficial for people with SUDs because individuals can relate to others in recovery within their group.

The Benefits of Psychodrama

Psychodrama has many benefits when it comes to the recovery process. Some benefits may include:

  • Encouraging “normal“ brain patterns
  • Healing past experiences through reenactment
  • Encouraging individuals to practice empathy
  • Mending family dynamics and creating a stronger support system
  • Altering character flaws adopted by years of substance use
  • Promoting viewing a situation from multiple perspectives
  • Confronting feelings that were never properly dealt with

Finding Treatment Programs With Psychodrama Therapy

Psychodrama is a therapeutic art form in which counselors encourage clients to use their bodies as mediums for unearthing personal truths and healing from traumatic experiences instead of traditional verbal participation. These truths may be past experiences that individuals don’t necessarily recognize as having a significant impact on their emotions and behaviors, and learn how to work through them and change future outcomes. This all fosters an effective and successful healing process.

Psychodrama can be employed in addiction recovery programs to help individuals learn how to better manage stress, improve communication skills, engage in social situations, and learn healthy coping mechanisms through group sessions. If you or a loved one is looking for a holistic approach to addiction treatment, you might consider a program that utilizes psychodrama therapy. Here at Bella Monte Recovery Center in Desert Hot Springs, California, we take a holistic approach to treatment that involves psychodrama. Our integration of psychodrama will allow you to learn more about yourself, your emotions, and your addiction. At Bella Monte Recovery Center, we use psychodrama as a part of complete addiction treatment plans, which has proven to be a beneficial component to improving overall life functioning and sustaining a long and healthy recovery. To learn more about what we offer, call (800) 974-1938 today.