Psychodrama Therapy

Addiction treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Most substance abuse recovery programs involve various treatment modalities, including talk therapy, medication, group therapy, and experiential therapies, like psychodrama. Studies have shown that psychotherapy positively impacts people who struggle with mental health disorders and addiction.

What is Psychodrama?

Psychodrama is a form of therapy where individuals explore their mental and emotional issues through acting and drama.

Role-playing and group dynamics are two essential aspects of psychotherapy because they allow people to openly express their conflicts, relationship struggles, and other concerns in a safe space.

One of the main concepts behind psychotherapy is that people can better understand their emotional and behavioral issues through creativity and physical expression. Acting allows them to view their situation and struggles from an outsider’s perspective, which can be a catalyst for problem-solving and finding solutions to personal challenges.

Psychodrama was initially developed in the early 1900s by psychiatrist Jacob Moreno, a proponent of group therapy who held a keen interest in theater and philosophy. In 1925, Moreno moved to New York City and began experimenting with acting and dramatization with his patients. This technique would later become known as psychodrama therapy.

How Does Psychodrama Work?

Psychodrama is a unique treatment approach because it’s not individual therapy.
Sessions are run and managed by a trained, licensed psychodrama director. Psychodrama sessions are typically held weekly for several hours in a small group of 8-12 people.

During a psychodrama session, participants take turns acting out their emotional, behavioral, and mental obstacles. The other group members in attendance often play accompanying roles, like a mother or brother, as necessary. The psychodrama director leads each scene and other people in attendance act as the audience.

Psychodrama is very similar to traditional acting. Most sessions break down into three sections—the warm-up, the action phase, and the sharing phase. This breakdown allows participants to get comfortable with their environment, get to know their audience, and tap into the inner feelings that they want to share with the group.

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There are several different techniques used in psychodrama therapy. Some of the most common approaches include:

  • Soliloquy: Soliloquy is a psychodrama technique where the protagonist orates their thoughts, feelings, and inner dialogue to the audience members and the director.
  • Empty chair: With the empty chair technique, the protagonist sits in front of an empty chair, representing a person, situation, object, or themselves. The protagonist can talk to the empty chair and express their feelings as if someone or something was there.
  • Role reversal: During role reversal, the protagonist plays the role of someone else in their life, which helps them understand how their actions affect other people around them. The protagonist becomes more empathetic when using this technique.
  • Mirroring: With mirroring, the protagonist sits back while one or several audience members act out the situation or feelings they are experiencing. This technique helps the protagonist see the scene from a different perspective and witness their thoughts and behaviors as if they were looking into a mirror.
  • Doubling: Doubling is a technique where a group member or the director will stand behind the protagonist and mimic their behaviors while vocalizing the thoughts or emotions they believe the protagonist is feeling. The protagonist constructively understands their actions by using this technique.
  • Surplus reality: Surplus reality is a technique that involves acting out scenes that haven’t occurred or performing things that didn’t happen. This approach is a common technique for people who suffer from OCD, anxiety, and trauma disorders.
family therapy

If you are considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, call us today.

How is Psychodrama Used in Addiction Recovery?

Often, people dealing with addiction or mental health issues keep their emotions inside and avoid sharing them with the outside world for fear of judgment or rejection.
Bottling up these emotions can lead to feelings of isolation and create an internal turmoil that can fuel substance abuse in the form of self-medication.

Recovering addicts can benefit from psychodrama therapy because it allows them to practice self-expression and feel more comfortable opening up about the way they’re feeling. Psychodrama provides a safe environment for recovering addicts to let go of the negative thoughts and emotions they are holding onto, which is an essential step toward sobriety.

Group therapy is beneficial for people with addiction issues because individuals can relate to other recovering addicts within their group. Everyone has lived similar experiences, which makes people feel heard, seen, and understood. That’s something that can be difficult to achieve through one-on-one therapy.

In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.

Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.

Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.

People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.

Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

Treatment for Addiction in Los Angeles

At Nexus Recovery, we specialize in addiction treatment for people of all ages.
We offer three levels of care, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and traditional outpatient programs, with flexible schedules and programming to meet every client’s unique needs.

Our addiction recovery programs offer the best possible designed holistic wellness treatment in the area. We strive to treat individuals on a physical, mental, and spiritual level, so each client can achieve lasting recovery and live a healthier life. Some of the therapies we offer include CBT, DBT, psychodrama, nutrition counseling, mindfulness training, career planning, life skills coaching, and more.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, contact a recovery advisor (888) 855-6877.

managing mental health after treatment

In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.

Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.

Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.

People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.

Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, we’re here to help. Contact us today and speak with one of our trusted recovery advisors.

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