Becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol is often a slow process that takes hold invisibly so that that the person involved rarely notices when the line has crossed between regular use and being controlled by the substance. When it happens, a great number of changes—usually negative—occur in the person’s life, and this often results in a gradual, downward spiral that can be difficult to overcome. Many techniques and treatments exist to help people to confront these issues, and one of the most unusual and effective is known as Psychodrama for addiction. If you’d like to know more, just contact our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770 for details.
What Is Psychodrama Therapy?
Everyone is unique, and thus, people will have different responses to different things and different types of therapy. What will work for someone with strong visual flair, such as art therapy, may not be appropriate for someone with no interest in art, but strong religious conviction. In that case, faith-based therapy may be a better alternative. Then there is psychodrama therapy, which has had a broad application for decades now, and can act as an effective complementary form of holistic addiction treatment in addition to many other types of therapy.
Psychodrama is a carefully structured form of art—in this case, the art of acting—that is incorporated into a treatment plan for therapeutic value. Almost all of us have been a part of a theatrical experience in some way, whether that’s watching the acting in a play, movie or television program, or participating in drama ourselves in school, or some other point in our lives.
How Psychodrama Therapy for Addiction Works
It’s important to note that psychodrama therapy doesn’t force anything on anyone. If actually being an acting participant goes too far beyond the comfort level of a person in recovery, he or she will not be forced to do it. In fact, if psychodrama is not an appropriate or effective treatment for an individual, it won’t be used at all.
But it’s often worthwhile to give it a chance. Psychodrama for addiction can reveal many things that a person never suspected if they are receptive to it. For example, one psychodrama exercise for people in addictive situations is “role reversal,” where, rather than playing the part of the addict, which was their personal experience in their life, they take on the role of someone else, such as a concerned friend or family member. In taking on this part and acting it out, participants often gain new insights, not just into themselves, but even a better understanding of how and why a person has behaved in the way they did to the addict. This insight often allows people to move forward with a greater sense of control about their own situation.
Psychodrama is Acting
Sadly, one of the casualties of substance addiction is all too often the relationships people forge with others. Addiction can create huge divides between people that were formerly very close to each other. In other cases, addiction, can destroy the trust an addict once had in other people as the spiral of addiction forces them into contact with people willing to take advantage of their desperation. It’s not uncommon for an addict, at the beginning of the recovery process to have a lot of work to do in starting—or rebuilding—relationships with other people.
However, once detoxification and withdrawal are over, simply putting a person back in their old life is not going to repair the damage that’s already been done. That is going to take work, and often it will also take the acquisition of new social skills, more empathy, and stronger bonds to make these connections. Equine therapy treatment is a safe way to undergo this process with a partner that is not judgmental, biased or harboring a personal or ulterior motive; a horse.
Working to Build Trust
The true purpose of Psychodrama Therapy, as it is with any other form of addiction therapy, is to take the issues, feelings and obstacles that are central to an addiction, and put them in a place where they can be safely, openly examined, discussed and dealt with. Physical addiction is just one component of the addiction cycle, and while the physical addiction can be relatively “quickly” addressed with a supervised detox and withdrawal period, that only requires time and a little bit of medical care.
To overcome the psychological factors that enable or led to addiction is a completely different challenge that takes time, effort, knowledge and patience. Psychodrama Therapy is one more vehicle for enabling this. By allowing people to watching someone else’s experience, or act it out, it gives them a chance to step beyond their own personal boundaries and, in doing so, consider ideas they wouldn’t have.
When Psychodrama Therapy is Most Effective
Psychodrama therapy can be especially effective in a group therapy setting, where sharing similar experiences with others, and seeing other people discuss and act out their issues makes it easier to be open and honest. Psychodrama Therapy shows a recovering addict that he or she is not alone, and can, in fact, draw strength, encouragement and even friendship from others. While it’s not the only way to treat addiction, it has proven quite effective over the decades.