Guided Re-Enactments that Encourage Individual and Group Healing
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What Is Psychodrama?
Psychodrama is a type of experiential therapy. Developed in the early 1900s, psychodrama primarily uses activities like role-playing, props, guided re-enactments, role reversal, and mirroring to recreate an emotional experience that assists clients in addressing subconscious or hidden emotions and thoughts associated with those experiences. The ultimate goal of psychodrama is to encourage clients to release and address negative emotions such as shame or anger as they re-experience these situations under the guidance of a therapist.
The act of experiencing something is not a mental process, rather, it is something that is felt on a more emotional level. In psychodrama activities, the role of the therapist is to guide the client into re-enacting a scenario in a safe space and then encouraging them to listen to what that experience has to say to them. This process is typically completed in a group setting to facilitate healing and personal growth in a wide variety of situations.
Experiential therapy and psychodrama are commonly used in drug and alcohol rehab programs and are very beneficial in treating substance abuse, trauma, and behavioral problems. Psychodrama can also be used to address maladaptive relationship patterns and improve the functionality of current relationships.
Benefits of Psychodrama and Experiential Therapy
- Encourages healing of the family unit during rehab
- Helps clients develop a greater sense of self-awareness and perspective
- Teaches clients how to express their needs in a healthy manner
- Fosters personal growth emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically
How Psychodrama Is Used in Addiction Treatment
At Nova Recovery Center, experiential therapy is used in some educational groups and in our Family Program. During our family workshop, we use Family Sculpting or psychodrama to address codependency issues and the complexities of family dynamics.
During one such exercise, we use hula hoops as a prop and visual aid to represent boundaries. The therapist first uses the hula hoops to show clients how relationships should look and then asks clients to use them to demonstrate how their own relationships look. This challenges both the client and their family members by visually showing them the issues related to their personal relationships and also provides an opportunity for the therapist to create actionable conversation with questions such as, “Why do you need to have control of another person?” or “Why are you allowing someone else to keep you inside of their hoop?”
Psychodrama at Nova is used as a tool to develop meaningful conversations about boundaries, relationships, codependency and other family challenges. These conversations are excellent teaching tools that help clients and their families address anger, frustration and other negative emotions, heal from past hurt, and begin developing strategies to improve the functionality of their relationships and family dynamic.
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