Overcoming addiction is a complicated internal battle that requires great emotional fortitude to effectively address. However, even the act of confronting one’s deeper feelings and behaviors can be an incredibly difficult barrier to overcome. Presenting those in recovery with an outside perspective of their thoughts, feelings, and actions can add the perspective needed to strengthen one’s understanding of their own situation, creating effective and personal recovery routes. Psychodrama is one option to explore these perspectives, and its implementation can help each individual confront their own emotions and behaviors all while learning about peers, deepening trust, and developing meaningful relationships with those on a similar journey.
What is Psychodrama?
Psychodrama uses acting, drama, and creativity to explore deeper feelings and thought patterns throughout one’s recovery. This can involve a number of different approaches, from role-playing in situations to exercises in embodying other characters, thus embracing new methods of thinking.
This experiential practice is typically explored in a group format to help participants collectively better understand each other, become more sympathetic, and embrace trust and new perspectives in their own lives. Typical exercises will include role-playing, mirroring, practices in playing a character as represented by multiple people, one person acting while the other provides the actions a voice. These practices create effective communication between participants while showcasing the various ways in which events can be perceived and the complex emotions that are present throughout any given scenario.
Breaking Down a Session
Psychodrama practices happen in a couple of phases. First where a scene is introduced and actors get to explore the various ways they can play their characters, their emotional and physical responses, and work to create a better understanding of the scene in general before the second phase, where the scene is performed. Once a scene has concluded, the group is then provided a chance to reflect on the actions and perceptions therein, allowing each member to speak, be heard, and express their own creative approach to any given response or prompt.
This method of communication can be exceptionally effective in building bridges between participants. Not only can it be common that multiple people are portraying similar emotions in different ways, but it is also possible that role-reversals can take place in a particular scene and showcase how certain words or actions can be interpreted in various ways.
This practice is exemplary in demonstrating how the other is an important part of the recovery process and one’s perspective to thinking about how their own actions have impacted their loved ones. This tangible approach to psychodrama can then empower an individual with the understanding needed to embrace new communication techniques and begin working to repair relationships in their lives.
Having an Expressive Outlet
Emotions can be difficult to navigate, and having a space to act out one’s emotions can be instrumental in processing their very real effects. While playing a character that is angry, sad, or anxious may be a part of the scene, an individual is encouraged to channel these very real emotions in a secure space where not only are they rewarded for expressing these emotions, but are also encouraged to let them out in a safe way. Regardless of the reason these emotions are brought up, having an outlet is still an essential element to recovery.
Navigating Unknown Emotional Responses
One of the major boons of this approach is that it allows each actor to explore their inherent emotional responses in a number of given situations. There can be a number of repressed feelings and memories that come with recovery, and having space to process while physically and mentally working through these feelings can be paramount. It is also possible that during these scenes, new emotions can come to light, and an individual can better explore their own inherent responses to stimuli, making psychodrama an incredible supplement to other cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Having a creative outlet for self-expression, in whatever form it may take, is crucial throughout the recovery process. Psychodrama can allow an individual not to just explore their own emotional state, but to also practice expressing the traits that they wish to embody in their recovery in a creative way. Using this space to practice self-affirming language, explore saying “no,” or working to express one’s own opinions in social situations to improve their sense of voice are all powerful, transformative expressions crucial to the recovery process. While acting in character can be done for the sake of the scene, taking these lessons and performances to heart can embrace a new level of understanding and identity for a very real future.
Psychodrama can be a unique and powerful experience that can help you discover new ways to approach your own sober journey, embrace new perspectives and values, or begin to understand how one’s actions can be felt by their closest friends and loved ones. At Avalon Malibu, we understand and embrace this perspective in order to help you begin to navigate these complex and heavy emotions and employ psychodrama as an option for your unique recovery journey. Whether you are just beginning your sober journey in our detox program or navigating out residential, partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient programs, we are ready to help you personalize your transformative journey to sobriety with psychodrama, art and music therapy, education, acupuncture, and much more all available to allow you to customize and personalize your unique path to profound and sustained sobriety. For more information on how we can help you create your own recovery plan, call us today at (844) 857-5992.