Everything You Need to Know About Psychodrama

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For decades, healthcare professionals have explored different ways to help treat things like mental illness and addiction. Unfortunately, these struggles often co-occur. For example, a person that is battling with substance use disorder (SUD) may also suffer from depression.

Addiction recovery is about treating the whole self, meaning that all aspects of well-being need to be addressed to sustain sobriety. Since everyone has unique ways of learning and responding, creative treatment techniques must be employed.

Psychodrama can be incredibly beneficial, as it allows people to express themselves in new ways while gaining insight into different perspectives.  



With psychodrama, dramatic interpretations are used to gain new understandings of situations that one may go through in their personal life. Similar to psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” psychodrama involves a specific setting, agenda, goal, and exploration component.

The biggest difference is that, while psychotherapy focuses mainly on verbal processing, psychodrama incorporates acting and role-playing. In a group therapy setting, different group members are assigned different roles, specific to the event or experience, with the hope of bringing new awareness to the many facets of the incident. Several psychodrama techniques exist, including:


  • Role Reversal – When one person acts out a scenario they’ve experienced with members of the group playing the other people involved. Afterward, members of the group will recreate the scenario a second time. However, this time the “main character” will play a role other than themselves, to increase awareness and perspective on the experience.
  • Mirroring – A group member takes on the original person’s role while they step back, allowing them to become witnesses to how they acted, what tone they used and what their body language said. Bringing this kind of awareness of their behavior allows the individual to learn from it. 
  • Modeling – Group members are asked to replay that very scenario and to react in their own ways. With this particular exercise, the original person can see different types of reactions acted out. This gives them a better sense of how they could handle these types of situations, as well as what types of reactions they could illicit based on what they choose to say and how they choose to behave.
  • Doubling – The original person in the group re-enacts the scene, but this time another group member is next to them, expressing out loud what the original person’s body language is conveying. Small motions, like clenching one’s fists, can say a lot – and this type of exercise will create an opportunity to learn these lessons.


Benefits of Psychodrama 

Reconstructing Identity

Previous studies have found that during a psychodrama session, a person may find that they act out what they perceive to be true. When this happens, a person expresses more than what they’d usually share in daily life.

Ultimately, this allows them to take on a more positive identity, as they’re able to act out how they’re feeling, something they may not have done in the real world


For those in addiction recovery, psychodrama provides an opportunity to take away the label of “addiction.” In doing so, the person may begin to identify with being a person in recovery, as opposed to an addict.

Psychodrama allows those in recovery to gain new insight, which helps them to gain confidence in their healing journey, becoming stronger as a result.


Gaining Emotional Healing

Unfortunately, people can’t go back in time to change a particular situation that they were in. They can’t change the outcome of that moment, because it has already happened. With psychodrama, however, people are given a chance to see things in a different light, which allows them to heal and grow stronger in their recovery, as a result.

There are so many topics that can be worked through with psychodramas such as trauma, grief, guilt, relationship issues and more. These issues and experiences speak to the heart. Gaining new understanding around them allows individuals to learn from their past to change their future.


Enhanced Connection to Others

It’s easy to believe that you’re the only one going through tough times. However, the reality is that you’re never alone in your experience. Despite the circumstances, human emotions are often the same.

Psychodrama therapy asks participants to connect with others and collaborate as a means of promoting growth and learning. For many in recovery, positive, supportive peer relationships are developed as everyone begins to learn more about each other and relate to one another.


Seek Help Today 

You don’t have to consider yourself an actor, artist, or creative person to participate in psychodrama therapy. Trained therapists will guide the activity.

Don’t wait any longer to start pushing your boundaries in recovery. Often, it’s in the discomfort that the greatest growth and insights take place.


Speak to a professional from Avalon Malibu about your options for treatment. It’s never too late to begin seeking help in ways that will change your life for the better. With a team of people who care about your success, you’ll be in the right hands. Call us for a consultation today, at 844-857-5992.

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