Psychodrama 101

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

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Substance abuse and drug addiction have become increasingly widespread over the last couple of decades. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the aggregate cost associated with substance abuse and addiction in the U.S. exceeds $712 billion, making drug use one of the most prevalent socioeconomic issues of today.

With drug addiction being such an issue of concern, people who suffer from addiction (and their loved ones) are looking for the best possible treatment options available. One of the oldest and yet consistently successful treatment modalities for drug addiction is psychodrama. Psychodrama is a form of therapy in which the individual experiences correction by re-experiencing certain events combined with active expression and role rehearsal.

Psychodrama Incorporates Group Activity into Addiction Treatment

According to Dr. Mark Young, psychodrama falls under the category of expressive therapy, and it provides a platform for therapists to use creative means in order to reach their clients in a group setting.

For someone who struggles with an addiction, the freedom to express themselves concerning a wide variety of issues can be powerful in helping them confront the emotional and social triggers that are at the core of the addiction.

Psychodrama is ideal for use in conjunction with other creative arts therapy sessions. Additionally, it fits perfectly in virtually any other type of talk therapy treatment modality.

How Psychodrama Works in Treating Addiction and other Mental Disorders

At its core, psychodrama is a treatment process that uses what are known as deep action methods to correct issues that have been identified by individuals in the group. Basically, the individual can act out different events that have taken place in their history, functioning as a protagonist whose specific issues are representative of the primary elements within the group.

In other words, psychodrama is a type of treatment therapy that is most effective in treating addiction when those in the group are dealing with similar disorders. For people struggling with addiction, the people in their group will likely be battling an addiction as well.

The Psychodrama Process

In psychodrama therapy, scenes are enacted as close as possible to the way they actually unfolded. Emphasis is placed on uncovering the feelings and emotions that the original event evoked. Members of the group play certain roles, including the expression of external emotions expressed by others during the original event.

Psychodrama allows the individual struggling with the addiction to identify specific emotions that may not have been identified during the original experience. Because cognitions play a major role in the development of psychopathologies, identifying emotions and thoughts that were not clearly identified during the initial experience can be helpful in discovering specific emotional triggers that led to the substance abuse and subsequently resulted in the addiction.


[1] Staff. (2015). Trends and Statistics. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

[2] Young, M. (2015). Psychodrama and Creative Couples Counseling. University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

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