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It’s not uncommon for your addiction to involve a suppression of important emotions that, when confronted, could help you understand your behavioral responses; however, the longer you mask these feelings, the more difficult it can be to acknowledge them individually during treatment. Conventional therapeutic modalities are highly effective, and they can also be paired with holistic approaches that encourage deeper levels of self-analysis. At Avalon Malibu, we consider the many ways you might feel comfortable expressing yourself because we know that the right combination will help you progress through recovery and achieve lifelong sobriety.

Many of our clients find that, through role-playing, they can better understand their own role in life, which can be made possible through psychodrama therapy. The treatment welcomes dramatic action as a way to gain new perspectives about events that have occurred in the past and reveal beneficial ways to approach each perspective going forward.

The goal of psychodrama is to give you a platform for self-analysis and interaction that goes beyond individualized therapy sessions with a counselor. The approach combines creativity, role-playing principles, and psychotherapy to uncover emotional and cognitive responses that increase your understanding of your personal truth and strengthen your mindset during recovery. Because therapy requires that you use your voice as well as your body as a part of role-playing, psychodrama is considered a holistic method for addiction treatment.

The Theory Behind Psychodrama

During a psychodrama therapy session, you can adopt certain roles and act out scenes from memories that you and your therapist think are responsible for your current behavioral tendencies. Psychodrama can either take place during individual therapy, between you and your therapist, or during group therapy with trustworthy people. Typically your therapist or another member of the group will play you while you take on the role of another prominent figure in your life, such as a family member or significant other. Having someone else portray your character during a scene can give you an outside perspective on yourself that you can discuss with your therapist later on. Your therapist will act as the director of your intended scene and use specific techniques to help it unfold in a way that is educational for everyone involved.

Psychodrama as a Technique for Addiction Treatment

At the root of most addictions are memories of events that may have triggered drug abuse. These events could have been an undiagnosed mental illness, the loss of a loved one, an unstable home environment or any other circumstance that has led to significant life change. You may find yourself consumed by these memories with the thought that you could have done something differently to change the outcome, and it’s this obsessive thinking that can turn into a pattern of abuse.

Not everyone can adjust to such abrupt changes in their lives , so they resort to drugs and alcohol to compensate for the uncomfortable emotions they are feeling; however, substances are only temporary solutions that will eventually require their continued use, leading to addiction. If you can confront your feelings, rather than suppress them, then you can establish a healthier way of meeting your personal needs.

Psychodrama prompts that confrontation by allowing you to perform the conflicts that have led to your addiction; however, this is not to be mistaken for playing out traumatic experiences. At Avalon Malibu, we realize that there is nothing that can be done to change the specific events that occurred in your life. Instead, we focus on the behaviors that arose from a particular experience and address those individually. The scene you perform can either represent your feelings after an event occurred in your life or a hypothetical situation that has yet to happen, which can help you formulate solutions to the problems you are facing. Afterward, you, your therapist and the members of your group can process the scene and take meaning out of the emotions that were expressed. It’s this analysis that leads to transformation.

Establishing Trust within Your Group

The insight that you receive from psychodrama can be quite powerful, but it often takes time for clients to feel comfortable acting out scenes in front of their peers or their therapist. Psychodrama may begin as a one-on-one therapeutic option between you and your counselor with a transition into group therapy later on, but if you are starting treatment within a group, there are some steps we take to ensure your confidentiality during each session.

We screen individuals before placing them into psychodrama therapy to determine whether they are capable of handling sensitive issues. Your therapist will also discuss the importance of non-disclosure during your therapy session. Before you begin acting, it may be beneficial to ease into treatment through various warm-up exercises that will help you feel safe expressing yourself later on.

Psychodrama can help you uncover the buried emotions within your addiction and enable you to have conversations about who you are and where you would like to be. You can find the answers you are seeking and use them to facilitate your recovery in and outside of treatment at Avalon by the Sea, Malibu. If you would like more information about psychodrama therapy, or to learn more about other treatment methods we offer, contact us at 888-958-7511 and schedule a personal interview with a member of our staff.

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