What is Psychodrama Therapy?

Psychodrama therapy is a form of psychotherapy that relies on re-enactment, role-playing, and problem-solving. Generally, psychodrama therapy occurs in a group setting. However, it’s not a form of group therapy. Rather, it is a form of individual psychotherapy that occurs in a group setting.

During psychodrama therapy in Los Angeles, an individual describes a scenario that caused them distress or was difficult for them to manage. Then, the client takes on the role of the protagonist for this scenario. 

man and woman participating in psychodrama

Other members of the group act out other parties present in the situation and try to work through the client’s thoughts and feelings as they experience this situation again. 

Although roleplay is the most common psychodrama technique, there are other modalities, including:

  • Mirroring: The client acts out their experience. Then, another member of the group re-enacts what they saw so the client can watch.
  • Doubling: During the scenario, a client has a “double” who voices any thoughts or feelings that the client is unable to express. The client is also allowed to disown or correct any of the double’s statements.
  • Soliloquy: The client shares his or her thoughts to the group to build self-awareness and knowledge.
  • Role Reversal: Another person plays the client’s “protagonist” role while the client plays a secondary character. This encourages empathy and allows the client to see themselves through their own eyes.

Often, a session will incorporate some or all of these techniques to help the client fully understand the scenario and their feelings. Every day, we have to confront problematic situations. Some issues are smaller than others, but some can cause severe emotional distress. 

For especially difficult to process scenarios, psychodrama therapy can help an individual adequately evaluate and understand these situations. As part of a comprehensive addiction therapy plan at a Los Angeles treatment center, psychodrama can provide support for your recovery. 

How Psychodrama Therapy Helps Treat Mental Health Disorders

At the moment, it can be hard for an individual to process thoughts and emotions about a situation. When these things come as they happen, it can be hard to evaluate your exact feelings underneath everything else. 

Psychodrama therapy gives clients a second chance to fully understand those feelings and assess their reactions to the situation. Taking the scenario step-by-step and understanding how things affect them can help clients better understand their thought processes.

Additionally, this type of therapy helps to increase self-awareness and empathy. If a person reacted negatively in a situation and didn’t understand why then psychodrama gives them the chance to try the situation again or witness what their reaction loo

ked like from the outside. 

Having to experience the situation in someone else’s shoes gives the client a better idea of how their actions affect others. In the long run, this can encourage more thoughtful actions and decisions on the part of the client.

Psychodrama Therapy For Recovering Individuals That Have Experienced Trauma 

Psychodrama therapy is also incorporated into group therapy with individuals who have experie

nced a similar form of trauma. For example, this can be a group of patients that witnessed a school shooting or have experienced a natural disaster.

When individuals suffering from past trauma feel a threat to their safety, their bodies undergo chemical changes. If the individuals aren’t able to remove themselves from the situation, they experience a state of fight, flight, or freeze. This is how the body protects itself from harm. This results in a feeling of disassociation and numbness.

The individual may experience difficulty processing thoughts and feelings. As a result, they experience acute anxiety when no real threat is present. This occurs if the individual experiences a “traumatic trigger”. 

For example, driving by the place where the traumatic event occurred. Or, perhaps they’re talking to somebody that mentions something that reminds them of the traumatic event.

Trauma impacts the body and memories our brain retains. 

During role-playing in psychodrama therapy, recovering individuals will re-experience the thoughts, emotions, and memories of the event without allowing their bodies to shut down. The acting component of psychodrama therapy helps individuals tap into 

their sensorimotor level which can release bottled-up emotions.

Psychodrama therapy works primarily through actions rather than verbal communication. A trained therapist helps bring past experiences into the present so the individual can process them. Therapy in general can be enormously beneficial in helping the patient work through intense trauma.

Psychodrama therapy is especially beneficial when used in combination with individual treatment. We combine the use of psychodrama therapy along with other evidence-based forms of treatment. 

This allows us to create the most effective and tailored treatment plan for you. 

Trauma is a condition that affects the mind and the body, which is why psychodrama is suited for t

his condition. Clients can reframe their experiences and weave together formerly disconnected parts of themselves.

Psychodrama Therapy For Recovering Individuals Overcoming Addiction

Psychodrama therapy can be especially useful for those struggling with addiction too. At our recovery center, we aim to help individuals through many different forms of therapy. Therapy is a key component of treatment. Many of our members benefit from psychodrama therapy during addiction treatment.

Psychodrama therapy helps these individuals by allowing them to learn more about themselves, and process their emotions. It can also help teach individuals how to work through their problems, express genuine emotions, and improve their social skills. 

Group therapy can benefit individuals by improving the ability to communicate well with othe

rs. Group sessions explore similar experiences for people with addictions, such as the types of situations that could send them into a relapse or where the effects of their addictions led to social and behavioral problems. 

Psychodrama therapy helps them handle past and future situations better by teaching them how to deal with triggers and stresses and giving them practice with it. Research has even proven that psychodrama therapy successfully helped to recover individuals with heroin addictions. 

Why Therapy is the Central Focus of Addiction Treatment 

Therapy is a key component in addiction treatment because it addresses the recovering individual as a whole. Addiction is far more than a physical dependence on a substance. There are often underlying roots as to why the individual start

ed using in the first place. 

Individuals must be treated from the inside out to truly recover from addiction. Psychodrama therapy can help unwind these twisted emotional and mental roots.

Psychodrama therapy helps individuals address and work through negative thought patterns. Through therapy, they’ll begin to replace these patterns with much healthier coping mechanisms. Together, we’ll develop a toolkit of skills that help the individual to overcome temptations, cravings, and any other toxic habits. 

Following treatment, it is natural to experience temptations and cravings. However, this allows you to use those coping mechanisms taught in therapy. One of our goals at LA Detox is to do everything we can to prevent a relapse from occur

ring. Psychodrama therapy can be a major tool in preventing relapse. 

What are the Benefits of Therapy for Co-Occurring Disorders?

Before we go over the benefits of therapy, let’s explain co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders are when there’s both an addiction and mental health disorder at hand. For example, an individual may be struggling with depression and alcohol addiction simultaneously. 

In other cases, maybe the individual has PTSD and opioid addiction. Through dual diagnosis treatment, we can target these co-occurring disorders.

Therapy can be especially beneficial in individuals with co-occurring disorders. Another key form of therapy we integrate into treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). In conjunction with psychodrama therapy and other treatment services, CBT can help the individual form healthier coping mechanisms. 

SAMHSA’s Treatment Improvement Protocol No.42 goes on to validate cognitive-behavioral therapy as an effective form of treatment for co-occurring disorders. 

Through the combination of different therapies, CBT can specifically help by:

  • Teaching skills on how to teaching how to effectively work through negative thinking patterns
  • Helping the individual address and replace negative or self-deprecating thoughts and behaviors
  • Creating a toolkit of effective coping mechanisms
  • Privatizing mental health disorders as a foundation for developing a comprehensive treatment plan

Seek Help with Mental Health Treatment with LA Detox Today!

Learning to manage mental health conditions is a critical part of addiction recovery. Witho

ut proper therapy, clients will never understand the core causes of their addictions. Through modalities like psychodrama therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and trauma-focused therapy, clients can develop the skills they need to understand themselves and prevent relapse. 

Our luxury recovery center offers a wide range of services. This includes psychodrama therapy, extensive therapy, holistic care, support groups, and much more. We believe in the personalization of treatment for each member that walks through our doors. Through the highest quality of treatment, you can begin to see your true potential.

At LA Detox, we promise to treat each individual from the inside out. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here. We’re waiting for your call!

References:

https://www.academia.edu/9156324/The_Effectiveness_of_psychodrama_and_role_play_for_Treatment_of_Inpatients_with_Heroin_Addiction