Psychodrama Therapy in Addiction Treatment

There are tried and true ways to treat addiction. There are also innovative and interesting new practices. Talk therapy combined with support group work is a tried and true option. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “Behavioral therapies—including individual, family, or group counseling—are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment…Participation in group therapy and other peer support programs during and following treatment can help maintain abstinence.”1 Behavioral therapy is commonly used and often effective. However it is not the only treatment option, and it does not have to be used alone. Addiction treatment programs often branch out and provide different supplemental or complementary services such as psychodrama therapy. These support or expand on traditional treatment offerings. They can be vital to your or a loved one’s healing process.

What Is Psychodrama Therapy?

Therapists who provide psychodrama therapy believe that memories contribute to negative feelings in the present. These memories vary in content but typically involve having felt one or all of the following:

  • Misunderstood
  • Ignored
  • Emotionally wounded
  • Compelled to act out

These and other memories can leave you trapped in cycles of regret and abuse. Your memories begin to hurt you and hold you back.

Psychodrama aims to change this situation by provide patients with the opportunity to, “practice new and more effective roles and behaviors.”2 This sounds clinical, but therapy is anything but. Psychodrama keeps you engaged, interested and moving forward.

What Happens During Psychodrama?

Woman in psychodrama groupPsychodrama is not painful or difficult. It encourages you to act out your memories. Your therapist will ask you to give details about events or emotions in your past. He or she may play the role of a person from your past or present. He or she may ask you to do the acting. Psychodrama can also be held in group settings where other patients take on roles from your life or you take on roles from theirs.

Psychotherapy leads to insight. You may begin to see the motives of people who hurt you. You may begin to see how your words and actions have affected others. Over time you develop the strength and ability to express emotions you’ve kept hidden or never understood.

Does Psychodrama Therapy Work?

Psychodrama therapy isn’t an acting class. Therapists encourage people to talk and make sense of the things they feel, things that have happened and things that are currently happening in their lives. Psychodrama is helpful on its own. It can also be paired with other forms of therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This can allow you to take the insights you gain through psychodrama therapy and explore them further. The Arts in Psychotherapy found, “Psychodrama integrated with cognitive behavioral therapy…led to reduction in the level of depression, negative automatic thoughts, and dysfunctional attitudes of participants.”3 Psychodrama therapy can be a valuable form of intervention and treatment.

Interested in Psychodrama Therapy?

If you are interested in psychodrama therapy or in learning more about this recovery tool, call The Oaks at La Paloma. We have a long history of helping people overcome their addictions through an innovative combination of traditional and alternative care. Our holistic approach lets you access your creativity as you heal. In addition to psychodrama, we offer eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, exercise therapy, intensive family therapy and more. Please call us to learn more about recovery and what we can do for you.

1Principles of Effective Treatment.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dec. 2012. Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.

2What Is Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Sociodrama?American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama. N.d. Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.

3 Hamamci, Zeynep. “Integrating Psychodrama and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Treat Moderate Depression.” The Arts in Psychotherapy. 21 Apr. 2006. Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.