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How Drama Therapy Works During Addiction Treatment

There’s a persistent myth that drug use will enhance creativity. In fact, the opposite is the case. Substance abuse results in a shutdown of creativity and its expression. It’s just one of the reasons why more and more rehab centers now add drama therapy to their treatment options.

Drama Therapy in a Group Setting

Facilitators are at the heart of the action. Drama therapy may incorporate dance or spontaneous acting out. Sometimes, participants dramatize a feeling or thought pattern. In short, you never know what might come out in drama therapy.

And that’s okay. What makes the modality so useful is the participant’s ability to re-enact real situations. When words fail, these recreations give other group members a way of understanding the individual. It’s also a powerful method for connecting with a therapist outside of a formalized one-on-one setting.

How Drama Combines with Other Modalities

Expressive therapy is vital for the person who doesn’t do well with traditional, evidence-based talk therapies. It’s also a basic method for dealing with traumatic events of the past. At the heart of the technique is the ability to bring emotions into a scene. Because drug use stunts this part of a person’s ability to express, drama therapy can be a trigger for change.

Sometimes, a facilitator will instruct a person to enact a fictional character’s emotions. Doing so can help someone to connect with that particular aspect of a feeling. In other situations, the therapist will incorporate drama therapy in family therapy sessions. In this form of psychodrama, participants see one another through someone else’s eyes.

The sometimes-exaggerated facets of dramatic acting go a long way to bringing a person’s thoughts and feelings to life. These sessions can have a greater impact than some counseling appointments where the participant portrays a very one-dimensional persona. Individuals do so to protect themselves from criticism or judgment. Acting, on the other hand, brings multiple dimensions of a situation into play.

Mental Health Conditions Affect Expressions

For program participants who present with co-occurring disorders, drama therapy can help express those feelings, too. While some people naturally gravitate toward journaling and writing down how they feel, this doesn’t apply to everyone. Individuals who don’t like to write or talk could fail to receive the full benefits of rehab. With the use of psychodrama, it’s possible to counteract this trend.

The combination of body and facial expressions often speaks volumes. In some situations, program participants are surprised to learn about their emotions in this manner. Occasionally, they experience shock by the strength of their feelings and past hurts. It’s fair to say that drama, in these situations, leads to amazing breakthroughs that affect other parts of treatment.

One Part of a Menu of Modalities

  • Psychodrama is part of a larger set of therapeutic approaches. It cannot stand alone as a treatment. Instead, it combines with therapies such as:
  • Anger management assistance provides hands-on training in disarming trigger situations and stressors
  • Art therapy allows for the expression of emotions in non-verbal ways
  • Yoga therapy assists with the development of self-awareness and mood regulation, even in stressful times
  • Functional living is a life skill training opportunity that can help participants learn how to live sober in day-to-day situations
  • One-on-one therapy is the vehicle for experiencing evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy

All of these treatments combine in a customized approach to recovery. These modalities succeed in getting to the underlying issues that, in the past, led to drug use. To produce change, program participants need to confront these problems. However, unless someone empowers a client to dig deep and uncover this part of her or his psyche, healing may prove elusive.

It doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re suffering from a substance abuse problem today, the therapists at Healing Springs Ranch want to help. With a broad range of evidence-based treatments and experiential therapy approaches, they can help you recover. Dial 866-656-8384 now.