Psychodrama

Psychodrama

Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating those with traumas and relatable disorders that may contribute to their substance abuse; this includes treating the whole person, and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since addiction affects every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally.
What is Psychodrama?
Psychodrama is a form of psychotherapy in which patients act out events from their past in a group setting, commonly called role-playing. Jacoby Levy Moreno developed the treatment method and coined the phrases “group therapy” and “group psychotherapy.” Moreno described psychodrama as “Scientific exploration of truth through dramatic method.”  The approach is grounded in principles of creativity and spontaneity and combines sociometry, group dynamics, and role theory. Its goal is to explore and work through issues in the group using deep action methods that include emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses. Psychodrama can be an effective treatment in mental health programs, schools, and businesses. During each session, participants reenact specific scenes and experiences, guided by a therapist. It works by the group choosing a protagonist whose issue represents the main elements of the group. The participants play the roles of significant others or the audience. They offer support and enable people to bring underlying beliefs and issues to the surface. A successful psychodrama program helps participants learn and practice new life skills and behaviors. The sessions typically last from one to two hours and can be acted under the guidance of a psychodrama director.
Techniques Used in Psychodrama
A session of psychodrama has three phases: warm-up, action, and sharing. The warm-up phases allow the group to establish trust, group cohesion, and a sense of safety among participants. In the action phase, the protagonist creates a scene based on significant events in their life, under the direction of the therapist. The following techniques are typically used as part of the action phase, which includes:
  • Role reversal: A dramatization where the protagonist steps out of their role and steps into the role of a major person in their life. This enables the protagonist to see themselves in the other’s shoes, to understand the other person’s role, which helps the therapist better understand the dynamics of their relationship. The role reversal helps the protagonist to be more empathetic as well.
  • Mirroring: The protagonist becomes an observer, as if in a mirror, as they watch the auxiliary mimic or mirror them, acting out an event so they can watch. The idea is to help the protagonist who may be experiencing major negative feelings, or is feeling distanced or separated from feelings or emotions about the scene.
  • Doubling: The auxiliary ego plays the role of the protagonist; they stand behind or to the side of them and express any emotions or thoughts aloud that members believe to be the protagonist’s feelings and thoughts. Using this technique can build empathy.
  • Soliloquy: The director asks the protagonist to think “out loud” and express their feelings, thoughts, or intentions to the audience. This can be done when speaking to a double, or at the encouragement of the director (therapist).
The sharing phase involves the director shifting back to the therapist role, which allows them to analyze and process the scene. Processing the meaning of the feelings and emotions that come out during psychodrama affords the participants time to reflect on their thoughts and observations that could have an impact on interacting or relating to others. 
Benefits of Psychodrama
As a compelling alternative to traditional cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodrama can be an empowering treatment that yields several benefits. These benefits include:
  • Restoring confidence and well-being
  • Expressing their feelings in a safe and supportive manner
  • Overcoming stress and grief
  • Enhancing learning and life skills
  • Experimenting with new ways of thinking and behaving
  • Improving relationships and communication skills
Conditions or Disorders Psychodrama Treats
A variety of conditions and disorders can benefit from psychodrama, such as:
  • Trauma
  • Addiction
  • Autism
  • Eating disorders
  • Adoption and Attachment issues
Done in a safe environment and by a trained professional, psychodrama can have a dramatic effect on participants.