The Therapeutic Value of Psychodrama Exercises
Have you ever thought back on a past event and wish it could have turned out differently? Or what about a specific argument? Have you ever laid in bed at night and played it over and over in your head – thinking about all the good comebacks you could have thrown out, but didn’t think of at the time? Of course you have!
Every human being on the planet has mentally revisited the past and thought, “God, I would give anything to go back in time and do it differently.”
That is the beauty of psychodrama exercises. They create an opportunity to travel back in time, relive an event or conversation, and do it all over again – only better this time. Well, kind of.
Of course, there is no magic time machine. None of us can go back and rewrite history. And, when you think about all the movies we’ve seen about what a bad idea it would be to travel back in time, it’s probably for the best that things turned out the way they did anyway. (The 2004 movie The Butterfly Effect is a great example).
Nevertheless, the beauty of psychodrama therapy is that it creates an incredible opportunity to rescript a better ending to painful stories. There is an intrinsic therapeutic value to psychodramatic exercises performed with a professional therapist in a group therapy setting.
A Quick Recap From our Last Blog
Before we talk more deeply about psychodrama exercises, let’s quickly revisit the material we covered last week. This is our second blog in a four-part blog series on psychodrama therapy, which is just one of the many clinical services offered here at New Directions for Women.
Basically, through the use of group interaction and role play, psychodrama is an interactive method of therapy that helps patients investigate their inner and outer worlds and experiences. It is action-oriented and helps women practice new behaviors in all areas of their lives.
Psychodrama is what is called an ”experiential“ form of therapy. It allows for the healing of past events by reenacting them in a group therapy setting with the help of a therapist. Peers also participate with role rehearsal and dynamic expression.
Why Trauma Therapy is Vital to Addiction Treatment
In our next blog, we will dive deep into psychodrama techniques and help you get a better understanding of how this type of therapy works. For now, we really just want you to understand the therapeutic value of psychodramatic exercises and why they are used in substance use disorder treatment.
Most women who develop a substance use disorder experienced some type of traumatic event in their childhood. This may include sexual abuse, physical violence, neglect, or abandonment. Quite often, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops as a result.
As a result of painful PTSD symptoms, a woman might turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain from experiences like depression, anxiety, flashbacks, or nightmares. After prolonged and compulsive substance abuse, an addiction develops and treatment becomes necessary.
A trauma therapy like psychodrama is usually vital to healing addiction in women. Without trauma specific care, a woman with a substance use disorder has a higher likelihood of relapsing because she hasn’t addressed the core issues that led to her substance use disorder.
Trauma is almost always one of reasons a woman begins to use drugs in the first place, whether she realizes it or not. She self-medicates to numb the pain caused by the unhealed experiences of childhood. Without addressing the root of the substance use disorder, she simply cannot move forward with recovery.
Healing the Past is Essential to Long-Term Sobriety
To put it simply, psychodrama therapy exercises create role playing opportunities. They allow women to act out painful scenarios in a group therapy setting. In these scenarios, they get to create different, more positive endings to negative conversations and events.
Psychodrama exercises allow healing to happen through the emergence of self-compassion and forgiveness of self and others. The same old trauma messages (It’s all your fault. You’re bad. You’re worthless. You’re good for nothing.) stop playing on repeat. New, more positive messages take their place (*It wasn’t your fault. You we just an innocent child. You are worthy.) which are encouraging and uplifting). *
If you don’t make peace with the past, you spend the rest of your life feeling continually tortured by your old demons. They will keep you up at night, engaged in self-destructive behaviors that could send you to an early grave. In recovery, lost dreams awaken and new possibilities arise. Psychodrama exercises give you the opportunity to work through past issues and create a better ending.
Be sure to check out our next blog where we will introduce psychodrama techniques.
New Directions For Women Remains Fully Operational During the COVID-19 Crisis
Fortunately, we have seen a positive shift in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses are starting to re-open. However; we are not out of the woods yet. We still need to be concerned about the spread of this deadly virus. Safety remains our number one concern at New Directions for Women.
There is no question that addiction treatment is essential. A substance use disorder is a life-threatening disease that often requires immediate medical attention. During the COVID-19 crisis, our doors have always remained open to offer lifesaving services to women struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
We continue to remain fully operational during these uncertain times and we are accepting new patients. We are taking extensive safety precautions at our residential facility and our outpatient program (via telehealth) continues to be a highly effective alternative to inpatient rehab.
We are taking many precautions to protect patients from COVID-19.
We take a compassionate approach to addiction treatment. New Directions for Women offers a healing environment that promotes an atmosphere of recovery for women of all ages, pregnant women, and women with children.
If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and you’re ready to get sober and find a new way to live, we’re here. We are available to address any concerns you may have about getting the treatment you need during the COVID-19 crisis.