If you’ve ever had a bad break-up with a loved one, you know that sometimes, a single powerful moment can be the split between what was once a very important relationship. Sometimes, though, it’s a long cascade of misconduct, misunderstandings, or even just bad situations that finally tear two people apart.
Those who grew up with parents who were addicted to substances might remember those cascades as sleepless nights, waiting for their parent to come home. After a while, you start to piece the two things together. You relate a father or mother coming home late with their addiction. You know that when they get home, it’ll be the same rage and fear and screaming fights that you’ve grown accustomed to on those difficult nights. Or you might simply remember watching them slowly lose consciousness on the sofa, their eyes floating in the dream of whatever substance they’re on. Bit by bit, you lose hope that they can change. You lose hope that you could change them.
It’s important to understand tragic events in your past, whether it’s a single powerful moment, or one of those long and slow cascades. Often times, they linger with us, shaping our own thoughts and actions. It’s part of the reason why Psychodrama has become a very important tool in addiction recovery therapies.
As the name implies, Psychodrama seeks to help those in recovery relive dramatic moments in their past—events that have stuck in their psychology as long-term wounds that never quite closed up and healed. A respected psychodramatist quoted in this article believes in the power of psychodrama because “It makes recovery very concrete. You’re not just sitting there getting lectured.”.
It’s an interactive approach, much like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, that seeks to empower the individual in recovery to understand themselves and their own behavior patterns better. It seeks to make them the master of themselves, and to overcome the long-term side effects of terrible traumas.
The important thing about psychodrama, according to Coleman, is that you’re not trying to re-enact these past events. You don’t want to force someone to relive a horrible trauma. Instead, you’re trying to understand how they coped with those events, what defensive mechanisms they’ve put up to deal with them. The idea is to understand the person in recovery and their current behaviors, and to help them understand themselves better, rather than focusing on the past.
According to Dr. Tian Dayton, PhD, TEP, psychodrama “allows the protagonist to have a physical “encounter” with the self; to see and experience what he or she carries within his or her mind and body, so that it can be made explicit, concrete and can be dealt with in the here and now”. Dr. Dayton explains that is especially important for women suffering with addiction to focus on dealing with traumatic occurrences in therapy, as they may be more receptive to relationship trauma, such as a sudden severance with a child or parent. As such, it’s important for a woman undergoing recovery to better understand herself and how her life trials have shaped her, and psychodrama may be an effective tool in doing so.
If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, or would like to begin the process of recovery, please contact us. We focus on a home-like care environment where women can share in a community of others who have faced similar hardships and are looking to better their lives. With the help of community-driven therapies like psychodrama, you can emerge stronger than ever before and blossom into your true self, free from addiction.