Posted in Teens on March 1, 2017
Last modified on May 11th, 2019
Psychodrama for Teens Suffering From Addiction
With so many approaches to tackling the problem of addiction in teens and adults, finding the most appropriate modality can be challenging. Psychodrama for addiction might not sound like a serious approach to the issue, because there is a temptation to dismiss it as “play-acting.” However, for teens in particular, the methods employed in psychodrama make it easier to express emotions, understand situations from an outsider’s perspective and take a critical look at one’s own behavior. It could be just what your teen needs.
What Is Psychodrama?
Psychodrama is a type of therapy that revolves around “acting out” an individual’s problems and issues as a group, under the guidance of a therapist.
In a typical session, there are three main stages to psychodrama:
- Warm-up: Someone is selected to be the “protagonist” of the psychodrama and the group members become acquainted with one another.
- Action: The chosen issue is acted out dramatically by the group, and the protagonist looks at different ways to solve the problem.
- Sharing: Different group members reflect upon the scene and how they connect with it personally.
Many techniques are incorporated into sessions, such as “role reversal,” where the protagonist switches from their own role to that of someone important to them. This helps provide insight into the thoughts and feelings of others and an outside perspective on their own behavior.
Psychodrama for Addiction
There are many benefits to using psychodrama for addiction, whether with adults or teens. While individuals might dispassionately relate their stories in an ordinary group therapy session, psychodrama requires them to “re-live” the experience, and usually brings up the same strong emotions he or she felt at the time.
Another way psychodrama for addiction can be helpful is in the process of watching your own actions being played out by other people in the group. People with addictions are often skilled in rationalizing their own behavior and “making excuses” for themselves, but this isn’t as easy to do when you’re watching your actions “performed” by somebody else. As well as getting a different perspective on the issue, individuals can try to “help themselves” by suggesting courses of action for the individual in their role.
Is Psychodrama Right for Teens With Addictions?
Psychodrama is particularly useful for teens because it doesn’t depend on a dry, verbal description of emotions or thought processes. Instead, acting out a relevant situation makes it easier to express complex, upsetting or otherwise challenging emotions and thoughts. As well as this, the psychodrama takes place in a safe space, where the individual can try out different potential solutions to problems and explore their own and others’ feelings without judgment.
This all makes psychodrama for addiction in teens a valuable approach. It can also be combined with other therapeutic approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy to ensure the issue is comprehensively addressed. If you think your teen could benefit from psychodrama, discuss the option with a counselor or your drug and alcohol rehab center.
“What is Psychodrama, Sociometry and Sociodrama?” – American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama
“Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama for Drug Addicts” by Lewis Yablonsky
“Drama Therapy with Children and Adolescents” – North American Drama Therapy Association
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