A group therapy session using drama therapy

Drama therapy can be an effective way for those in substance abuse treatment to work through issues while being playful and even having fun. Therapists who use drama therapy say it can improve self-image and change the way participants view themselves and their situation, which can be of great benefit in fighting addictions of all kinds.

Techniques Used in Drama Therapy

Role-playing is one major technique in drama therapy; it is typically used to practice desired behaviors, such as how to respond when someone else suggests using drugs or alcohol. Role-playing can help those in treatment learn what to expect when they re-enter their lives and face tempting or all-too-familiar situations.

One great thing about role-playing is that there is no pressure to respond in a certain way because participants know it is not real. Sometimes in having fun with the situation, new possibilities emerge that can help participants deal with temptations in a better way. It is difficult to take things too seriously when role-playing, but at the same time, it is possible to develop more effective responses and practice them so they can be used without too much thought in the heat of the moment when a real-life tempting situation occurs.

Experimenting or improvisation is another aspect of drama therapy that can be tremendously effective. It is easy for addicts to get stuck in a pattern and feel like there is no other way to deal with their situation, but experimenting with different responses can break the pattern and show participants that another way is possible.

Additionally, experimenting can also be used to show participants what might happen if they do go back to previous, harmful behaviors before a situation like that actually presents itself. Similar to role-playing, experimenting can take the pressure off participants and let them play out a scenario without any real consequences so they can experience what may happen without actually having to experience real damage.

A group using drama therapy with a man and woman standing facing each other

More Benefits of Drama Therapy

Both role-playing and experimental theater or improvisation allow those in treatment to express themselves in a safe environment where they can test out actions they may want to take and practice new, healthier behaviors. However, there are even more benefits to drama therapy that make it a valuable experience.

Many participants in drama therapy are able to tap into their emotions in a cathartic way as they role play or act out an experience. As the dramatic retelling unfolds, it can impact both the person playing the role and others in powerful ways, putting words to experiences they have not been able to articulate previously. This can be a freeing experience that brings healing in often unexpected ways.

Furthermore, many participants in drama therapy find that they genuinely have fun with the technique and enjoy themselves as they take part in it. They may even find that drama can be a way for them to have fun without needing to have drugs or alcohol involved in the experience. A night of improv with a group can be as much fun as a night partying with harmful substances and can give them a way to have a good time without having to be high.

You can experience drama therapy at The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake as part of your comprehensive treatment plan. We are a Colorado drug rehab that offers many treatment options to fit every need. Contact us today to discuss the treatment plans we offer.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.