Psychodrama is a form of experiential therapy in which participants of a group explore the trauma of their past through creative action, allowing for correction and growth through the reexamining of those events. At Sierra Tucson, we’re proud to offer this method of group role-playing therapy.
Psychodrama Is Traumatic Response
Psychodrama is an action– and strength-based approach that uses storytelling to help you connect with yourself and others in an interactive, fun and engaging manner. Because the psychodrama at Sierra Tucson is trauma-responsive and deeply rooted in the neurobiology and psychology of trauma and addiction, it provides the safety and containment required for you to create the life you desire.
The beneficial effects of psychodrama include:
- Sharing our stories and creating new endings
- Understanding that it’s about the past, present and future
- Learning about how to better interact with yourself and others
Psychodrama can be defined as “the stories of the soul in action.” Telling our stories within the safe confines of groups of those who relate to us is essential for lasting change. We allow ourselves to step out of our comfort zone, taking manageable risks in vulnerability and novel behavior. Through this groupwork, we learn about and apply skills that are necessary for healthy relationships with ourselves and others.
Our stories may be about pain, grief/loss, anger about the past, struggle and conflict in the present, or hopes for the future. No matter which story it is, psychodrama provides the structure and spontaneity to create new endings, current transformation and promising beginnings.
Psychodrama Is Practicing New Behaviors
Each session of psychodrama includes several basic players. According to the American Society of Group Psychotherapy & Psychodrama (ASGPP) website, those players are:
- The protagonist: the person(s) selected to “represent the theme” of the group in the drama.
- The auxiliary egos: group members who assume the roles of significant others in the drama.
- The audience: group members who witness the drama and represent the world at large.
- The stage: the physical space in which the drama is conducted.
- The director: the trained psychodramatist who guides participants through each phase of the session.
Practicing new behaviors — not just talking about them — is the cornerstone of psychodrama. To do this, we must think and feel at the same time. The focus of trauma-responsive psychodrama is to help you stay in this state throughout your work. Because it involves the integration of physical action, emotion and rational thought, all levels of our brain are engaged. This “locks in learning” so that we can immediately apply what we have learned to real–life situations.
Psychodrama invites us to get out of our heads and into our bodies. This means “doing” and “practicing” rather than simply talking. We attempt to make things like emotions, personal strengths and parts of ourselves tangible with props (e.g., scarves) or a group member playing a role. It is not theater acting, so don’t worry! It is about supporting our group members, having fun and learning something important for ourselves.
By showing rather than telling, psychodrama allows for:
- More doing and less talking
- Greater movement and action
- The use of objects to aid in communication
The practice of psychodrama has helped residents at Sierra Tucson better understand themselves, the traumatic experiences of their past and their future needs and goals. Here are a few testimonials about the psychodrama groups we offer:
- “This is the most impactful group I have had here at Sierra Tucson.”
- “Thank you for giving me a concrete way to deal with my intrusive thoughts.”
- “I feel so much more connected with people than when I walked into this group.”
- “I am free of the shame and anger I had at my abuser!”
- “I haven’t laughed and smiled this much in a long time.”
- “I can go out and actually set the boundaries I need with my spouse now.”