“A meeting of two: eye to eye, face to face.
And when you are near I will tear your eyes out
and place them instead of mine,
and you will tear my eyes out
and will place them instead of yours,
then I will look at me with mine.”*
Psychodrama is a psychotherapeutic technique that allows an individual to express unresolved and often painful memories of the past. It also allows the client or patient to express potential outcomes of future activities. In psychodrama, the client is the protagonist of their memories. It allows them to emote, act out, use props, express vocally either through song or pure emotional expression, core aspects of their history that have not been fully understood, felt, processed, or resolved.
The essence of psychodrama and the purpose of this modality is to allow a person to bring to the forefront of cognition what lies underneath. We all have memories. Some are painful, some are happy, some are neutral, some are frightening, some are angering, some bring joy, some bring sadness. Often with those who are addicted or have issues with dual diagnosis, these memories and thoughts lie unresolved and end up leading to perceptual distortions resulting in toxic actions and reactions. Feelings and thoughts are not safe. Personal experience is only ok within a narrow band of emotions. On the other hand, healthy inner living allows for a wide range of emotions – both “positive” and “negative”.
For the addict or alcoholic, many emotions are not safe. For example, the man whose father brought him up to be the “tough guy”, where feelings of sadness, fear, or vulnerability were unsafe because if expressed, they meant their child wasn’t “man enough”. Or, perhaps a woman grew up in a home where she was told that she needed to be interested in dolls, domestic items, cooking and was belittled for being able to think for herself. Perhaps she was told that she would never find a man if she was that way. Often these stereotypical and outdated roles leave a mark on the individual and prevent the person from becoming fully self-actualized. When there is overt trauma or abuse beyond this, the problem is magnified. We all have memories and issues that need healing and resolution. When addiction enters the fray, there is often the notion that one need not “go there” or that one dares not “go there”.
Once we become sober and open to change and personal growth, we realize that we can overcome some of our strongest limitations. We realize that we have a story to tell and we find our voice. Memories are often all too real, raw, painful, or just engender a strong sense of dread or fear. This emotional response causes the patient or client to run from or avoid these past experiences. In many cases, the client or patient is not equipped to handle certain emotions like fear, anger, sadness, resentment, joy, happiness, or practically any emotion without utilizing a drug or a drink.
With psychodrama, clients and patients learn to act out certain memories that plague them or bother them in ways that are safe and healing. The group becomes the support network and the moderator facilitates the engagement and the unfolding of the magic of expressing one’s truth. The act of expression in an intimate setting is powerful. In dramatic fashion, key aspects of a person’s psyche, are expressed. This allows the individual freedom and space within their minds and creates a healing space where love and peace can grow.
Moreover, psychodrama works very well in conjunction with dialectical behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. These tools are benchmark psychotherapeutic interventions utilized at Lifesync Malibu Healing Center. They dovetail nicely with the analytical and rational component of therapy and allows the emotive and expressive format to round off the experience.
In psychodrama, the client is given power to confront painful memories and unresolved issues that hold them back. This treatment modality gives voice to the genuine inner self and allows for intimate and personal expression in a group setting that results in freedom from the past. It gives our clients the hope that they can navigate the tricky geography of their inner emotional and mental lives with tools that allow them to not only stay sober but have successful lives. Moreover, since these sessions are conducted in a group format, it encourages clients to form authentic bonds with one another and that terrible feeling of loneliness starts to melt away.
At Lifesync Malibu Healing Center, it is our hope that you will embrace your inner self and become authentic with the help of our team. We will utilize this methodology along with others to allow you to freely find your true essence. It is a freeing process that allows space for other things that are good and wholesome and healing. The ultimate result is joy, fulfilment, happiness, and a sober life.
* C. Baim, J. Burmeister, and M. Maciel, “Psychodrama: Advances in Theory and Practice.” Taylor and Frances: USA.