Led by a specially trained therapist, psychodrama helps clients explore past and future experiences through role playing with a therapist and/or other clients who represent people or events in their lives. This experiential therapy provides clients an alternative way to process past experiences within a safe, accepting space and practice healthier ways to interact in future situations.
Developed by Dr. Jacob Moreno in the 1920s, psychodrama is a form of experiential therapy. A core tenet of psychodrama is Moreno’s theory of “spontaneity-creativity.” Dramatic action, role playing and group dynamics are employed to help clients develop insights into psychological or emotional problems and learn new skills to manage them.
Psychodrama is conducted in a group in which participants act out or reenact specific scenes and experiences with their peers and a therapist’s guidance. By acting out dreams or past situations or role-playing future events, clients gain insights into their behavioral or thought patterns. Uncovering underlying problems and beliefs helps clients resolve issues and learn healthier coping mechanisms in the process.
How Psychodrama Helps
Psychodrama helps clients gain new perspectives and empathy by stepping into other people’s shoes. Using dramatic expression, clients learn to recognize how their behaviors shape their relationships, as well as practice new behaviors. Studies show psychodrama improves the ability to respond to emotional triggers that can lead to drug use or relapse. It is especially effective in cases of emotional trauma and for individuals who have difficulty identifying and expressing emotions.
The Benefits of Psychodrama
Psychodrama allows clients to express their feelings in a supportive and creative setting that is conducive to learning and healing. Studies have shown psychodrama is a useful complement to other therapeutic approaches. Benefits include:
- Increased ability to overcome fears
- Greater accountability
- Better communication skills
- Healthier relationships
- Improved self-confidence
- Greater coping and problem-solving skills