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“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.”
Great line isn’t it? It’s from “As You Like It” by none other than William Shakespeare. Admittedly I don’t know too much about theatre, but don’t hold that against me. Delving into the world of drama and theatre is a passion for many, but very therapeutic for others. In the 20th century a brilliant psychiatrist by the name of Jacob Moreno developed “psychodrama”, which is considered the original form of group therapy. Now we all know about group therapy, but psychodrama may have fallen off our collective radars quite some time ago. It’s a fascinating and unique technique that may be considered more of a “holistic” approach by today’s standards. Don’t let that fool you, though, because it still has tremendous benefits for people dealing with psychological concerns. Our approach to recovery has always been targeted to the individual, therefore leaving any form of treatment off the table that is deemed safe, useful and legitimate would be foolish of us to ignore. Not to mention using psychodrama allows us to involve our clients in the community, which we believe is important during treatment.
Now what is psychodrama? How does it help? Is it for you? Well without going into too much detail, as I will provide links at the end of this post for anyone who remains curious, psychodrama is a creative approach to group therapy that involves acting and expression that ultimately allows individuals to gain better perspective about their purpose in life, how they deal with social situations and other people, and how to move past trying times and evoke positive change in their lives. The beauty of the exercise is that it is designed to help patients deal with unpleasant issues in their past, things happening to them currently and it prepares them for future challenges that may arise. The process of a psychodrama session often involves a group of eight or more people, and has three phases: The warm up, where trust is established between the individuals, the action phase where the chosen protagonist sets a scene based on the challenges in their current life and the sharing phase in which the analysis of the action phase takes place. All of this is done with the help of the the therapist present, and involves role reversals, mirroring, doubling and soliloquies which I hope you as the reader will research more later because you don’t want my childish explanation as to what those terms mean.
In addiction treatment, group therapy has been proven time and time again to be very effective, but we wanted to take it a step further by combining our passions for individualized treatment, creativity and reconnecting with the community. Fortunately for us, the creative and dynamic band of characters at King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal have a festival just around the corner known as “The King’s Shorts” which is a presentation of, well, short ten minute plays put on by the community. We believe some of our clients would enjoy participating, and we know they’d certainly benefit from doing so, in the festival and are looking forward to working closely with the good folks at King’s Theatre to make it happen. While this will certainly not be a carbon copy of Moreno’s psychodrama in practice, the potential for good and positivity from this opportunity was too much for us to pass up. Addiction is fraught with drama, there is no denying that, but with this exciting opportunity for our clients they will be the ones writing and directing the stories of their own lives and struggles. The built up emotions of fear, anger and sorrow will have a release for those seeking it, and nothing seems to hold more truth than addiction being the drama or “curse” of our times. No hollywood or broadway directors could match the fascinating and real narratives our clients have lived, and these will be their stories and hopefully their triumphs.
We hope many of you reading this will stay tuned for updates on our website and Facebook page, and as mentioned earlier on, please have a look at the following information about psychodrama and The King’s Shorts festival!