“Storytelling is the essential human activity. The harder the situation, the more essential it is.”– Tim O’Brien
Psychodrama is commonly used in group settings and can be used in individual therapy to help clients tell and act out their trauma narrative. All too frequently, traumatic events silence the survivor, making them feel powerless and voiceless. Psychodrama empowers the survivor to rewrite the story, adding in supports, protectors, and alternate endings to provide healing and a resolution that may not be safe or attainable outside of a therapy session.
Bringing Spontaneity and Play into the Therapy Session
When we get out of our heads (our logical, planning, procedural prefrontal cortex) and into our bodies (through movement and sensory engagement of the nervous system) we gain a new perspective and get to know ourselves and our experiences differently. Using psychodrama in sessions allows clients the freedom to be curious, spontaneous and play out a “surplus reality” in the presence of the therapist as the empathic witness.
Who benefits from psychodrama?
Whether in groups, family, or individual sessions, psychodrama is effective in treating trauma symptoms related to childhood abuse, developmental trauma, physical violence, intimate partner violence, rape/sexual assault, injury, car accidents and complex traumas. This approach can also be beneficial when preparing for a difficult conversation, meeting, confrontation, or other interactions. For clients who find writing or talking about their experiences in detail, psychodrama combined with other experiential modalities can be a powerful way to move from a victim perspective to an empowered protagonist.