General enquiries: 0800 326 5559
International: 0330 333 8188

Drama Therapy in Addiction Treatment

    Drug and alcohol addiction, or substance use disorder, is a serious brain disease which affects millions of people worldwide.

    When someone is suffering from an addiction, it is because the reward pathways in their brain have been altered significantly.

    Many people have a genetic trait which makes them more vulnerable to developing an addiction, whereas others fall into addiction due to personal problems in their lives or the influence of mental health disorders.

    Discover how a drug and alcohol rehab can help you beat addiction by giving us a call on 0800 326 5559

    Why is Addiction Treatment Crucial for Recovery?

    A man in therapy

    When recovering from a drug and alcohol addiction, it is imperative that patients seek support from a professional drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.

    Undergoing a comprehensive and personalised addiction recovery plan at a drug and alcohol rehab will optimise the patient’s recovery and help them sustain long-term recovery.

    In a drug and alcohol rehab, patients will undergo various treatment approaches which will benefit their physical and mental health.

    They will undergo a medical detox, relapse prevention planning and a comprehensive course of therapy.

    Therapy comes in a wide range of forms, including behavioural therapy, family therapy and even drama therapy.

    To learn more about the treatments offered at drug and alcohol rehab, call our team today on 0800 326 5559

    What is Drama Therapy?

    A young woman in a therapy session

    Drama therapy is a relatively new form of treatment in the world of therapy, and it is one which allows people to improve their mental and emotional health by performing a range of theatrical acts.

    According to the North American Drama Therapy Association [1], drama therapy is defined as the intentional use of drama to achieve therapeutic goals.

    In the case of addiction, drama therapy can help patients develop skills and habits which allow them to overcome addiction and sustain their recovery.

    As time goes on, drama therapy is becoming more and more prominent in the world of therapy.

    While it sounds unconventional, it has a range of benefits which can help patients overcome their illnesses. Drama therapy is employed in order to treat issues related to:

    Drama therapy sessions incorporate a range of techniques such as roleplay, improvisation, metaphors, empathy, self-awareness, performance, projection, and much more which can bring out positive behavioural and emotional changes in patients who are suffering from a range of issues, not only addiction.

    Discover the benefits of drama therapy for yourself by reaching out to us on 0800 326 5559

    Origins of Drama Therapy

    A cognitive therapy session

    It is thought that drama therapy sessions came into practice because of the idea that many people are simply unable to vocalise their pains and trauma.

    Instead of speaking to our friends, family, or a licensed counsellor, many people repress these negative feelings and pains, and they will manifest in other ways which affect our lives.

    Drama therapy was developed in the 1930s in order to treat patients who are suffering from mental health conditions such as anxiety.

    It was considered to be a form of psychotherapy. Jacob L. Moreno’s treatment method called psychodrama reinforced this belief that drama can be used as a form of therapy.

    Through the use of movement, facial expressions, exclamation and dialogue, drama therapy can be an excellent outlet to express our emotions.

    It is therapeutic in many ways, allowing us to share our emotions both physically and vocally, which can reduce our anxieties and worries and thus unburden ourselves.

    Need help overcoming addiction? Find your ideal drug and alcohol rehab by giving us a call today on 0800 326 5559

    What is the Objective of Drama Therapy?

    Two people holding hands

    When someone, whether a patient or else, takes part in drama therapy, they will need to act out a range of dialogue and emotions in various scenarios.

    By acting out these scenes, the patient will also need to acknowledge these emotions and find a way to express or externalise them.

    The objective of drama therapy is to create a safe space and environment where patients can express their emotions to the fullest in a playful and theatrical manner.

    It is not therapy in the sense that they will talk about their problems directly to a therapist. Instead, they will act out scenarios as different characters to help externalise some of these emotions.

    The objective of drama therapy is to help the patient:

    • Externalise their emotions
    • Develop positive behavioural changes
    • Develop self-awareness
    • Improve their quality of life

    Not sure if drama therapy is the right choice for you? Talk it over with our experts on 0800 326 5559

    What is a Drama Therapist?

    Women moving in front of a mirror

    Drama therapy does not consist of simply throwing the patients on stage in order to act out a scenario.

    These sessions are intricately planned in order to maximise the benefits for patients. This can be done by including and employing a licensed drama therapist.

    1. Why Include a Drama Therapist?

    The inclusion of a drama therapist is imperative towards the success and efficacy of drama therapy.

    A Registered Drama Therapist, or RDT, is someone who is certified in drama therapy and follows a strict standard of practice and code of ethics set out by an authoritative drama body, such as the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA) [4], for example.

    2. Requirements to Become a Drama Therapist

    Someone does not just become a Registered Drama Therapist overnight – they must undergo a vast range of training and acquire qualifications in order to assume the role

    According to the NADTA, the educational requirements for a RDT includes acquiring a master’s degree or a doctoral degree in drama therapy.

    The programme must be accredited and recognised by the local drama therapy association.

    Additionally, the RDT must also have training in psychology or mental health treatment. When someone undergoes thorough training to become a drama therapist, they will also undergo studies in psychology, which is essential to drama therapy.

    3. What Does the Drama Therapist Do?

    As we mentioned previously, drama therapy does not just throw patients on stage and expect them to act.

    Along with other licensed counsellors and addiction specialists, a drama therapist will have the responsibility of assessing their patient’s needs and then applying the most optimal approach in order to help facilitate their recovery.

    Drama therapy can include an individual or a larger group of patients. These patients are not required to have any previous experience in drama or any other form of performance.

    The drama therapist will facilitate a range of activities and techniques including but not limited to:

    • Improvisation
    • Storytelling
    • Roleplay

    Learn more about how a qualified drama therapist can help you by giving us a call on 0800 326 5559

    How Does Drama Therapy Benefit Patients Recovering From Addiction?

    Group Therapy

    Taking part in drama therapy is linked to a range of positive mental health benefits.

    While drama therapy is certainly not the sole solution towards combating substance use addiction or other mental health issues, it certainly offers a range of benefits which can improve the quality of life of a patient, and make them more capable of recovery.

    1. Emotional Catharsis

    Dramatic artistic expression is a fantastic place to facilitate emotional catharsis. Those who take part in drama therapy, or any form of theatrical performance for that matter, have the platform to traverse a range of emotions and externalise their thoughts and feelings.

    Additionally, they are able to externalise these emotions without having to directly communicate their problems.

    Patients can delve into deeper feelings by acting out different scenarios. While these scenarios may not be the same as their own personal experience, the characters may share similar emotions which can help them develop empathy and sympathy.

    These characters can serve as representations or metaphors for their unique personal journey.

    2. Improved Confidence and Self Esteem

    As previously mentioned, drama therapy is effective in treating patients who are suffering from anxiety. There is a strong correlation between those who are suffering from substance use disorder and also anxiety, low self-esteem, and so on.

    Drama therapy can help patients develop their confidence and self-esteem and make them feel more in control of their lives.

    By taking part in something new and developing new skills in an unfamiliar environment, patients will undergo ‘behavioural activation’.

    This is where someone undergoes the mental benefits of acquiring new skills and taking part in active roles.

    Behavioural activation is shown to improve levels of confidence, social skills, independence, self-worth, organisational skills, and more.

    Additionally, acting may seem like something which is intimidating at first, as you are literally performing in front of others. It is natural to feel self-conscious when first starting drama therapy.

    However, drama therapy takes place in a non-judgmental environment, and patients will be able to overcome these initial feelings of self-consciousness and become more confident in displaying not only their abilities but a range of emotions in front of others.

    3. Drama Therapy is Fun

    Although unconventional, drama therapy can be incredibly fun for patients.

    It is unique because it is very different to the traditional forms of therapy where a patient sits across from a licensed counsellor and discusses a range of sensitive topics.

    Patients may be shy at first and may even think that drama therapy is silly, however, it can evoke a lot of laughter and happiness among patients.

    This is especially the case when patients are performing a comedy-based scenario or assuming the role of a comedic character.

    Laughing is incredibly infectious, and patients can resonate with each other when undergoing these comedic guided scenarios.

    4. Facilitates a New Perspective

    While patients are able to relate to their characters and form some sort of representation or metaphor within these scenarios, it can also help them develop a new perspective.

    By assuming the role of someone other than themselves, they have to think in a new way. This can allow them to develop a higher sense of self-awareness through the lens of acting, and they will be able to view their own circumstances in perspectives different to their own.

    Experience all the benefits of drama therapy for yourself at a drug and alcohol rehab by calling us on 0800 326 5559

    Other Forms of Therapy for Addiction Treatment

    Two women talking at a table

    Drama therapy offers a fantastic range of benefits which can heal patients, however, it needs to be incorporated within a comprehensive addiction treatment plan.

    At a drug and alcohol rehab which is regulated by the Care Quality Commission [5], patients will undergo an addiction treatment plan carefully planned by addiction specialists.

    Patients who are suffering from physical dependence and physical withdrawal symptoms will need to undergo a medical detox.

    Following the detox, patients can then undergo a range of therapies. In addition to drama therapy, addiction treatment plans include approaches such as:

    1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [6] (CBT) is one of the most widely used forms of therapy not only in addiction treatment but also in mental health treatment. It is highly popularised because it is a form of individual therapy and is highly personalised.

    The goal of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is to help patients understand why they think and behave the way that they do.

    This will help them not only identify negative behavioural and cognitive habits, but it will allow them to reconfigure these self-destructive tendencies in order to create a better life for themselves.

    2. Dialectical Behavioural Therapy

    Dialectical Behavioural Therapy [7] is similar to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, but it is especially effective in treating patients who are suffering from intense thoughts and emotions.

    The objective of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy is to help patients manage these emotions in order to create a perspective which is more rational and objective.

    There is a strong emphasis on stress management and mindfulness throughout Dialectical Behavioural Therapy.

    Patients will develop a range of techniques which will help them become more self-aware and develop their emotional intelligence. Not only will this assist their recovery, it will improve other areas of their life, too.

    3. Motivational Interviewing

    Motivational interviewing [8] is an effective form of therapy because it increases the level of motivation and participation among patients.

    A typical session of motivational interviewing involves a patient and a licensed counsellor who assumes the position of the interviewer. The counsellor, or interviewer, will then ask the patient a series of questions related to their motivation behind recovery.

    By going into detail about their motivation behind recovery, patients will reinforce their intentions by speaking their objectives into existence.

    Discussing their intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) motivation factors towards addiction recovery with a licensed therapist can reinforce their active role in recovery and sustain their commitment towards therapy.

    Group therapy session

    4. Family Therapy

    It is often very important to involve the patient’s family for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, the family can be seen as the first line of defence, and they can play an integral role in forming a support network. Secondly, problems within the family may be the root cause of someone developing a drug or alcohol addiction.

    Family therapy [9] can come in various forms, targeting treatment for adolescents, reconfiguring negative lifestyle patterns, improving communication between family members, emotional counselling and much more.

    5. Group Therapy

    Group therapy [10] can allow patients to benefit from positive social reinforcement by sharing their addiction recovery experiences and by also gaining insight into other people’s experiences.

    This allows them to resonate with others within the same room, and to create a new form of supportive community.

    Patients will be able to introduce themselves anonymously and share their experiences, much like they would at a typical support session in Alcoholics Anonymous. Sharing your experience with others can facilitate emotional catharsis and decrease social anxiety.

    6. Holistic Therapy

    Holistic Therapy [11] is a unique form of therapy because it places an enormous emphasis on mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

    Hence the term holism, the idea behind holistic therapy is that these facets of the person are intricately connected, and one facet profoundly affects the other.

    Drama therapy is an example of holistic therapy. Drama therapy techniques involve movement, performance, and role play, and can benefit the patient mentally, physically, and spiritually.

    Other examples of holistic therapy include but are not limited to:

    • Yoga
    • Music therapy
    • Adventure therapy
    • Massages
    • Acupuncture
    • Tai chi
    • Aromatherapy

    If you still have a few questions about the various therapies used at drug and alcohol rehab, talk to our experts on 0800 326 5559

    Contact Us Today

    person holding phone

    If you think that you may be suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, you can contact us today.

    At OK Rehab, we will provide you with unparalleled support in your quest for recovery.

    When you dial the number 0800 326 5559 or 0330 333 8188 internationally, you will be greeted by a trained admissions officer and friendly member of our team.

    This friendly representative will answer any questions or concerns that you may have about addiction or the addiction treatment process.

    Only once you are ready and with your consent we can conduct a health assessment and help find the most optimal rehab for your recovery.














    Subscribe to our email list to get the latest information right to your inbox