We provide classes that give individuals the option to express themselves through performance and drama. Actors use their emotions to portray events in a raw and realistic way that helps them, and others, cope with addiction and avoid relapse.
Drama therapy uses role-play, improvisation, theater productions, and storytelling to bring about enhanced self-worth, personal growth, improved functioning, and to reinforce positive behaviors. Dramatic scenes are a way to express intense emotion in a constructive way using an environment that encourages discussing problems and life goals as well as past traumas.
Social skills are practiced by working with groups of people and differing opinions. Members put their individual needs to the side and focus on a goal that involves everyone, from the stagehand and artists making backdrops to the actor’s on stage giving their best performances. Theater groups build a lasting bond between people, giving them ample time to socialize with each other and build relationships of trust and friendship.
Patients will be engaged with a single project for weeks, or months, at a time. This instills a sense of purpose and determination in what was once a place of darkness. Focus on a particular project can build their self-worth, as many individuals struggling with addiction don’t recognize their own value. The longer they stay engaged in the program, the more effective it will be on their long-term recovery. Performing gives patients an excitement for something in life other than their addiction.
Successfully completing projects will show patients that they can persevere until the end is complete, just as they can persevere through their treatment. Upon release they will have gained valuable skills to help them in the outside world, where temptations and negative influences are everywhere. Having a set goal reinforces appropriate behaviors and helps individuals develop communication skills. Many patients participate in drama therapy because they don’t know how to or don’t want to express their truth with complete honesty. Performance pieces instill a sense of confidence that can break down walls and challenge them to face their issues head-on.
Members can write and direct their own plays, or work with staff to perform pieces that are personal to them and hold meaning in their lives. Theater work builds pride, work ethic, self-esteem, self-reliance, interpersonal and intrapersonal experience, artistic growth, and development. Plays can discuss topics in a way that can be understood by a wider audience than it would if a person just stood on stage talking. When words fail, a playwright can have the perfect scene to express the exact emotions felt by individuals.
Participating in a group theater production can reduce the foreboding feeling of isolation and not-belonging that plagues a lot of individuals with chronic issues. Performances bring a connection between the experiences of recovering patients and the audience, sharing their story in a way they never thought possible. Productions give patients a shared goal to dedicate themselves to, a shared story to tell an audience, and the shared experience of building something from scratch and making it magnificent.