Group psychodrama is a therapeutic technique in which an individual processes through difficult memories, emotions and mindsets. In this particular modality, the person uses dramatic action to gain greater insight into these troubling scenarios in a safe, welcoming environment. 


A Typical Group Psychodrama Session

Some may be wondering what a typical group psychodrama session would be like before trying it for themselves. With each session lasting typically between 90 minutes and two hours, it focuses on one person’s life situation while other members of the group take on scenario-specific roles. Each session is divided into three sections:

  • The Warm-up Phase: To begin the session, individuals participating will practice various activities that simultaneously allow them to feel more comfortable with each other and become increasingly more in-touch with their troubling thoughts and feelings. This is also when the director/practitioner helps determine who the protagonist (person who offers their own scenario) is for the session.
  • The Action Phase: During this phase, the protagonist (with assistance from the therapist/group leader) sets up a scenario that is similar or reflective of one from their personal lives. Having the leader direct the session can be incredibly helpful regarding its effectiveness. Other members in the group can serve as people who may be necessary in acting out that scenario in the protagonist’s scene. 
  • The Sharing Phase: In the sharing phase, the leader/therapist plays a key role. The therapist helps facilitate the processing of the emotions that have come to light during the session. In doing so, the protagonist can share how they feel, while also listening to one another’s thoughts, perspectives and ideas surrounding the reenactment. 


Why Does it Require a Group?

For more introverted, anxious personality types, the thought of having to try this modality with a group of people may feel intimidating to say the least. Why is it necessary to practice this vulnerable therapy in front of others?

According to various studies about group therapy and addiction, group therapy is incredibly effective for treating substance use disorder (SUD) and can even be more effective than individual therapy. This is due to the many benefits that group therapy offers, which include:

  • Reducing isolation
  • Witnessing the recovery of others
  • Surrounding oneself in a culture of recovery
  • Easing the feelings of shame and depression

Through the acknowledgment that many other people share in another person’s struggles, increased self-compassion and self-acceptance begin to emerge. A person can also learn different insights and ideas from being in a group dynamic. Groups can also help promote accountability that help get people through challenging moments in life.


Psychodrama vs. Drama Therapy 

Many people sometimes confuse psychodrama with a similar treatment modality called drama therapy. Even though they have similar names and structures, they have some major differences. 

Drama therapy is unique in that it offers the individual an increase in distance from the troublesome situation. Rather than discussing a person’s direct situation, drama therapy establishes the use of metaphor to process through situations like these. For some people this can be beneficial as they are able to gain separation from the thoughts and feelings surrounding the situation and can also gain new insights and perspectives in a safe way. 

Psychodrama is similar in that it also allows one to gain new insights and perspectives about troubling moments in their personal life. However, instead of using metaphors to process through these moments, psychodrama directly uses a person’s scenario, which is facilitated by a therapist and processed through with fellow participants. After ensuring a safe, trusting environment, one can work through their personal experience and gain new insight through other people’s actions, interpretations and ideas.


Who is Psychodrama For?

Essentially, psychodrama can be for anyone. However, some may find that it is more helpful to begin their treatment with a different treatment modality, then eventually work up to psychodrama. For others, psychodrama therapy may be something to begin with that can open them up to trying different treatment modalities as well.

Due to its spontaneous, free nature, psychodrama lends itself well to those who feel very in touch with their creative sides. This modality allows one to exercise their creativity and spontaneity through dramatic action, which can help change any potential problematic views surrounding therapy. Many people struggle with seeking out treatment to begin with, because the thought of being one-on-one with a stranger discussing solely personal problems is extremely uncomfortable. 

For those with these potential fears, trying group psychodrama may be an excellent option. Using life scenarios as a template for creativity and entertainment can help to challenge these fears, while also helping them to process difficult situations.


For many people, entering treatment can be incredibly intimidating. The good news is that there are many effective, personalized options to choose from. Group psychodrama is one of these and it’s utilized at Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford. We offer this treatment modality along with many others. Providing diverse options to choose from to suit your specific recovery needs is a priority of ours here at our facility in Medford, New Jersey. To begin your healing journey, call us today at (877) 557-5372.