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Therapeutic enactment and addiction : investigating the process of recovery Chan, James G.

Abstract

While the literature is replete with studies that investigate Psychodrama as a method for working with individuals who suffer from the very serious problem of addiction, many are descriptive and do not employ a comprehensive theory of addiction to explain how or why this intervention might be effective. There is a dearth of research that systematically investigates what exactly changes in addicted clients as a result of psychodramatic intervention. The present study links a particular formulation of Psychodrama (called Therapeutic Enactment) to the Adaptive Model of addiction (Alexander, 1990). Clients in 28- day residential treatment participated in Therapeutic Enactment as part of their program of recovery. Therapeutic Enactment sessions were videotaped and then observed by the coinvestigator and participants. In-depth interviews were conducted after treatment intervention and again at three-month follow-up. Additional data sources included direct observations and documentation from client files. Qualitative data analysis revealed 16 reliable themes, the four most predominant being Self-Expression, Self-Awareness, Corrective Emotional Experience, and Change in Self-Schema. These findings lead to a better understanding of how Therapeutic Enactment facilitates the process of recovery from addiction. This study also supports previously identified therapeutic objectives and the use of Therapeutic Enactment in addiction treatment.

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