Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sex addiction and psychodrama

Sex addiction and psychodrama.

Yesterday’s request of Racine’s former mayor to attend treatment center for compulsive sexual behavior and trauma are bringing his legal charges – and discussions about sex addiction – back into the public eye.

Questions about what is effective treatment are coming forward, as well as what effective treatment involves. Many good programs are available for in-depth treatment of sex addiction and compulsivity, and a number of programs include psychodrama as an important component of their treatment structure. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that psychodrama is a powerful action method that can bring deeper insights to an emotional difficult issue. Because addicts typically use compulsive behaviors to avoid the experience of self, experiential therapy offers opportunities to have direct experience of self, behaviors and feelings in a structured setting. It has the potential to quickly address issues, feelings and patterns that have been hidden and would take months, or even years, to discover in conventional talk therapy. Experiential treatment allows the addict to actually experience the unmanageability of their lives, the possibility of change and the promise of recovery.

Psychodrama is compatible with the 12-Step ideals that are the core of many treatment programs. J.L. Moreno, the physician who developed psychodrama, understood the healing value of the group as early as 1913 — long before 12-Step groups got their start — and coined the phrase “group psychotherapy.” Several skilled clinicians facilitate psychodrama in a number of well-known treatment centers, including:

Robert Fuhlrodt, LCSW, TEP, at Montclair STAR in Montclair, N.J.
Arlene Story, LPC, CADC III, TEP, at The Refuge-A Healing Place in Ocklawaha, Fla.
Nancy Roberts Willis, LCSW, CP, at Keystone Center Extended Care Unit, Chester, Pa.

Tian Dayton, my friend and colleague, offers background and ideas for using psychodramatic and sociometric techniques with addiction in online article here.

For information, see my online booklet, "Addiction, Action and Change: Experiential Methods Make The Big Difference In Treatment," which includes an essay on psychodrama and addiction treatment.