Utilizing Psychodrama as an Effective Therapy in Treating Eating Disorders

Treating Eating Disorders

What did I just witness? Here was this peer publically sharing voices and experiences long kept silent within herself. Here was this peer showing vulnerability, courage, and strength. Here was this peer who seemed to have gained new insights and awareness about past events, and subsequently, new insights and awareness about herself. Here was a clinician who showed expertise, restraint, and seemed to allow the patient to tell her story without an agenda.

As an observer, there was a juxtaposition of fascination and emotional fragility. The intellectual and the emotional were at war. What I know now, and didn’t then, was that she was telling a human story. My story. Her pain connected to my pain. Her loneliness connected to my loneliness. I thought I would be safe as an observer, but little did I know the impact of that afternoon.

This was my introduction to the term, the concept, and reality of Psychodrama. I was a patient barely two weeks sober trying to grasp themes of sobriety, unmanageability, and powerlessness, and at the same time, having difficulty identifying and expressing feelings. What I witnessed that day was a brave woman, a skilled therapist, and a room full of patients “magically” connected in a moment of healing.

Fast-forward thirty-one years. I have spent the past 28 years as a clinician, and for the last 10 years, I have used group psychotherapy utilizing psychodrama and other experiential techniques with eating disorder patients.

Psychodrama and other action-oriented techniques developed by J.L. Moreno, and later by his wife Zerka Moreno, can be especially effective in the treatment of addiction and trauma. It can be extremely effective in the treating of eating disorders. An effective clinician has done his or her own work and will attain regular monitoring and supervision. Clinical judgment is needed, as those with medically compromised weights and those detoxing or actively psychotic are not appropriate for such work.

If clinically appropriate, Psychodrama, Sociometry, and group psychotherapy provides the chance for an individual or individuals in a group setting to heal and connect. Psychodrama creates a space for the safe expression of emotions. This therapeutic space can provide an opportunity for the patient to understand themselves and their history better, to resolve loss and trauma, to overcome fears, to improve their intimate and social relationships, and to practice new skills to prepare for the future.

We Can Help

The Meadows Ranch incorporates a variety of treatment methods and therapies to help our patients achieve long-lasting recovery from their eating disorder. Our specialized approach combines proven medical and clinically intensive treatment to help restore balance to the lives of women and girls struggling with an eating disorder.

To learn more about the treatment therapies we offer, visit our treatment page. For immediate help, please call to speak to a Counselor at 866-390-5100.

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