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Rinpas help to limit your pegs - Psychodrama therapy for alcoholics

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  • Published 18.06.13

Remember Devdas? Anyone who is an alcoholic or a substance addict can’t be high on life, goes the basic premise.

Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry & Allied Sciences (Rinpas), Ranchi, has embarked on an innovative research on what makes them low.

The premier institute treating individuals with psychological problems recently experimented with psychodrama therapy. Common in the west, it is an emerging field for psychiatrists in India.

“Psychodrama therapy is a kind of role-playing in a group to help out patients,” Rinpas director Amool Ranjan told The Telegraph. “It’s effective to treat anxiety, depression and substance abuse, including alcohol addiction.”

How does it work?

Describing the technique, Rinpas expert Narendranath Samantaray said: “At first, we study the patient’s life-history. Then, a group of psychodrama experts enacts scenes from the person’s life before him, while he plays his own character. The process gets him to explore and express feelings he has buried or haven’t understood. Psychodrama gets to the root of his psychological problems due to loss or grief, resulting in depression, stress and alcoholism.”

Samantaray added psychodrama was conducted on five persons — male, aged between 20 and 35 years, educated — who wanted a cure for alcoholism.

“Each session usually lasts for two-three hours. Psychodramatists are trained specialists who know which part of the person’s life should be enacted. So, before a session, a warm-up with the group makes him feel good, relaxed and connect with experts who are playing characters from his life,” he added.

A person may need 15 to 16 psychodrama sessions to free themselves from the clutches of addiction.

How so? “There’s greater self-awareness to help a person deal with life without the bottle. While conducting research, psychodrama was found effective in dealing with managing conflicts related to family, interpersonal relationships, sex and concept of self. It was observed that all five patients made valiant efforts to combat their respective conflicts on their own,” Samantaray said.

In the sessions, hidden truths, often traumatic, come out. For instance, one person accepted the fact that he felt guilty when his parents went bride-hunting for him, not knowing about his illicit relationship with his cousin, which spurred him to drink.

Director Ranjan added Rinpas followed up on the five persons regularly to check the efficacy of psychodrama.

“We keep in touch with the five. I am happy to report four out of five persons are absolutely free from addiction in the past two months. However, one has reported relapse,” Ranjan added.

Will you recommend the psychodrama therapy?