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Well, Dr. Freud, I start where you leave off.  You analyze [people's] dreams. I give them the courage to dream again. You analyze and tear them apart. I let them act out their conflicting roles and help them to put the parts back together again.

J.L. Moreno



Drama therapy is an embodied practice that is active and experiential. This approach can provide the context for participants to tell their stories, set goals and solve problems, express feelings, or achieve catharsis. Through drama, the depth and breadth of inner experience can be actively explored and interpersonal relationship skills can be enhanced. 

North American Drama Therapy Association


The drama therapist encourage patients struggling with their substance use to explore and share themselves creatively and the therapist creates a safe space for their exploration. Drama therapists will use a myriad of creative methods, such as: storytelling, role-playing, mask making, playmaking, guided visualizations, poetry, music, improvisation, movement...etc.


-Establishing a new relationship to one's self

-A more compassionate understanding of ones self and others facing similar struggles

-A new sense of being a valuable contributor to the community

-New relationship to substances

The drama therapy groups give me a feeling of connection to others who do what I do. It's helped me feel a sense of solidarity when serving those in the recovery community.



2nd Act’s Drama Therapy Program for Peers offers a space for frontline healthcare professionals and peers serving populations that use drugs to process their personal reactions to their work. All sessions are created and facilitated by a licensed clinician. The drama therapist guides participants through drama therapeutic interventions and personal reflection designed to help them safely discuss challenges they face in their work with clients and support their own recovery or mental health and wellbeing.


Each session lasts for about an hour, and our Drama Therapist also offers one-on-one support in addition to group sessions on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.


  • Reduce Secondary Traumatic Stress

  • Prevent Burnout, Relapse, or Reoccurence of mental illness symptoms

  • Pass on therapeutic techniques useful in frontline recovery/healthcare work

  • Promote collegial mutual support within the agency

  • Promote creativity as a tool for recovery capital

  • Act as a bridge between peers and their supervisors to promote peer-advocacy and clear lines of communication

  • Create group cohesiveness 

  • Create shared language at work for effective communication

  • Identify personal limits in order to know when to ask for support

  • Implement a measure of safety among staff

  • Enhance confidence and sense of self at work

Why is this program so critical?

Across the behavioral health system, secondary traumatic stress (STS) and burnout are a major sources of sickness, absence, psychological injury claims, job turnover, and compromised quality of care. Secondary trauma is indirectly experiencing trauma by listening to someone explain their firsthand account of a traumatic event. There is also growing evidence that STS contributes to institutional stigma against people with Substance Use Disorders. Among peer recovery specialists, anecdotal reports from RI agencies suggest that STS contributes to a high rate of recurrences. Significantly, most CPRSs are in early recovery (two to five years) themselves, a window of time where recurrence rates are 50 percent. This vital workforce, which serves as the central pillar of the state’s overdose prevention plan, is a doubly vulnerable population. The need for more resources, especially related to STS, is urgent.

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