Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Rebecca Zarate


This Capstone Thesis Project discusses the creation and implementation of a drama therapy method with adults receiving treatment for substance use disorders at an intensive outpatient level of care. Disidentifying from the role of Addict proves a difficult task when this identity is reinforced by widespread social stigma, permanent changes to the brain’s reward system, and a system of criminalization resulting in financial and political disenfranchisement. A drama therapy framework, Robert Landy’s Role Theory, and a trauma treatment framework, Janina Fisher’s Trauma-Informed Stabilization Treatment, were used as grounding theories from which to create a method intended to help clients with substance use disorders to disidentify from the role of Addict. The literature and the results of the implementation of the method suggest that a role-informed drama therapy approach may offer clients a way to regain access to roles and parts of self that were rendered dormant during active addiction. Unlocking these hidden roles may help clients develop the strength and self-efficacy needed to survive without the addiction. Based on the findings from the implementation of this method, a set of principles is proposed for maximizing efficacy and minimizing risk when implementing a drama therapy approach with this population.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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