A brief look at the therapeutic process
Ricky at the age of 18 years old arrived in therapy on release from custody, his criminal activity had included robbery, burglary, possession of a weapon, assault and perverting the course of justice. Ricky had drug and alcohol issues, was a self-harmer and had attempted to commit suicide.
Initially Ricky would come into therapy in a very somber mood, he appeared depressed and very confused about various relationships with friends and family. The therapist initially worked with music, songs he had written that gave some understanding of his thought process. They then laid the foundations for a sturdy and trustworthy therapeutic relationship where honesty, support, care and creativity could be free flowing. Once this was established there was no stopping Ricky on his journey to understanding himself.
His therapeutic journey lasted for approximately a year in total where he utilized a variety of Dramatherapy techniques to look at his internal and external world. Bring to life various different aspects of himself and engaging in dialogue with them allowed him insight into his needs and motivations. For example Ricky essentially felt very bad about himself on the inside but would defend himself from these horrible feelings by attempting to be loved, adored or respected by others. He would engage in criminal activities with others in order to be held in admiration for his risk taking behaviour or he would engage in attempting to become the hero and rescue others in order to be adored for his heroism. Ricky created characters for these parts of himself including the hero, the sidekick and the villain allowing further exploration into the motives behind each character’s behaviour. Working creatively can allow the client a safe distance from the potency of the issues and can also create distance enough to work objectively. Ricky however was able to also work directly and psychotherapeutically with an issue, where he would take a deep look at his inner critic, his obsessive behaviour and relationship with self and other.
Towards the end of therapy Ricky had made some huge leaps in terms of his mental health and wellbeing. He was no longer using alcohol or drugs, he had successfully completed many education courses and was well on his way to carving out a career for himself. He had left home and was living independently and had managed to engage in a healthy relationship with his girlfriend. He showed no signs of depression or any other mental health/learning disability. He appeared happy and content and managed a successful ending in therapy.