We ’ re used to thinking about ecosystems in relation to the natural world , and the critical value of biodiversity is now part of our collective understanding of what makes a healthy and sustainable environment . But what does a healthy drug and alcohol system look like ? This was the starting point of the first annual Project 6 Ideas conference : choice , balance , and opportunity ,
Sociodrama is more than just role-play . It can be a vital tool for helping to reshape the sector for the better , says Jon Gooch
an exploration of the health and diversity of our very own sector ecosystem .
Across a programme of panel discussions , workshops and creative events , delegates shared in debate around what it means to provide genuine choice , challenging the monocultures of single providers and finding solidarity where there has been polarisation between recovery and harm reduction . Despite our shared beliefs , finding consensus on these issues is not always a straightforward task .
A difficult challenge sometimes requires an unconventional approach , and the one we chose was sociodrama . Sociodrama invites participants to step into the lives of others and explore the contexts and situations they face , drawing insight and inspiration from what they find . Based on the theory and practice of psychiatrist JL Moreno , sociodrama grew out of the horrors of WWI and was created as a mechanism for understanding social and political issues in a more meaningful way .
There ’ s a bit more to it than just role-play . Moreno believed we play a series of roles throughout our lives . It ’ s not ‘ acting ’ as we understand it , it ’ s a release of our natural spontaneity that ’ s often trapped beneath societal expectations and cultural norms . Considering which roles we experience in our everyday life can help us to identify the effectiveness of the roles we play with different people and in a variety of contexts . Mapping out these roles and ‘ hearing ’ from them directly can offer new ideas and motivation .
Enter Valerie Monti Holland and Rashida Namulondo , sociodrama practitioners and the facilitators of the workshop . The workshops begin by creating a composite of a Project 6 community member , someone who might walk into any similar drug and alcohol service . Once the group has developed a shared understanding of that person , they ’ re placed in the
24 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • NOVEMBER 2023 WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM