Drama therapy as a form of group counselling among drug and substance abusers/addicts: The case of Mathari Hospital Drug Rehabilitation Unit.
Drug Abuse and addiction has been on the increase in the country in the recent years, especially among the youth who find it readily available within the estates and town centres. Despite the governments' law enactment of 'No sale of alcohol to persons under 18yrs of age', very little has been done to ensure that the money hungry owners of pubs keep strict to this rule. Children as young as the age of J 3 years have access to drugs that are sold in local retail shops known to the community members and even policemen, though no one dares stop the illegal trade because of fear 0f the supposed owners of the trade. who have ties to local militia groups referred to as "kamjesh. battalion. wakubwa. As cited by many of the participants, it is highly evident on how the society is lax on the issue of drugs/alcohol abuse even when it is destroying the lives of the youth. This project was aimed at finding out the level of effectiveness of using drama therapy on drug/alcohol abusers/addicts as a form of group counseling to help sensitize them on necessary behaviour changes that would allow them to consider an acceptable social lifestyle. This project attained its objectives and helped a lot in the therapy and recovery of patients at the rehabilitation unit by focusing on the general aims of Drama therapy sessions which include, building trusting relationships. developing communication and social interaction skills, expressing and exploring feelings thus overcoming depressions and loneliness, developing artistic and creative skills by working with the imagination and having fun as they gain sel f con fidence and sel f-esteern. Th!s could be noticed in the comparisons between the first two sessions when the patients were very shy to interact with each other. as there was tension and a feeling of resistance on most of the participants. However through the last sessions it could be noticed that the participants had opened up to interacting with each other. This easily proved that they had with time built trusting relationships. It also showed that there existed good communication and interaction between the participants in the way that they could share their testimonies and play games and dances together. The research was done at Mathari Hospital Drug rehabilitation unit with a population of 34 participants. A participatory approachin the collection of data was used through the use of songs, dance, music, games and storytelling and focused group testimony sharing and discussions forums to obtain information on various issues as per the objectives. Key informant interviews and use of questionnaires on the participants was also used to get extensive information about the participants. The data collected was then qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed using tables, pie charts. bar graphs and further in a thematic context with quotations from some of the respondents. This project has thus been able to heir understand the patients. and to assist them to understand the influence or alcohol/drug addiction/abuse in their lives through sharing with each other on the reasons and effects both social, econom ic and health wise of their alcohol and drug dependence. Through sharing. there was the feeling of common plight thus a deeper understanding of each other and helping each other overcome the dependency. Some of the patients even made strong friendships in the rehabilitation centre because of their common backgrounds like both being parents. age mates. and equal responsibilities thus giving each other support. The project was also able to define the place of women in the lives of drug/alcohol abusers, how women are affected. and their influence into the lives or the addicts/abusers, reasons for taking alcohol. motivation to attend therapy and even support. This study also gives us an understanding of what the society and men mostly think or women taking alcohol/drugs and also on the general perception of alcohol/drugs taking and abuse/addiction in the society. The project was a success in the impact it had on the lives of all the participants, however a few recommendations could be noted to help in subsequent rehabilitation of other patients.