Kids love to play dress-up by donning old clothing from family members or innovative costumes purchased from toy and clothing stores. Did you know that adults can play dress-up, too? Not in the physical sense, but as a therapeutic exercise for learning who they are and who they want to be.
The Psychology of Dress-up for Adults
Think of therapy like going into the attic of a beautiful home and finding a large trunk full of clothing. The trunk is full of pants, shirts, dresses, coats, shoes, hats, other clothing items, and jewelry. As you move through therapy, you will metaphorically try on different items and see what you think. Each piece of clothing or jewelry is akin to a personality trait, a new habit, or a step in recovery.
Just as you try on clothing in a store to see what the best outfit suits you, you progress through therapy by deciding which habits and personality traits you already have that are healthy and worth keeping. You also learn new skills to incorporate into your new life.
Questions to Ask About the Dress-up Exercise
As you try on each new metaphorical item, ask yourself some questions:
- “Does this fit?”
- “Do I like how this looks?”
- “Is this my style or the style I would like to embrace?”
- “What other new things can I pair with this?”
- “What old parts of me will ‘go’ with this new item?”
For example, you might have a habit of not keeping a regular sleep schedule. Ask yourself if maintaining one will benefit your health. You may have a regular habit of “putting yourself down.” Would changing that to engaging in positive self-talk be a positive step forward? Take healthy habits you already have and pair them with ones you want to develop, like pairing an old favorite shirt with an attractive new jacket. “Metaphorical dress-up” a symbolic way of dressing for your new, successful life.
Adults do not usually play dress-up, but entering recovery and participating in the therapy process allows you a chance to engage in the grown-up version of dressing up. As you rebuild your life, you will experiment to find the healthy habits and thoughts you already have and pair them with new ones you develop. The Detox Center of Colorado can help orchestrate this process for you. Our experts guide you through detoxification with medical and therapeutic support, along with a plan for success when you leave. Call us today at (303) 952-5035 to find out how we can help.