Role Play Therapy

At Milwaukee Women’s Recovery Center, our therapists use role play as a technique to enable clients to understand their needs, values and experiences.

“Role playing was developed by Jacob Moreno, a Viennese psychologist who contended that people could gain more from acting out their problems than from talking about them.”  (Quoted from “Role Playing/Psychodrama”.  Accessed June 19, 2021 from

Content below excerpted with permission of the authors (copyright holder):

Mark Matthews (Dept. of Information Science, Cornell University), Geri Gay (Dept. of Information Science, Cornell University), and Gavin Doherty (Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College Dublin) – Taking Part: Role Play in the Design of Therapeutic Systems – Presented at the 2014 Conference of “Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction”, Toronto, Canada.  CHI ’14: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems April 2014 Pages 643–652

Accessed June 19, 2021 from:
Microsoft Word – Taking_Part_Camera_Ready_Feb_14.docx (

“Although ‘role play’ can refer to a wide range of techniques, all role-plays share an “as if” or “make believe” quality; participants assume characters and participate in simulated situations.”

“Role play is a range of techniques which deliberately create an approximation of real-life situations in controlled conditions.”

“Therapeutic role-play is simulation of an environment which allows participants to ‘play’ out a scenario.  People act out imaginary situations for the purposes directed to self-understanding, improvement of skills, and analyses of behaviour.”

Role-playing allows clients to become more confident in themselves, while at the same time becoming more aware of and becoming sensitive to the feelings and thoughts of other participants.

Role-playing helps clients to focus their thoughts and to develop communication skills that allows them to connect more successfully language, and thereby improve their interaction with other.

The table below summarizes some of the role-play techniques used by Milwaukee Women’s Recovery Center therapists and counselors.