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WHAT IS PSYCHODRAMA?

by Robert Brodie

This article is written mainly for people who are not involved in psychodrama at all. The purpose of the writer is to give some idea about psychodrama and what it does.
Naturally, some values of the approach can only be really understood through experience.

Contents

WHAT IS PSYCHODRAMA?
Psychodrama is the name given by J.L. Moreno to the method he developed for helping people become more creative in day to day living. It has applications in many different areas in which people are learning, changing and relating to others, in training, education, healing, spiritual life, business, performing arts and in organisations. Practitioners of this powerful method integrate all levels of a human being: their thinking, their intellect, their imagination, their feelings and their actions in their social context. In this way, learning is able to be applied directly in actual living situations at work, outside the home, in other organizations and in close relationships.

WHAT HAPPENS IN PSYCHODRAMA?
Under the guidance of a trained practitioner known as the director, the method involves improvisational dramatic action. The script for this drama is "written", moment by moment, out of the purposes and concerns of an individual, or the group where the method is being applied. Group members take active part in one anothers’ dramas so that they bring it as close to life as possible. In this way group members may generate and practice new behaviours and ways of thinking and test them out for their impact on those around them before they do this in the actual work or life situation. The consequences can be examined and new decisions made as to how to apply the learning.

HOW MAY AN INDIVIDUAL BENEFIT?
The method can move very fully into people’s subjective world without judgement. Thus long frustrated desires or fears can be enacted and greater freedom experienced. Old agendas can be completed, including grieving, trauma or celebration. Imagination and intuition are developed. Possible futures are enjoyed and tested when brought to life on the psychodrama stage. Fresh understanding of significant relationships can be gained.

From time to time, each individual in a group can be a star. In experiencing and expressing themselves dramatically a greater sense of self worth and ability to rise to life’s challenges are developed. Usually participants have fun. Many aspects of being human which find no other outlet in our contemporary world can be expressed by ordinary people. Dreams, myths and wishes become concrete for a time and lend power and depth to everyday living.

The connections between the individuals participating are deepened and strengthened through walking together into oneanother’s reality. New and lasting friendships are often formed and better communication and interpersonal skills developed. Reversing into the role of another creates fresh experience of the wider world.

WHERE IS THIS APPROACH APPLIED?
Practitioners of this method come from all walks of life and apply it in their own specialities. So organizational development consultants apply these action methods in their work with organizations in developing teams, in training managers on how to supervise and direct others or training employees in simulated situations. Therapists adapt the method to use with people requiring regressive work to attain their full ability to function as adults. Teachers, trainers and other educators both with children and with adults apply the method so that the material they are teaching can be integrated by their students in an absorbing way. A financial consultant may use the method to help their clients think through their financial situation and the demands placed on them by a committments they have undertaken. Professionals use the method to help people become clear about their long term goals and strategies for satisfying these or to help them negotiate with others to attain goals in a way which is mutually satisfactory.

Psychodrama practitioners encourage spontaneity and freshness so assisting individuals and groups of all sorts to achieve their goals and realise their dreams

HOW DOES A PRACTITIONER BENEFIT?
This approach to human development, originated by Jacob Moreno, provides a practitioner with a powerful way of conceptualising connections in all manner of relationships and in groups formed for all purposes. This way of thinking and the techniques transfer well into interesting and fruitful individual and relationship work.

WHAT IS INVOLVED IN TRAINING A PRACTITIONER?
In Australia and New Zealand, people trained in this method are certificated as Psychodramatists, Sociodramatists, Role-trainers or Sociometrists by the the ANZ Psychodrama Association, Inc., http://anzpa.org . ANZPA has established rigorous standards and accredits approved training throughout Australia and New Zealand since 1980. Training involves at least 2400 hours active participation in experiential training groups and supervision over several years, extensive supervision of application in the community and writing which includes a publishable article. Training is conducted by certified Trainers (TEPs) as staff of accredited Training Institutes.

ANZPA is a founding constituent member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia.

PACFA Home Page

WHAT MORE CAN I READ ON PSYCHODRAMA?

Here is the ANZPA flag statement on the PACFA site. It further describes psychodrama and its applications and has additional information about ANZPA itself.

Australian and New Zealand Psychodrama Association Journal, ANZPA, Victoria, AUSTRALIA. 1991-2002

BLATNER, H.A., Acting In: Practical Applications of Psychodramatic Methods.
Springer Publishing Company, NY, 1996

CLAYTON, G.M. & CLAYTON, L. "Psychodrama" in Armstrong,D. & Boas,P.(Eds)
Experiential Psychotherapies in Australia. PIT Publishing, Victoria, 1980.

CLAYTON, G.M. Living Pictures of the Self - Applications of Role Theory in Professional Practice and Daily Living. ICA Press, Victoria, 1993.

Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry. Beacon Press, New York. &, lately. as The International Journal of Action Methods , Heldref Publications Washington, DC

MORENO, J.L.; Psychodrama. Vols 1-3. Beacon Press. 1972.

MORENO, J.L. "Psychodrama." in Kaplan, H.I. & Sadoch, B.J. (eds)., Comprehensive Group Psychotherapy, Williams & Wilkins: Baltimore, 1971, pp.460-500.

MORENO, J.L.; Who Shall Survive. Beacon House NY. 1953.

WILLIAMS, A.; The Passionate Technique Tavistock/Routledge, London. 1989.

More Links to psychodrama literature books and articles
http://anzpa.org/biblio.html

WHERE IS PSYCHODRAMA AVAILABLE?
ANZPA accredited Training Institutes The Institutes listed here, can put you in contact with local certificated practitioners in Australia and New Zealand.

Worldwide Psychodrama Links Many courses and services are traceable through these


the Australian and New Zealand Psychodrama Association, Inc.
http://anzpa.org

Worldwide Psychodrama Links

Email: Robert Brodie, iam@merlin.net.au

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Latest update 19/12/03

Copyright © 1999-2003 Robert Brodie