Psychodrama Fact Sheet
J.L. Moreno, M. D., (1889-1974) a Rumanian-born psychiatrist who emigrated to the United States in the early part of the century, created psychodrama through combining theatre with his knowledge of psychiatry. He was a very strong influence on the development of family therapy, Transactional Analysis, Behavior Modification, Gestalt Therapy, and the creative arts therapies. He founded the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama in 1942, which is a thriving professional society that has brought together thousands of psychodrama practitioners. There are now professional psychodrama societies on every continent.
Psychodrama is a creative, action-oriented, process through which we can go beyond problem-solving, beyond personal insight, to profoundly understand the complexities of our life, because it is based upon the essential truth that we are part of an inter-connected tapestry of many lives.
Psychodrama is a form of group work that integrates imagination and action,and a philosophy that can greatly enhance a person's ability to manage or bring about desired change.
The word "Psychodrama" comes from the two roots "Psyche" meaning soul, and "drama" meaning action.
It emphasizes the enactment, and reenactment of situations and events past, present, or future, through which these events come to life. Through this experience, participants can see the events with new eyes, gain insight, and begin to think and feel differently about the situation.
Psychodrama explores the groups and systems of which we are a part, and the role we play within them. Even when we cannot control external stress-inducing circumstances, we can find choices as to how to play our own role.
This dynamic process is set in motion through imaginative exercises designed to generate an atmosphere of safety and support as well as stimulate creative energy. The combined effect of this process can result in dramatic shifts in perception, expanded creativity and the ability to be flexible and seek out original approaches and solutions to problems.
One of the underpinnings of psychodramatic philosophy is that relationships are the infrastructure of a person's life.
Relationships are expressed through roles. When we understand our roles - what social forces shaped them, the models that gave rise to them, the systems of which they are a part, the beliefs and attitudes that support them – we understand ourselves and can make sense of relationships.
Roles are the bridges between our personal, individual needs, feelings and beliefs and the world around us. Roles can be expanded, refined, diminished, or put to rest. New roles can be acquired through conscious effort.
Psychodrama examines the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious choices we make in relationships as well as by whom we are being chosen. Through this awareness we can make desired or necessary shifts in our connections to others.
The tools available through training in this method make any group leader more effective. Experiential learning in the classroom helps students integrate new information and make connections that go beyond the cognitive. The business world has known for a long time that everyone benefits when there is a climate conducive to creativity.
Training is crucial for psychodramatists, as action-oriented, experiential work has to be carefully modulated to assist participants to go beyond their defenses and "get into the act" while remaining grounded and safe, supported by the group. The more authentic the enactment of a role, the more potential there is to face whatever it is that is creating conflict or stress. A well-trained director can maximize the creative energy of the group, which brings a powerful opportunity to find a whole range of solutions to a problem we could never find through an intellectual discussion. top