Psychodrama is a therapeutic tool in which staging is the main element. Children, adolescents, adults or even older people can participate in this type of therapy. They consist of connecting with our greatest depths and representing what overwhelms us. So it's actually a creative way to solve the problems we can suffer.
Psychodrama seeks to solve problems through theatrical representation and analysis by the therapist and participants. This is a psychological technique created by Jacob Levy Moreno, a Romanian psychiatrist who discovered the therapeutic effect of staging what happens to us. In this article, you will discover how this interesting way of solving our conflicts works.
"Life is a play that allows us to experiment: for that, sing, cry, laugh, dance and live intensely every moment … Before the curtain falls and the work ends without applause."
What is psychodrama?
Psychodrama is used in psychotherapy as a way for patients to find a solution to what overwhelms them. It can be applied individually, as a couple, as a family and as a group. It will depend on each person and each therapist. In this type of intervention, these different stages are generally addressed:
- Warming up. In this part of the psychodrama, exercises are carried out so that the assistants integrate and become aware of the beginning of the intervention.
- Staging. It is during this stage that one motivates a person to present the problem that it has so that it can represent it by choosing other people who will have to put it in scene.
- Group Analysis. In this part of the meeting, people share their experience, whether they participated in acting or were spectators and thus using their perception.
- Closing. Here, each participant discusses his learning obtained during the session. Finally, the therapist summarizes the session and facilitates the understanding of each one.
At each stage, the therapist intervenes to help the process to set up and intervene when it deems necessary. For example, if someone skids or needs to focus on something. In addition, the group has an active participation. He does not only participate in the staging, but also during the group analysis and closure, which makes each participant of the psychodrama indispensable.
This process facilitates the disposition of the participants because each step favors the opening and the integration of the individuals who develop the psychodrama. Moreover, these aspects are not brought only at the psychological level, but also physically through exercises set up by the therapist. In fact, each step is not an improvisation, it is a process planned by the therapist who knows what the group needs.
Why does psychodrama work?
Sometimes, when we have problems that are difficult to assume and understand, it is difficult for us to know what is happening to us. Through psychodrama, we can give shape to those thoughts and emotions that make us feel bad. The representation is in this case the white paper on which we can write.
The staging facilitates the expression of difficult aspects to elaborate. This is possible because the person is able to see his problems from a different perspective and she explores it mentally. She can also see in the scenario different possibilities of solutions. In addition, she feels helped by the group and the therapist. The exercises help the person to disinhibit and to show more deeply what happens to him.
The facilitator is indispensable because it guides the process, helpspre- and develop different routes to solve problems. The therapist is therefore essential to guide the process, identify the needs of the group and analyze the elements that arise during the process.For example, it gets a lot of information through nonverbal language, a wonderful way to interpret what we show with our body.
On the other hand,e psychodrama works because it enhances personal growth through the learning of simulated direct experience. By encouraging living in the moment, our vision becomes broader. This technique promotes the daily application of "here and now" and the observation of problems from another angle. Finally, psychodrama helps to understand our ideas and thoughts through a broader perspective.
In psychodrama, staging techniques are multiple. Each therapist provides participants with different methods to help solve their problems. Each psycho-dramatic meeting will therefore be different. We will present you by following certain forms of staged psychodrama:
- The sculpture. It's about turning one or more people into a sculpture that expresses the feelings and thoughts that overwhelm us. The person can model his own body. It's a wonderful way to put our creativity into action.
- The mirror. This technique involves asking others to represent the problem of one of the participants so that they can see it from the outside. The two people then learn from the experience and the public also, as an observer.
- The monologue. It is a question of pushing the person to evoke their concern as if they were thinking aloud.
- The roles. Here, the person takes the role of another person at a point in the staging to see the problem from a different point of view: that of other people who are affected by the problem. It is used to represent the problems of others in order to facilitate the understanding of their problems and to learn from their experiences.
These activities are always accompanied by an analysis by the therapist and suggestions he makes to promote the therapeutic environment. All those who participate finally learn from each experience, whether they are characters, assistants, or spectators.
The type of activity will depend on the needs of those involved in the psychodramatic process and the issues addressed.. The therapist as an expert knows how to determine the kind of actions that must be taken to foster an atmosphere of learning and expression.
What does psychodrama encourage?
Psychodrama encourages different aspects:
- Awareness about the problems
- Exploring different solutions to problems
- Understanding the feelings of others
- The group meeting
- Taking care of people
- Living the moment
- Emotional release
Through dramatization, interpretation, and analysis, we can understand what is happening to us, taking into account the group work and the therapist's work.. It's a wonderful way to find ourselves personally, to develop our creativity, to be responsible for who we are and for understanding each other.
Psychodrama is a resource that can help us solve our conflicts. Each experience will be a learning experience, an amazing way to get to know each other and to strengthen our empathy and creativity by releasing the emotions and thoughts that overwhelm us. A psychodrama is not only a therapeutic tool, it is a means of expression and a solution to problems.
"Psychodrama is a new psychotherapy technique that can be applied widely."
-Jacob Levy Moreno
Anchústegui, C. Técnicas básicas psicodramáticas. Instituto Español of Psicoterapia y Psicodrama Psicoanalítico, 1-9.