Psychodrama was developed by Jacob Moreno, who defined this method as a way to explore the truth by dramatic methods. He believed the core component of a psychodrama group was to encourage members to be spontaneous, opening themselves to their inner experiences so they can meet outward experiences in unique and creative ways.
Goals of Psychodrama:
One of the main goals of psychodrama is to create a catharsis effect to allow for emotional release. Psychodrama additionally assists in promoting creative insight into the relationship of how the past affects the present. This process also facilitates healing of the past, reality testing, and creating new ways of being.
The Five Instruments of Psychodrama:
- The Stage: A living space which is multidimensional and flexible. This is where the enactment takes place.
- The Protagonist: The group member who is the star of the psychodrama. The protagonist represents the theme of the group.
- The Director: The therapist or group leader, functioning as the producer, who must take cues from the client and turn those cues into dramatic action.
- Auxiliary Egos: Group members who assume the roles of significant others in the drama.
- The Audience: Group members who witness the drama and represent the world at large.
Stages in Psychodrama:
- Warm-up Stage: The protagonist will explore issues and express feelings towards their existence, to be explored onstage.
- Enactment/Encounter Stage: This is the action phase, where enactment can take place in the form of a classical, situational, or future psychodrama.
- Closure: Characters are deroled and the entire group shares with the members in a non-judgmental, supportive way how they felt in their roles or their feelings around what took place.
- Multiple-Parts-of-Self: Involves working with different psychological components of the client’s psyche, having those components engage in a dialog with each other.
- Soliloquy: Involves having the member think out loud and say what’s on their mind.
- Role Reversal: The protagonist and auxiliary ego switch roles.
- Doubling: The director expresses what might be the patient’s inner thoughts or feelings.
Possible Diagnoses that Lend Themselves to Psychodrama:
- Mood Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
- Adjustment Disorders
- V-codes: Acculturation/Abuse and Neglect/Parental Problems
- Substance Abuse
Psychodrama is an experiential therapeutic tool that provides a method for group members to move quickly and effectively into the pain of their core issues while aiding them in redirecting their experiences. Psychodrama offers a safe setting where participants can reveal their memories in a dramatic form. It rests on the premise that it is in action and in life that we grow and learn our greatest lessons. Psychodrama emphasizes personal interaction and encounter, while focusing on the here-and-now, spontaneity, creativity, and the expression of feelings. The purpose is to liberate oneself from scripts or stereotypes and gain a new perspective on life.