Adventures in Psychodrama

Adventures in Psychodrama

by Dr. Peter A Olsson


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The author has found psychodrama group therapy to be very helpful in treating addictions, marital, vocational, family, and psychosomatic problems. Basic techniques of psychodrama like role-playing, role reversal, doubling, the soliloquy, empty chair, the narrator and magic shop can be helpful in group or individual therapy...even medical teaching.
Classic Psychodrama involves a stage area (Preferably elevated), the director, protagonist(s), antagonists, the audience, alter-egos and doubles. Hospital staff and other patients are asked to assume roles in the patient situation on focus. Efforts are made to dramatize the actual emotional experience and conflicts in the patient's life situation. Such participation is essential to the therapeutic group process. The audience group is a vital part of the therapeutic group process. Unlike the Hollywood movie director who stays at a distance back of the camera it is crucial that the director stay close to the patient who has chosen to have his life situation on focus. In classic psychodrama, the director like the captain of a ship or airplane is in charge. Staff and other patients may occasionally make suggestions but the final clinical decision rests with the director. The director needs to stay in tune with the protagonist's facial expression, tension, emotions as he or she sets the scenes and implements various psychodrama techniques. The psychodrama techniques like the soliloquy, the empty chair (Where an important person in the patient's life is imagined to be sitting and be confronted), doubling of the patient's likely inner unconscious or preconscious thoughts, role-reversal with an antagonist and focus on a patient's dream or fantasy can be very powerful therapeutically...But, for a fragile, highly anxious or borderline psychotic patient care must be taken with dosing of conflicts confronted in the patient.
More Detail about the Three Basic Psychodrama Techniques
1. Role Reversal---At the initiative of the director, the patient is asked to suddenly switch roles with the person to whom he is talking. For example, a husband embroiled with his wife in a heated conflict situation is abruptly instructed to take her role in the scene. This technique can jolt the patient with sudden stunning insight.
2. Doubling---The director asks a staff member or other patient in the group to stand close to or behind the patient and speak out clearly what the inner thoughts, feelings or perceptions of the patient apparently are. These thoughts are pretended not to be heard unless the patient choses to voice them. Doubling is often crucial at the time a role reversal is implemented by the director.
3. Soliloquy---The scene is halted by the director and a key person in the scene usually the patient on focus is urged to deliver a lengthy monologue about his feelings, doubts, fears, insights or contemplated plans of action. A double can assist the patient with this process.

Classic psychodrama has five phases. Warm-up, Setting-the-scene, Rising action, Climax, Declining action /Resolution and Share-back.An actual stage or regularly designated stage area, stage furniture and props (If possible), are important to enliven the therapeutic process. At all times during the psychodrama the director needs to stay close to the patient protagonist. The director must set the scene(s) as accurately as possible, and always try to see the psychodrama stage- world as the patient is experiencing it. A scene may be shifted fluidly between past, present or future by the director. Past, present and future may even be represented simultaneously on the psychodrama therapy stage. A scene may be repeated several times (therapeutic instant- replays), in search of conflict resolution. Resolution and mastery of a conflict and changed behavior in actual action (not merely words) is celebrated and applauded.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781974037384
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 09/06/2017
Pages: 70
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.15(d)

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