Psychodrama is an action-oriented therapeutic modality invented by Austrian psychiatrist, Jacob Levy Moreno, (1889-1974) in the early1920’s. As a modality, psychodrama is a therapy that through various action methods, allows an individual to enact a conflict, crisis or a troubling situation in the present moment, while leaving time and space for the rest of the group to interact and connect with the individual as well as each other. Psychodramatic methods and techniques can potentially facilitate a deeper understanding of the self, the expression of unspoken thoughts and feelings, as well as opportunities to achieve catharsis (emotional relief) develop new skills, and explore new ways for being and behaving.
In a psychodrama group, Individuals are able work through unfinished business from their past, address pressing issues in the present as well as rehearsing anticipated roles and situations in the future. According to Zerka Moreno, (J.L.’s wife) “Psychodrama is a way of practicing life without being punished for making mistakes.”
Clinicians all over the world incorporate therapeutic techniques and tools from Moreno’s Psychodrama playbook in their practices. Some of the most popular techniques include: Role Reversal, in which the protagonist begins an enactment by playing him/herself first with an auxiliary (an other group member) playing another role. Roles are reversed throughout the scene, allowing the protagonist to physically step into the “other’s” shoes for a fresh or new perspective of the inciting incident. Another popular technique is referred to as “doubling.” This supportive technique allows other group members to approach the protagonist, gives voice to what is unspoken, help identify underlying emotions, reframe troubling distortions, and to provide whatever support the protagonist needs at the moment.
Psychodramatic techniques can be used in Family therapy, Couples counseling, groups and individual therapy.
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