Guide To Training: About Psychodrama

Psychodrama can be defined as the science which explores the’ truth’ by dramatic methods. It “deals with interpersonal relations and private worlds.” Thus did Dr. J. L. Moreno, originator of the method, define psychodrama. By truth, Moreno referred to the personal truth of the protagonist, the subject of a psychodrama. While we live in a common physical world, each of us knows only our personal experience of it; each of us experiences the world a little bit differently from all our companions, from everybody in the world. There is sufficient consensual agreement concerning the nature of the world-most of the time and for most people-to convince us that we are indeed sharing a common universe. This is what we generally refer to as reality. However there are simultaneously considerable differences in the perception and interpretation of this reality. In this sense each of us lives in a singular world that is not quite like that of any other person. Truth, in Moreno’s definition of psychodrama, is one’s unique perception of the world, of one’s place in that world, and of one’s relationships with the others who co-create that world.

The most important aspect of our world is the society in which we live, the people with whom we interact, our interpersonal relationships, and their relationships with each other. A psychodrama is usually a dramatization of the interpersonal relationships of the protagonist as the protagonist perceives them. Psychodrama externalizes subjective material which resides internally, perceptions, memories, thoughts, emotions, fantasies, dreams, even hallucinations and delusions, giving all these tangible form upon the psychodramatic stage. This permits the audience to perceive in a physical, concrete manner the protagonist’s subjective and usually invisible experience. More important, psychodrama allows the protagonist, with the aid of the director and auxiliary egos, to explore his/her relationships in a more explicit way than is otherwise available. A common result is that protagonists perceptions of their worlds, of themselves in that world, and of their significant others is expanded and altered in ways that allow the protagonist to make sense out of what was here-to-fore unexplainable.

In short, psychodrama allows us to explore the world that we experience and to learn more about ourselves, others who are important to us and our relationships with them.

The psychodramatic method is a way of looking at and understanding subjective human experience. It includes a number of techniques which permits us to re-visit and re-enact past experiences, examine current relationships, and to explore dreams and fantasies and our expectations of what the future may bring. The psychodramatic director serves as guide, technician and dramaturge, helping the protagonist identify important internal processes and produce them in dramatic form. Members of the group aid by being auxiliary egos, stand-ins for absent significant others. It is a systematic method which means that it can be taught and learned. This is important to know because initially psychodrama often appears to be magical and that which occurs because of the method is attributed to personal characteristics of the director.

Although psychodrama is usually considered bo be a form of psychotherapy, and has been most widely applied in the mental health fields, psychotherapy is only one of its many functions. Psychodrama is a powerful method for teaching, for training, for engendering creativity, as well as for conducting social research and Phenomenological research. It is also an art form, a true version of drama.