(August 26, 2002)
Adam Blatner, M.D., T.E.P.
(This is a distillation of an email discussion in July, 2002 on the psychodrama listserve, "grouptalk.")
I think psychodrama is the "richest" of all fields in the greater field of psychotherapy, for the following reasons: Psychodrama is the only field that
... and I could probably think of more things. If it seems that I'm quite enthusiastic about this field, well, sure... it's a great box of tools, conceptually, philosophically, and practically...
- has historically influenced so many other fields--Gestalt Therapy, encounter groups, drama therapy, family therapy, group therapy, sociology, organizational development, etc.
- includes philosophical and even theological implications
- addresses the values and nature of play, flow, intuition, imagination
- offers a form in which many the arts and art therapies can be integrated
- focuses on creativity, spontaneity
- develops, presents, and integrates useful theories of social psychology (i.e., sociometry)
- offers applied role theory as a "user friendly language" for all the behavioral disciplines
- has a vision of social activism
- is applied with modifications in education, business, criminology, spirituality, politics, community building, recreation, as well as psychotherapy
- can be used in groups, with families, couples, and with modifications, individually
- the techniques can be adapted and integrated with many other approaches
- has a number of psychological theories that complement and expand the mainstream of psychodynamic theory-- without attempting to compete with it..
- offers a powerful method for empathy training, professional training
Anne Bannister, in England, added: "..one more thing to it, based on what I have discovered in my recent doctoral research. The process of psychodrama is very similar to the process of attachment, being creative, embodied, and utilizing "the space between." (This reflects its deeper relationship with the dynamics and value of children's play, as applied to adults–and discussed in Adam's & Allee's book, The Art of Play.)
Rob Pramann, Ph.D., from Utah, adds: Moreno saw his development as not a scientific revolution but a spiritual revolution, I think his term was "religious," and he compared it to the beginning of Christianity. Also, his famous reported quote to Freud, "You help people to analyze their dreams, I teach them how to dream again" (my paraphrase) is quite significant. In it I see that psychodrama can help people focus on the future and be in touch with their potentials, hopes and dreams.
Julia Howell in England added these points: I want to offer some additions to your inspiring list of positive & unique qualities about this creative way of working.
(I'm aware that this list overlaps some with yours. Enjoyed doing it. Thanks. Julia)
- Psychodrama, like other methodologies, can be immensely powerful and life-changing. Perhaps more uniquely and, often through the use of surplus reality, it can even be experienced as magical, miraculous and awesome.
- Psychodrama is a philosophy that incorporates spirituality, ethical values, beliefs about human potential and has wide world implications.
- Psychodrama can be embraced beyond workshops, training and therapy sessions, as a way of life.
- Through role reversal wider perspectives can actually be experienced first hand.
- Psychodrama provides the means to safely go where other approaches may fear to tread - entering into and exploring another's world of 'madness' for example.
- It recognizes and addresses the significance and importance of warm up (the dynamic of gradual increasing of spontaneity).
- Working 'in action' enables participants to engage on a holistic whole-person level, incorporating and inviting expression of aspects of the emotional, psychological, spiritual & physiological.
- Empowerment can be experienced and witnessed in the moment. For example, a patient may be invited to hold the therapist's or director's role.
Now, dear reader, if you'd like to add to this list or suggest changes, email me! I can revise this!