Fundamentals of Psychodrama
 9789811544262, 9811544263

Table of contents :
Foreword
Preface
Contents
About the Authors
Methodological Fundamentals of Psychodrama
1 Introduction
1.1 What Is Psychodrama?
1.2 Psychodrama and Role Play
1.3 Definition and Classification of Psychodrama
1.4 Psychodrama as a System
2 An Overview of Psychodrama
2.1 Getting Started
2.2 Warm Up
2.3 The Protagonist Play
2.4 The Integration Phase
2.5 Working with the Group
2.6 Summary
Reference
3 Basic Elements of Psychodrama
3.1 The Stage
3.2 The Protagonist
3.3 The Auxiliary Ego
3.4 The Group
3.5 The Director
3.6 Summary
References
Further Reading
4 Psychodramatic Arrangements
4.1 Scenic Play of Real or Fictional Events
4.2 The Vignette
4.3 The Role Play
4.4 Role Training
4.5 The Future Projection
4.6 The Empty Chair
4.7 Systemic Constellations and Sculptures
4.7.1 Psychodramatic Constellations
4.7.2 Sculpture Work
4.8 Scenic Exploration of Processes
4.9 Scenic Miniatures
4.10 Impromptu Play
4.11 Playback
4.12 The Action Sociometry
4.12.1 Unidimensional Presentation
4.12.2 Two-Dimensional Presentation
4.12.3 Polar Presentation
4.12.4 Applications of Action Sociometry
4.13 The Spontaneity Test
4.14 “Behind Your Back”
4.15 The Magic Shop
4.16 The Good Fairy
4.17 Psychodramatic Work with Fairy Tales, Fables or Mythological Stories
4.18 Psychodramatic Dream Analysis
4.19 Summary
References
5 Action Techniques in Psychodrama
5.1 The Psychodramatic Interview
5.2 Verbalization Techniques
5.3 Role Reversal and Role Change
5.3.1 The “Simple Role Reversal”
5.3.2 Role Reversal from the Antagonist’s Role with Another Auxiliary Ego
5.3.3 Indirect Role Reversal with a Stand-In
5.3.4 Role Change with Auxiliary Objects and Symbols
5.3.5 Collective Role Reversal
5.3.6 Theoretical Background of Role Reversal
5.3.7 Objectives and Rationale of Role Reversal
5.3.8 Recommendations for the Application of Role Reversal
5.4 Double
5.4.1 Empathetic/Supportive Double
5.4.2 The Supportive Double
5.4.3 Exploratory Double
5.4.4 Doubling of Self-observations
5.4.5 Questioning Double
5.4.6 Strengthening Double
5.4.7 Persuasive Double
5.4.8 Interpretive Double
5.4.9 Paradoxical Double
5.4.10 Divided/Multiple Doubles
5.4.11 Advisory Double
5.4.12 Theoretical Background of the Double
5.4.13 Objectives and Rationale of the Doubling Technique
5.4.14 Recommendations for the Use of the Double
5.5 The Mirror Technique
5.6 Personification of Metaphors
5.7 Personification of Emotions
5.8 Slow Motion
5.9 Time Lapse
5.10 Maximization
5.11 The Freezing Technique
5.12 Other Action Techniques in Psychodrama
5.13 Summary
References
6 Psychodrama in Individual Settings
6.1 Structuring the Warm-up Phase
6.2 Structuring the Action Phase
6.2.1 Working with Individual Psychodramatic Elements
6.2.2 Monodrama
6.2.3 Psychodrama à Deux
6.2.4 Autodrama
6.3 Structuring the Integration Phase
6.4 Summary
References
7 Psychodramatic Work in Groups: Sociodrama
7.1 An Overview of Different Types of Sociodrama
7.2 Topic-Centered Sociodrama
7.3 Group-Centered Sociodrama
7.3.1 Action Sociometry in Group-Centered Sociodrama
7.3.2 Systemic Constellations in Group-Centered Sociodrama
7.3.3 The Impromptu Play (Stegreifspiel) in Group-Centered Sociodrama
7.4 The Sociocultural Sociodrama
7.5 Summary
References
Further Reading
Preparation and Design of Psychodramatic Processes
8 Establishing Contact, Clarification of Contract and Goal Planning
8.1 Initial Contact and Contract Clarification
8.2 Conception
8.3 Summary
References
Further Reading
9 The Warming-up Phase
9.1 Functions of the Warming-up Phase and Tasks of the Director
9.2 Designing the Warming-up Phase
9.3 Arrangements for Use in the Warming-up Phase (“Warming-up Techniques”)
9.4 Choosing the Method and the Protagonist
9.5 Summary
References
10 The Action Phase
10.1 Functions of the Action Phase
10.2 Opening of the Stage
10.3 Exploration of the Topic
10.4 Clarification of the Task
10.4.1 Fulfillment of the Task as a Success Criterion?
10.5 Diagnostics and Intervention Planning
10.5.1 Formulating Diagnostic Hypotheses
10.5.2 Developing Process Objectives
10.5.3 Developing Process Steps: The “Central Idea” of the Psychodrama Director
10.5.4 Selection of Suitable Scenic Arrangements
10.6 Setting up the Stage
10.7 Casting the Auxiliary Ego Roles
10.8 The Psychodramatic Action
10.8.1 Entry into Psychodramatic Surplus Reality and the Psychodramatic Interview
10.8.2 Selection of Action Techniques
10.8.3 Basic Rules for the Psychodrama Director
10.8.3.1 Ending and Changing the Scene
10.9 Closing
10.10 Summary
References
11 The Integration Phase
11.1 Functions of the Integration Phase and Tasks of the Director
11.2 Sharing
11.3 Role Feedback
11.4 Identification Feedback
11.5 Summary
References
12 The Appraisal and Integration Phase
12.1 Functions of the Appraisal and Integration Phase and Tasks of the Director
12.2 Processing
12.3 Analysis and Integration
12.4 Summary
References
Theoretical Foundations of Psychodrama
13 The Life of J. L. Moreno and the Origin of Psychodrama
References
Further Reading
14 Basic Theoretical Concepts of Psychodrama
14.1 Man as a Cosmic Being: Spontaneity and Creativity
14.2 Man as a Social Being: Tele, Encounter and the Theory of Social Networks
14.2.1 Tele, Empathy and Transference
14.2.2 Encounter
14.2.3 The Social Atom and Theory of Social Networks
14.3 Man as a Role Player: Moreno’s Role Theory
14.3.1 Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy—A “Triadic System”
14.4 Surplus Reality as the Basic Principle of Psychodramatic Work
14.5 Summary
References
Further Reading
15 Sociometry
15.1 Theoretical Assumptions of Sociometry
15.2 The Sociometric Test
15.3 Alternatives to the Sociometric Test
15.4 The Sociogram
15.5 The Social Atom
15.6 The Social Network Inventory (SNI)
15.7 Summary
References
Further Reading
Interdisciplinary Topics in Working with Psychodrama
16 Emotional Trauma, Shame and “Taboo Topics”
16.1 Working with Shame and “Taboo Topics”
16.2 Working with Sexuality and Aggression
16.3 Working with Emotional Abuse and Trauma
16.3.1 Psychodramatic Trauma Processing
16.4 Working with Clients Feeling Destabilized, Engaging in Self-destructive Behavior and/or Being at Risk of External Harm
16.5 Summary
References
Further Reading
17 “Resistance” to Change
17.1 Manifestations of Resistance
17.2 Fundamentals of the Concept of Resistance
17.3 Resistance in Psychodrama
17.4 Resistance as a Multidimensional Phenomenon
17.5 Strategies in Dealing with Resistance
17.6 Psychodramatic Processing of Resistance
17.7 Resistance in Groups and Non-therapeutic Fields of Work
17.8 Summary
References
Further Reading
18 Group Dynamics
18.1 What Is Group Dynamics?
18.2 Phases of Group Development
18.3 The Orientation Phase (“Forming”)
18.3.1 Building Group Cohesion
18.3.2 The Leader’s Tasks in the Orientation Phase
18.4 The Conflict Phase (“Storming”)
18.4.1 Conflict
18.4.2 Power and Influence
18.4.3 Schindler’s Rank Dynamic Position Model
18.4.4 Stock Whitaker’s Focal Group Conflict Model
18.4.5 Sociometry and Group Conflict
18.4.6 The Leader’s Tasks in the Conflict Phase
18.5 The Structuring Phase (“Norming”)
18.5.1 Norms, Roles and Status
18.5.2 The Leader’s Tasks in the Structuring Phase
18.6 The Phase of Constructive Work (“Performing”)
18.7 The Dissolution Phase (“Adjourning”)
18.8 Summary
References
Further Reading
19 The Intercultural Dimension in Working with Psychodrama
19.1 The Intercultural Dimension in Psychosocial Work
19.1.1 Language
19.1.2 Migration and Discriminatory Experiences in the Sociopolitical Context as Well as the “Cultural Identity”
19.1.3 Psychotherapy/Counseling Norms
19.1.4 Interculturality and Group Dynamics
19.2 The Intercultural Dimension in Working with Psychodrama
19.3 Summary
References
Further Reading
20 Therapeutic Factors in Psychodrama
20.1 Outcome Variables: Empirical Findings on the Effects of Psychodrama
20.1.1 Change in Attitude
20.1.2 Improving Interpersonal Competence and Empathy
20.1.3 Role Expansion
20.1.4 Changes in the Clinical Representation
20.2 Process Variables: Therapeutic Factors of Psychodrama
20.2.1 Non-specific Therapeutic Factors
20.2.2 Specific Therapeutic Factors
20.3 Summary
References
Further Reading
Glossary

Citation preview

Falko von Ameln Jochen Becker-Ebel

Fundamentals of Psychodrama

Fundamentals of Psychodrama

Falko von Ameln Jochen Becker-Ebel •

Fundamentals of Psychodrama

123

Falko von Ameln Norden, Niedersachsen, Germany

Jochen Becker-Ebel Vedadrama India Pvt. Ltd. Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

ISBN 978-981-15-4426-2 ISBN 978-981-15-4427-9 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9

(eBook)

Translation from the German language edition: Psychodrama: Grundlagen by Falko von Ameln and Josef Kramer, © Springer Verlag Deutschland 2018. All Rights Reserved. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. The registered company address is: 152 Beach Road, #21-01/04 Gateway East, Singapore 189721, Singapore

Foreword

Some of my earliest memories are of my first visit to Germany in the summer of 1957. I was five years old, traveling with my parents who were conducting psychodrama demonstrations in several cities over a two-month period. Two years later, we visited East Germany, taking to the road in a very cramped Volkswagen. My father, who was by then of some circumference, must have suffered greatly. He had become accustomed to oversize American cars. But to me it was all a marvelous adventure. At that age, I was mainly impressed with comic books in German, Pez dispensers, the wonderful trains and—encountered first in Vienna naturally—kaiserschmarrn. This was of course still a Germany still recovering from the war. But if there were privations, they did not come to my notice—with one exception: the piles of rubble that still stood in Leipzig. Mainly I remember the gemutlichkeit and feeling for years afterward that Germany was my second home. On the many occasions I have visited Germany since then, these feelings have always returned to me. Unfortunately, the German language I so easily acquired as a small child has not. In light of this deep connection to Germany and psychodrama in Germany, I am delighted and honored to write this foreword to this important text. The authors have done a great service in providing a volume that weaves together both psychodrama theory and practice. They have developed much-needed accounts of psychodrama in various settings, showing its diversity and originality. They have also gone far to explode the myths that psychodrama is necessarily practiced only in groups and that it is simply a more complicated form of role-playing. My father would have been especially pleased that they have not left behind his original conception of psychodrama as part of a therapeutic triad with group psychotherapy and sociometry. As well, their survey of empirical research on psychodrama includes a call for much more empirical study, so that the field can be brought to the appropriate modern scientific level. It is often said that there were so many good ideas in psychodrama that they have been swept up in other psychotherapeutic theories and modes of practice. There can be no denying that psychodrama has been a rich font of ideas that lend themselves to much borrowing by other approaches. Yet, the authors implicitly provide a v

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compelling argument that a coherent view of psychodrama renders each of these discrete ideas—such as spontaneity and creativity, the warm-up, the concept of catharsis and so forth—still more valuable than when they appear discrete and disconnected from a systematic approach. In that spirit, may this book contribute to the growth of psychodrama in a country that has always welcomed it, and help to give it its right place in the variety of methods intended to heal those who suffer and instruct those who wish to grow. Summer 2003

Jonathan D. Moreno

Preface

“Which textbook can you recommend?” Many participants in our psychodrama seminars would ask this question frequently. Unfortunately, we could not give them a satisfactory answer. There has been a dearth of scientific literature in the psychodrama community for some time now—“creativity” and “spontaneity” were the key maxims of J. L. Moreno, the ingenious founder of psychodrama. In comparison, he was rather skeptical of the written “cultural conserves.” Over the years, we have developed extensive teaching material on topics ranging from psychodrama theory and methodology, group dynamics, team development and conflict management to psychodramatic work with fairy tales and dreams in order to support our participants on their way to becoming psychodrama directors. We have scoured professional libraries, had discussions with colleagues and repeatedly put the results to test in various fields of work. The result is this book in front of you, which was first published in German in 2004 and has established itself as a standard reference work in psychodrama education in German-speaking countries since. Despite a broad range of psychodrama literature in English, we had the feeling that a concise textbook, covering the whole range of topics from theory to methodology to praxeology, is still missing in the English-speaking world. As readers, we hope to give you an insight into the work with the psychodrama. If you are already familiar with psychodrama, we hope that this book will give you new insights and perspectives. Finally, we hope to bring recognition to psychodrama and the potential it has in the field of therapy and counseling. Psychodrama is often considered to be a psychotherapeutic method. The fact that even Jacob Levy Moreno, the founder of the psychodrama, used this method in a variety of work fields ranging from therapy to social work and organizational consultation is often overlooked. Given this range, it has not been possible to take into account all the facets and peculiarities of the different fields of work in all chapters, even though we have tried to demonstrate the possibilities of transfer as much as possible.

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A textbook will rarely be read in its entirety. Therefore, the individual chapters have been designed such that they are comprehensible as self-contained texts to a large extent. Despite the substantive coherence of the individual chapters, the texts also progress systematically by building on one another from the methodological and theoretical foundations of the method to in-depth considerations on cross-sectional topics such as resistance to change and group dynamics, culminating in the findings of the empirical research on psychodrama. Thus, reading this entire book is recommended for those readers who want to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the psychodramatic practice. Alternatively, there are a number of other possible ways to read this book: – For those who want to gain a basic understanding of the psychodramatic methodology: Introduction-Part I, – For therapists and counselors who work with other methods and wish to expand their practice using psychodrama-Parts I and II, – For psychodramatists who wish to expand their methodological repertoire-Part II, – For experienced psychodramatists who want to reflect on their work more deeply-Parts III and IV, – For the scientific study of psychodrama (e.g. in the context of psychology studies)-Part I, Part III and Chap. 20. We have illustrated the explanations with case studies as much as possible within the limited scope of this book. There is a glossary of psychodramatic technical terms at the end, which should help make the reading easier for those unfamiliar with psychodrama. References to glossary entries are marked with in the text. The glossary entries consist of a brief explanation of the term and a reference to the passage which explains the term in more detail. We decided to use male, female and gender-neutral phrases interchangeably in order to avoid linguistic imbalance as well as to preserve readability. Genderspecific phrases usually refer to both sexes. Psychodrama is an action-oriented and experience-oriented method that can quickly trigger an intense experience. Psychodrama practitioners require high methodic and counseling/therapeutic competence to be able to create and control that intensity. But most importantly, they require high competence so that they do not accidentally trigger an intense experience in situations where it could harm clients or where it is not covered by the contract between management and clients. While experienced therapists, teachers, counselors or social workers can safely experiment with individual psychodrama elements (e.g. role reversal, doubling, empty chair technique), a well-founded further education at a certified institute is an absolute prerequisite to be able to exhaust all possibilities. We would like to thank – Jonathan D. Moreno for the personal foreword, – Satvinder Kaur, Priya Vyas and Springer Nature for making the publication of this book possible in the first place,

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– Shama Parkhe for the competent translation and – Vedadrama India Pvt. Ltd. for sponsoring the translation. Psychodrama is an action-oriented and experience-oriented method that can quickly trigger an intense experience. Psychodrama practitioners require high methodic and counseling/therapeutic competence to be able to create and control that intensity. But most importantly, they require high competence so that they do not accidentally trigger an intense experience in situations where it could harm clients or where it is not covered by the contract between management and clients. While experienced therapists, teachers, counselors or social workers can safely experiment with individual psychodrama elements (e.g. role reversal, doubling, empty chair technique), a well-founded further education at an institute certified by your national psychodrama federation is an absolute prerequisite to be able to exhaust all possibilities. North, Germany September 2013

Falko von Ameln Jochen Becker-Ebel

Contents

Part I

Methodological Fundamentals of Psychodrama

1

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1 What Is Psychodrama? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2 Psychodrama and Role Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3 Definition and Classification of Psychodrama 1.4 Psychodrama as a System . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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An Overview of Psychodrama . 2.1 Getting Started . . . . . . . 2.2 Warm Up . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3 The Protagonist Play . . . 2.4 The Integration Phase . . 2.5 Working with the Group 2.6 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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3

Basic Elements of Psychodrama 3.1 The Stage . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2 The Protagonist . . . . . . . . 3.3 The Auxiliary Ego . . . . . 3.4 The Group . . . . . . . . . . . 3.5 The Director . . . . . . . . . . 3.6 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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4

Psychodramatic Arrangements . . . . . . . . . . . 4.1 Scenic Play of Real or Fictional Events 4.2 The Vignette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3 The Role Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.4 Role Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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4.5 4.6 4.7

The Future Projection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Empty Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Systemic Constellations and Sculptures . . . 4.7.1 Psychodramatic Constellations . . . . 4.7.2 Sculpture Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.8 Scenic Exploration of Processes . . . . . . . . . 4.9 Scenic Miniatures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.10 Impromptu Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.11 Playback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.12 The Action Sociometry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.12.1 Unidimensional Presentation . . . . . 4.12.2 Two-Dimensional Presentation . . . 4.12.3 Polar Presentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.12.4 Applications of Action Sociometry 4.13 The Spontaneity Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.14 “Behind Your Back” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.15 The Magic Shop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.16 The Good Fairy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.17 Psychodramatic Work with Fairy Tales, Fables or Mythological Stories . . . . . . . . . . 4.18 Psychodramatic Dream Analysis . . . . . . . . 4.19 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

5

Action 5.1 5.2 5.3

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Techniques in Psychodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Psychodramatic Interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Verbalization Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Role Reversal and Role Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.3.1 The “Simple Role Reversal” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.3.2 Role Reversal from the Antagonist’s Role with Another Auxiliary Ego . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.3.3 Indirect Role Reversal with a Stand-In . . . . . . . . . 5.3.4 Role Change with Auxiliary Objects and Symbols 5.3.5 Collective Role Reversal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.3.6 Theoretical Background of Role Reversal . . . . . . 5.3.7 Objectives and Rationale of Role Reversal . . . . . . 5.3.8 Recommendations for the Application of Role Reversal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Double . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.4.1 Empathetic/Supportive Double . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.4.2 The Supportive Double . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.4.3 Exploratory Double . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.4.4 Doubling of Self-observations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.4.5 Questioning Double . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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5.4.6 5.4.7 5.4.8 5.4.9 5.4.10 5.4.11 5.4.12 5.4.13

Strengthening Double . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Persuasive Double . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Interpretive Double . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Paradoxical Double . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Divided/Multiple Doubles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Advisory Double . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Theoretical Background of the Double . . . . . Objectives and Rationale of the Doubling Technique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.4.14 Recommendations for the Use of the Double 5.5 The Mirror Technique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.6 Personification of Metaphors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.7 Personification of Emotions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.8 Slow Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.9 Time Lapse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.10 Maximization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.11 The Freezing Technique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.12 Other Action Techniques in Psychodrama . . . . . . . . . 5.13 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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6

Psychodrama in Individual Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.1 Structuring the Warm-up Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.2 Structuring the Action Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.2.1 Working with Individual Psychodramatic Elements . 6.2.2 Monodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.2.3 Psychodrama à Deux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.2.4 Autodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.3 Structuring the Integration Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.4 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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7

Psychodramatic Work in Groups: Sociodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.1 An Overview of Different Types of Sociodrama . . . . . . . . . 7.2 Topic-Centered Sociodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3 Group-Centered Sociodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3.1 Action Sociometry in Group-Centered Sociodrama . 7.3.2 Systemic Constellations in Group-Centered Sociodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3.3 The Impromptu Play (Stegreifspiel) in Group-Centered Sociodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.4 The Sociocultural Sociodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.5 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Part II 8

9

Preparation and Design of Psychodramatic Processes

Establishing Contact, Clarification of Contract and Goal Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.1 Initial Contact and Contract Clarification . . . . . . . . 8.2 Conception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.3 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Warming-up Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.1 Functions of the Warming-up Phase and Tasks of the Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.2 Designing the Warming-up Phase . . . . . . . . . . . 9.3 Arrangements for Use in the Warming-up Phase (“Warming-up Techniques”) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.4 Choosing the Method and the Protagonist . . . . . . 9.5 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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10 The Action Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.1 Functions of the Action Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.2 Opening of the Stage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.3 Exploration of the Topic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.4 Clarification of the Task . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.4.1 Fulfillment of the Task as a Success Criterion? 10.5 Diagnostics and Intervention Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.5.1 Formulating Diagnostic Hypotheses . . . . . . . . . 10.5.2 Developing Process Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.5.3 Developing Process Steps: The “Central Idea” of the Psychodrama Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.5.4 Selection of Suitable Scenic Arrangements . . . . 10.6 Setting up the Stage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.7 Casting the Auxiliary Ego Roles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.8 The Psychodramatic Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.8.1 Entry into Psychodramatic Surplus Reality and the Psychodramatic Interview . . . . . . . . . . 10.8.2 Selection of Action Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.8.3 Basic Rules for the Psychodrama Director . . . . 10.9 Closing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.10 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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11 The Integration Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167 11.1 Functions of the Integration Phase and Tasks of the Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167 11.2 Sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168

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11.3 Role Feedback . . . . . . 11.4 Identification Feedback 11.5 Summary . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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12 The Appraisal and Integration Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.1 Functions of the Appraisal and Integration Phase and Tasks of the Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.2 Processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.3 Analysis and Integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.4 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Part III

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Theoretical Foundations of Psychodrama

13 The Life of J. L. Moreno and the Origin of Psychodrama . . . . . . . 179 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 14 Basic Theoretical Concepts of Psychodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.1 Man as a Cosmic Being: Spontaneity and Creativity . . . . . 14.2 Man as a Social Being: Tele, Encounter and the Theory of Social Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.2.1 Tele, Empathy and Transference . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.2.2 Encounter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.2.3 The Social Atom and Theory of Social Networks . 14.3 Man as a Role Player: Moreno’s Role Theory . . . . . . . . . 14.3.1 Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy—A “Triadic System” . . . . . . . . . . 14.4 Surplus Reality as the Basic Principle of Psychodramatic Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.5 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Further Reading 15 Sociometry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.1 Theoretical Assumptions of Sociometry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.2 The Sociometric Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.3 Alternatives to the Sociometric Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.4 The Sociogram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.5 The Social Atom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.6 The Social Network Inventory (SNI) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.7 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Part IV

Interdisciplinary Topics in Working with Psychodrama

16 Emotional Trauma, Shame and “Taboo Topics” . . . . . . . 16.1 Working with Shame and “Taboo Topics” . . . . . . . . 16.2 Working with Sexuality and Aggression . . . . . . . . . . 16.3 Working with Emotional Abuse and Trauma . . . . . . 16.3.1 Psychodramatic Trauma Processing . . . . . . . 16.4 Working with Clients Feeling Destabilized, Engaging in Self-destructive Behavior and/or Being at Risk of External Harm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16.5 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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17 “Resistance” to Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.1 Manifestations of Resistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.2 Fundamentals of the Concept of Resistance . . . . . . . . . . . 17.3 Resistance in Psychodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.4 Resistance as a Multidimensional Phenomenon . . . . . . . . . 17.5 Strategies in Dealing with Resistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.6 Psychodramatic Processing of Resistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.7 Resistance in Groups and Non-therapeutic Fields of Work 17.8 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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18 Group 18.1 18.2 18.3

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18.4

18.5

18.6 18.7

Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What Is Group Dynamics? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Phases of Group Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Orientation Phase (“Forming”) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.3.1 Building Group Cohesion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.3.2 The Leader’s Tasks in the Orientation Phase . . The Conflict Phase (“Storming”) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.4.1 Conflict . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.4.2 Power and Influence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.4.3 Schindler’s Rank Dynamic Position Model . . . 18.4.4 Stock Whitaker’s Focal Group Conflict Model . 18.4.5 Sociometry and Group Conflict . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.4.6 The Leader’s Tasks in the Conflict Phase . . . . . The Structuring Phase (“Norming”) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.5.1 Norms, Roles and Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.5.2 The Leader’s Tasks in the Structuring Phase . . The Phase of Constructive Work (“Performing”) . . . . . . The Dissolution Phase (“Adjourning”) . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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18.8 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294 Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295 19 The Intercultural Dimension in Working with Psychodrama . . . 19.1 The Intercultural Dimension in Psychosocial Work . . . . . . . 19.1.1 Language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.1.2 Migration and Discriminatory Experiences in the Sociopolitical Context as Well as the “Cultural Identity” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.1.3 Psychotherapy/Counseling Norms . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.1.4 Interculturality and Group Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . 19.2 The Intercultural Dimension in Working with Psychodrama . 19.3 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Therapeutic Factors in Psychodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20.1 Outcome Variables: Empirical Findings on the Effects of Psychodrama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20.1.1 Change in Attitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20.1.2 Improving Interpersonal Competence and Empathy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20.1.3 Role Expansion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20.1.4 Changes in the Clinical Representation . . . . . . 20.2 Process Variables: Therapeutic Factors of Psychodrama 20.2.1 Non-specific Therapeutic Factors . . . . . . . . . . . 20.2.2 Specific Therapeutic Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20.3 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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About the Authors

Falko von Ameln, Ph.D., is a psychodramatist, consultant and leadership trainer and is actively involved in the further education of consultants, coaches and HR experts. He holds a doctoral degree in Systemic Leadership Conceptions and a postdoctoral degree in Consulting Sciences from the Institute of Organization Development and Group Dynamics at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria. He lectures at various universities and has authored numerous publications on psychodrama, counseling, leadership and organization studies. He is a managing editor of the journal Gruppe. Interaktion. Organisation. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Organisationspsychologie (Group, Interaction, Organization: Journal of Applied Organizational Psychology, Springer). Jochen Becker-Ebel (Dr. theol.) is a psychodramatist, trainer, Professor of Palliative Care and author. He runs training institutes for psychodrama, medical and psychotherapy education in Germany and India: www.vedadrama.com; www. pib-zentrum.de; www.mediacion.de. His current interests include bringing psychodrama into the domains of human resource development, organizational development and day-to-day life.

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Part I

Methodological Fundamentals of Psychodrama

Introduction Methodologically, psychodrama is undoubtedly one of the most complex methods of therapy and counseling. The psychodramatic toolbox includes an extensive repertoire of scenic/theatrical arrangements and techniques that are selected and used according to specific rules. In this sense, psychodrama is a craft that requires the mastery of various tools and instruments. The seven chapters in Part I of this book are to an extent understood as “instructions” for the psychodramatic instrument. They describe the various methodological tools, explain their function and demonstrate which technique can be used in a particular situation. They answer frequently asked questions and indicate usual difficulties that can arise when using a particular technique. Chapters 6 and 7 illustrate how psychodrama can be used in individual therapy and counseling, as well as how to use different forms of sociodrama to intervene at the group level. In psychodrama, it is as much a possibility as a requirement to modify existing instruments or develop new techniques according to the situation and request of the clients. In this sense, psychodrama is an art that requires—beyond the mastery of the craft—a high degree of knowledge, sensitivity and experience. Parts II–V of this book provide additional guidance to assist the reader in developing his own path to learning the art of psychodrama, based on the methodology presented in Part I.

Chapter 1

Introduction

If we take people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as if they were what they ought to be, we help them to become what they are capable of becoming. (Goethe, Wilhelm Meister´s Apprenticeship)

1.1

What Is Psychodrama?

In the first half of the twentieth century, Jacob Levy Moreno, a physician, psychotherapist and philosopher, developed psychodrama as a method of • Physical demonstration (Greek “drama” = action), • Inner experience (Greek “psyche” = soul). Moreno himself described psychodrama as “… the method (…) that explores the truth of the soul through action”. Psychodrama is primarily known as a group psychotherapy method, though its applications are much more diverse. It is used as much in organizational counseling, classroom settings and social work as in the therapeutic field. Although psychodrama is generally considered (and conceived) as a method for working with groups, with minor modifications, it is also suitable for individual work (Chap. 6). Psychodrama primarily has no artistic aspiration (like theater), but always aims at changing the protagonist(s) and the whole group. An internal conflict (such as the decision about one’s professional future) of a protagonist, the one introducing the topic, standing in the center of a psychodrama play can be visualized, analyzed and solved on the stage by the psychodrama director using various psychodramaspecific arrangements and techniques. How this happens will be articulated in the course of this book. The protagonist experiences his play for himself as well as the other group members, who in the process of identifying with the protagonist, also share the play’s impact. Compared to other simulation methods (role play, case study, etc.), psychodrama is particularly characterized by the realistic representation created in the play. After participating in a psychodrama play for the first time, one is usually amazed how real the action on stage feels. In order for this to happen, the situation in question is © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_1

3

4

1

Introduction

supposed to be “relived” and not “replayed” in psychodrama. On the other hand— again in contrast to alternative methods—psychodrama makes it possible to go beyond facts (e.g. the bad conscience) using “surplus reality,” where the situation in the play becomes real and is available to be processed. Psychodrama includes a variety of different methods and forms of work that cannot be presented all at once. Hence, we will first explain what is known as protagonist-centered work here; the full variety and complexity of psychodramatic work will then unfold in the following chapters.

1.2

Psychodrama and Role Play

Unlike psychodrama, role-playing has gained popularity in training, language courses, behavioral therapy and school education. Initially, a psychodrama play may seem like a role play for a psychodrama “newbie.” In fact, role-playing and psychodrama share common historical roots, although psychodrama differs from role-playing or even goes beyond role-playing in some significant ways. In the course of this book, those unacquainted with psychodrama will gain an exact understanding of how psychodrama “works” and what differences and advantages it has over role play. To begin with, we want to give you an overview of the most important points in order to provide a basis for understanding further remarks. Role-play helps reconstruct real-life situations in a simulation situation. Usually, the goals are 1. To observe how one or more players behave in a certain situation, 2. To rectify the dysfunctional aspects in their behavior. The participants in a role play receive a fixed set of instructions (e.g. in a written format), which could look something like this: Example “You are Mr. Gardner, head of a medium-sized company in the telecommunications industry. Your business is going well. Just a few days ago, you received a big contract and all employees in the company must be available for the same. In this role play you will meet Mrs. Carlson, who is responsible for the purchase department of your company. Mrs Carlson is a competent employee, however, she has annoyed you several times with her flexible attitude towards working hours. Mrs Carlson will request you to sanction her leave for next week. You are angry—the employees are aware that they must request for a holiday at least four weeks in advance, and the contract is at risk if the purchase department does not work smoothly. Moreover, you want to give Mrs. Carlson a well-deserved lesson so that she realizes she can not get away with it like that.”

1.2 Psychodrama and Role Play

5

The participants are required to take on their roles unrehearsed (i.e. improvised), but as true to the instruction as possible. The role play usually takes place without the intervention of the director. Then, participant’s behavior is analyzed on the basis of the criteria set by the director; new behavioral options are practiced in the next round, if necessary. Role-play is the best-known (e.g. in organizational development) and the most frequently used simulation method. While role-playing offers good opportunities to analyze and practice behavior, as the sole intervention, it has a number of disadvantages: • Since the “script” of the role play is written by the director (an author of training literature or something similar), the played-out situations lack “everyday life reference.” The participants find it difficult to establish a (particularly emotional) relationship with their own character. Furthermore, there is a risk that role plays constructed on the basis of chosen themes and situations are not relevant to the participants, as they are to the director. • The role instructions are a limitation as they exclude a range of behavioral possibilities. On the other hand, they are usually too tight to give the participants the security they need for a confident and convincing completion of their roles. As a result, the participants can at best identify with their roles to a lesser extent. Furthermore, the participants often feel overwhelmed by the requirements of improvisation or believe in having to implement the role specifications as accurately as possible and with perfect theatrical performance. • The implicit or explicit specification to follow the role instructions as exactly as possible creates a quasi-examination situation. As a result, often participants perceive role play as a test that one can either pass or fail, depending on how convincingly one plays the role. Not only does this create fear of assessment, stress and tension in the participants, but it also adds to the artificiality and the unrealistic nature of the role play. • The simulation situations in role-playing contain only a small number of the factors that would influence the action in reality. The reality is always more complex than the simulation in a training situation. This, of course, applies to psychodrama too, but at a later point, we will show that psychodrama allows a much more complex representation of reality than the role play. As mentioned earlier, role-playing is a good method for checking and modifying behavior. However, this behavioral training approach is ultimately based on an unsatisfactory and highly condensed behavioral model. If one wants to understand and change human action, one must take into account not only the observable behavior but also motives, goals and other “inner states” that guide behavior. However, this occurs only to a small extent during a role play.

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Introduction

Important Psychodrama avoids these disadvantages to the greatest possible extent, as the theme and objective of a psychodrama stage are determined by the protagonist and the group. A first significant difference from role play is that in psychodrama, the theme and objective of the play are usually defined by the group and not by the director. This does not imply that psychodrama is not goal-oriented: When applying psychodrama, usually a structural thematic framework is prescribed (in the case of organizational development, for example, the topic of the seminar, such as “conflict management”) and the protagonist or the group then determines which situation should be processed, within this framework. In a protagonist play, there is no “learning goal” given (e.g. the practice of conversation techniques), but the protagonist determines what she wants to achieve in her play, for example, gaining insight, strengthening her previous course of action, exploring unconscious motives, practicing new courses of action or assistance in decision making. Keeping in mind the importance of the group in psychodrama, the group plays a key role in the choice of topics as well as protagonists, not only in plays centered around the group but also in protagonist plays. The above-mentioned danger of misjudgment of the relevance for the participants is thus largely avoided in psychodrama. Important In psychodrama, we do not work with constructed scenarios, but with situations and themes from the protagonist’s or the group’s real life. In psychodrama, there are no constructed scenarios that are used as raw material, but most situations that the protagonist has experienced in her real life. It is also possible to play situations that are imagined in the future or even hypothetical (Sect. 3.5)—all of these possibilities, as will be seen later, depict the protagonist’s subjective reality and thus are equally realistic for him. The protagonist does not implement an externally prescribed “script,” but he is the creator, director and actor of his own play. The feeling of playing an unrealistic situation without reference to one’s own life cannot arise at all. Important Psychodrama means to present the situations played in their spatiotemporal context. In psychodrama, it is to be made sure that a certain scene is not just reproduced in a vacuum; but on the contrary, the situation is anchored in space and time, in the here and now for both, the protagonist and the group. The atmosphere that was present in the situation in question is evoked by setting the stage. The distance between the participants and the play is over. Thus, psychodrama triggers

1.2 Psychodrama and Role Play

7

participants’ feelings to a far greater extent than the role play, which often influences the action more strongly than rational reflections. Important The roles in psychodrama are usually not improvised, instead specified by the protagonist. According to the principles presented so far, there are no fixed role instructions and no pre-structuring or formalization of the situation to be played in psychodrama. The roles are specified in detail by the protagonist during role reversal and merely “re-enacted” by the other participants. Performance pressure can hardly arise as the protagonist can retrieve the situation from his memory (or, in the case of future situations, from his imagination) and the participants do not have to improvise. On the other hand, participants are not necessarily committed to mechanical reproduction of the protagonist’s specifications in completing their role. They may also feel empathy and introduce spontaneous impulses, interpretations, modifications, etc., which the protagonist can correct, if necessary. The participants are therefore under no pressure to be creative or professional. Important In psychodrama, protagonist-centered work is always working with the group, by the group and for the group. Moreno assumes that protagonist plays have a high experiential value because of identification mechanisms, not only for the protagonist, but also for the other participants; the plays are indeed experienced by all participants as genuine and gainful. In summary, it can be said that the risk of artificiality in psychodrama is not the same as in role-play. Important Psychodrama reflects the complexity of what is portrayed better than a role play. A situation chosen by the protagonist can be reconstructed on the psychodrama stage at a level of complexity that is sufficient to take into account the factors that have an influence on the protagonist’s decision making. For example, the number of people appearing in the play is virtually unlimited, since the roles can be represented not only by the group members, but also by chairs, scarves, moderation cards, stuffed animals in therapy with children, etc. The fact that even action influencing factors such as motives, conscience and absent persons can be embodied by other players and processed on the psychodrama stage, is of particular benefit. Psychodrama does not only focus on what appears to be an observable

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Introduction

reality in role-playing. Rather, the psychodramatic experience takes place in a world designated by Moreno as surplus reality, which embodies the subjective reality beyond the visible, the “inner world” of the protagonist. Surplus reality can be considered as a central factor in psychodrama. It enables the systemic simulation of action-relevant factors at a complexity level unattainable with role play. Important Psychodrama is the act of experiencing one’s own subjective reality. The most succinct possible summary of the differences between the two methods is obtained by scrutinizing the meaning of the concepts: While in role-playing one plays a role (which does not have to be one’s own), psychodrama depicts an act (drama = action) of experiencing one’s own inner world (psyche = soul), which, as a “formalized externalization of one’s own inwardness,” is necessarily experienced as relevant, realistic and based on one’s own experience.

1.3

Definition and Classification of Psychodrama

Psychodrama is a method which enables individuals and groups to present life events in the form of scenes, explore them and change their subjective experience. The following overview is an attempt at a detailed and differentiated definition of the process of psychodrama. Overview Substantive Definition of Psychodrama The Founding Principle of Psychodrama An active transformation of the client’s (systems) intangible semantic (meaningful) content (e.g., expectations, emotions, relationships) into a tangible stage arrangement using theatrical elements (e.g., stage, props, teammates) is the basic methodological principle that distinguishes psychodrama from other methods. When supported by special psychodramatic techniques, the symbolic elements of the emerging experience, the so-called psychodramatic surplus reality, can be explored and transformed by the client in an active way. This can further enable the construction of new personal meanings, development of new impulses for action, and testing of new behavior.

1.3 Definition and Classification of Psychodrama

9

The Basic Elements of Psychodrama Psychodrama is part of J. L. Moreno’s therapeutic philosophy as well as a part of the psychodrama, group psychotherapy and sociometry triad. It includes • A series of specific guiding principles for the interpretation of individual and social reality, particularly the role theory as well as concepts of spontaneity and creativity, • A specific praxeology, i.e. instructions for professional design of psychodramatic intervention, • Specific forms of work, e.g., protagonist-centered, group-centered, topic-centered or sociodramatic work, • Specific arrangements (improvisation, sculpture work, etc.) as well as, • A number of specific techniques such as role reversal, doubling, mirroring (Table 1.1). The philosophical background of psychodrama is characterized by humanistic values. Psychodrama highlights not only one’s creative and social potentials but also the possibility for a more conscious, responsible and humane organization of the community. Areas of Application for Psychodrama Psychodrama has applications • In various fields, such as psychotherapy, teaching, internal and external adult education, social work, supervision and coaching, • In different settings, e.g., with individual clients or groups, • In various institutional contexts, • For different target groups, e.g., migrants, managers, students, clinical patients with different disorders or old people (Table 1.1).

1.4

Psychodrama as a System

Some authors understand psychodrama as a collection of techniques whose application needs the involvement of other theories such as psychoanalysis. This is an unhistorical reduction of psychodrama since its methodical components cannot be removed from its philosophy, praxeology and various guiding principles. Thus, psychodrama is described as “… a consistent approach for the management of challenging relationships”, i.e. an integral system of theories and methodologies that is similar to psychoanalysis, Gestalt psychology, the systemic approach or behavioral therapy.

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Table 1.1 Overview of psychodrama Instruments

Arrangements

Techniques

Forms of work

Stage Protagonist

Improvisation Sculpture work

Role reversal Doubling

Auxiliary ego/ Antagonist Leader

Vignette

Mirroring

Psychodrama in Groups Psychodrama in individual work Topic centered–sociodrama

Role play

And many more

Sociopolitical sociodrama

Group See Chap. 3

Magic shop etc. See Chap. 4

See Chap. 5

See Chaps. 6 and 7

Praxeology

Philosophy

Guiding principles

Surplus reality

Role theory

As a central methodological principle

Rules for the psychodrama leader

See Sect. 10.10

See Chap. 13

Concept of spontaneity Concept of creativity Sociometry See See Sect. 14.5 Chaps. 14 and 15

Some authors define psychodrama on the use of role reversal. In our opinion, this approach is not convincing, since it remains purely formal; neither the similarities in different forms of psychodrama work nor its theoretical premises can be satisfactorily illustrated. In addition, psychodrama can be done without the use of role reversal. A definition that requires the use of role reversal as a necessary condition for psychodramatic work is too narrow to do justice to the breadth of the process. We therefore define psychodrama using the principle of active representation of subjective reality—a definition that is already created on the basis of the process (psyche = soul, drama = action). Psychodrama is often defined as a method of group psychotherapy. This restriction to the therapeutic field is historically unjustifiable since Moreno developed psychodrama even in fields of pedagogy and sociology, social work and so on. Today, psychodrama is increasingly used in non-therapeutic fields without pursuing psychotherapeutic aims. If psychodrama is understood as a method, by definition it must be regarded as being detached from its application fields. The same applies to settings in which psychodrama can be used: While psychodrama is often defined as a pure group method, its application in individual settings is certainly possible and has often been described. A definitive connection to the group setting should therefore be abandoned.

Chapter 2

An Overview of Psychodrama

The word drama has its origins in the Greek meaning “to act, do or perform” (…). Psychodrama can therefore be described as the method that explores the truth of one’s soul through action (…). Since it is impossible to directly penetrate into one’s soul, and understand what goes on in there, psychodrama attempts to make one’s psychic content “visible” and represent it within the framework of a tangible and controllable world (…). Once this phase of “externalization” is complete, the second phase begins. It involves re-“internalizing”, re-ordering and re-integrating that what has been externalized. In practice, both phases go hand in hand (Moreno, 1959, p. 77; 111).

Psychodrama is a highly complex and diverse process. In this chapter, we want to give our readers an insight into the most important and frequently used psychodramatic methods. We will do so by using two case studies. The case studies refer to a seminar on “Conflict Management,” as well as a psychotherapeutic process, but are easily transferable to other fields of application.

2.1

Getting Started

Psychodrama is not only about self-awareness and intense emotional experience. It also includes movement, playfulness and creativity. Example Organizational Consultation—Getting Started Dr. Michael Gardner, psychodrama director and organizational consultant, opens the seminar at the hotel Neuenheimer Hof in Heidelberg with the words: “Welcome to our seminar on ‘Constructive Conflict Management’. My name is Michael Gardner, and I will work together with you for the next three days. I know that you all come from different sections of Intermedia AG and do not know each other well. I therefore suggest that we get to know each other first. Instead of doing it in the usual formal introductory round, I want to create something more open. For that, I would like you all to stand up. Please stand along © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_2

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2 An Overview of Psychodrama an imaginary line according to the first letter of your last name. In other words, if your last name starts with A, you’d be standing near the door here, and if it starts with Z, you’d be closer to the window over there.” The participants get up, walk around the room and begin to ask each other’s names. In doing so, Dr. Gardner has broken the ice.

The director in the above mentioned case study designs the beginning of the seminar with what is called action sociometry. This creates movement, a non-committal contact between participants right at the beginning and makes it easier to remember names. Even in individual work, the first few minutes of a consultation can be designed using this action method. This is demonstrated in the following case study based on an initial psychotherapeutic interview. Example Psychotherapy—Getting Started Mrs. Madison has been referred to John Smith by her family doctor. She is experiencing sleep disturbances as well as depressive symptoms. In the initial interview, Mr. Smith explores the history of his client’s presenting complaints using psychodramatic methods. “My discomfort started about two years ago,” says Mrs. Madison. Mr. Smith puts a rope on the ground of the therapy room and says, “Imagine, this rope represents the past two years. Now, I’d like to ask you to choose one of these scarves to represent your sleep disturbances.” (Mrs. Madison chooses a gray scarf.) “When did these sleep disturbances begin?” asks Mr. Smith. “I would say, about a year ago,” replies Mrs. Madison. “If the rope signifies two years, then one year is roughly in the middle of the rope. Please place the scarf such that it is approximately in the middle of the rope. Can you tell me one important event that happened during that time?” asks Mr. Smith. “Yeah, my daughter went to America around the same time. She is studying biotechnology there,” replies Mrs. Madison. Mr. Smith continues “Please place a symbol next to the rope to represent this event, and transfer yourself back in time. Your daughter is on her way to America …” Mrs. Madison begins to breathe heavily. Mr. Smith stands next to her and speaks as Mrs. Madison: “I realize, I’m breathing heavily. I feel stifled.”

Mr. Smith explored the course of his client’s complaints by means of action and helped the client verbalize her experience using what is called doubling. In doing so, the therapist has combined the gathering of anamnestic information with an opportunity for reflection for the client.

2.2 Warm Up

2.2

13

Warm Up

Each psychodramatic process begins with what is called warm up. It is intended to prepare clients for the subsequent psychodramatic action, similar to warm-up exercises in sports. Example Organizational Consultation—Warm Up Once Dr. Gardner introduces the seminar program and elicits participant expectations, and everyone gets to know each other, he asks them to come together to form dyads. The task is to discuss typical workplace conflicts and write down outcomes of their discussion on metaplan cards. In doing so, the participants will approach the topic of “Conflict” within a protected setting of a dyad. Mr. Gardner then plans to have the outcomes presented and sorted, in order to gain an overview of areas of conflict in an organization from the participants’ perspective. Following this, Mr. Gardner would choose one of the situations and analyze it using psychodramatic methods on the second day.

As the example shows, the warm-up phase also serves diagnostic purposes and helps form a deeper relationship between participants. Psychodrama has a wide range of warm-up techniques. Drawing a social atom is one of the most important warm-up techniques, which is demonstrated in our second case study. Example Psychotherapy—Warm Up In the first session, John Smith gained the impression that his client’s depressive symptoms started with the change in her family situation after her daughter’s departure. In today’s second session, he wants to take a closer look at Mrs. Madison’s social engagement. He says “I would like to gain a better understanding of how you feel in your current relationships with other people. Please take this sheet of paper and draw a circle in the middle that represents you. Then draw, around you, all those who are currently close to you —these can be family members, friends, colleagues, or anyone who is important to you at the moment. Please draw circles to represent women, and triangles to represent the men. The greater the distance in a relationship, the farther you move that symbol toward the edge of the sheet. If you have a positive relationship with the person, draw a solid line connecting you both. Draw a dashed line for a negative relationship, and a wavy line for a neutral relationship. Use these lines to indicate both, how you relate to the person as well as how that person relates to you.”

A detailed description of this technique can be found in Sect. 14.5. The theoretical model of the social atom is described in Sect. 14.2.3.

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2.3

The Protagonist Play

The following example illustrates the protagonist play, often referred to as the classical psychodramatic approach. Example Organizational Consultation—The Protagonist Play The second day focuses on further exploration of a conflict situation from the participants’ working life. For this purpose, the group selected a situation presented by one of the participants, namely a conflict with their supervisor. Michael Gardner enters the stage with the participant, Mrs. Carlson, and begins with the exploration of the topic. Mrs. Carlson narrates how she was late for work because she had to take her three-year-old son to the hospital. At work, she asked her supervisor for a short-term leave, and the supervisor reacted in a displeased manner. The director asks the protagonist to create her office on stage using tables, chairs, and other objects, so that the group can get a better idea of the situation. Fellow participants from the group play the roles of people involved in this situation (supervisor and colleague). The protagonist recreates the situation as she experienced and perceived it. Since the participants do not know the situation itself, their roles are played in a constant role reversal with the protagonist. Mrs. Carlson and her supervisor (played by another participant, Mrs. Pearce) stand facing each other on stage. Mrs. Carlson asks: “I would like to take leave next week. Is that possible?” The director gives the instruction to reverse roles. Mrs. Pearce repeats the question from the role of Mrs. Carlson, and Mrs. Carlson replies from the role of the supervisor: “Who will do your work then?” Now the roles are changed back. Mrs. Carlson goes back to her role, and Mrs. Pearce again takes the role of the supervisor. She repeats the supervisor’s last sentence, and Mrs. Carlson answers again from her role: “I’ve already spoken to Mrs. Johnson, and …” The entire dialogue is reconstructed similarly in a role reversal. The director now asks the protagonist to stand on the edge of the stage, while her role is filled by another group member. Now, the whole scene is replayed, while Mrs. Carlson watches it from the edge of the stage. This change of perspective—by stepping into a distant position—helps the protagonist often gain insights, which could not be gained from the situation itself.

This short case study highlights some important elements of a protagonist play: • The protagonist is in the center of the play. • The roles of those in interaction are embodied by other participants in the group, who are referred to as auxiliary egos in psychodrama. • The scene is constantly developed using role reversal. • Depending on the objective, the protagonist can experience the recreated scene from the “inside perspective” or reflect upon it from the “outside perspective” (in psychodrama, this is known as mirroring). In the following case study, it becomes clear that role reversal promotes empathy toward her interaction partners and thus helps gain insights, which would be difficult to access from her own perspective.

2.3 The Protagonist Play

15

Example Psychotherapy—The Protagonist Play In the second session, Mr. Smith wants to expand further on Mrs. Madison’s social atom. In the first interview, we saw that Mrs. Madison had lost her only attachment figure, her daughter: Her husband had died a few years ago, and Mrs. Madison had no close friendships that could help her through her loss. Furthermore, she has no idea of how to make her existing relationships more active. Now, the social atom is created by placing a chair for Mrs. Madison in the middle of the therapy room, while more chairs are grouped around it for her attachment figures. Mr. Smith asks Mrs. Madison to change various roles by sitting on the respective chairs. “Mrs. Madison, please sit here and change into the role of your brother James. You are now James Madison. Please introduce yourself.” (The protagonist introduces the brother.) Mr. Smith asks “Mr. Madison, how is the relationship between you and your sister?” “Well, since my sister lost her husband, she has been very withdrawn. I seldom hear from her anymore” replies Mrs. Madison from the role of her brother. “Would you like to be in more contact with her?” asks Mr. Smith. “We’ve grown apart now. We used to meet more often in the past, sometimes for a weekend” comes the reply. Mr. Smith asks “Would you like to revive that time, Mr. Madison?” “Yes, of course, I have plenty of time now since I am retired” comes the reply.

In addition, one can also replace the auxiliary ego with the empty chair, a psychodrama technique that was taken over by and has become known through the Gestalt approach.

2.4

The Integration Phase

The integration phase aims at supporting the protagonist (“sharing”), offering her a broader perspective (role feedback) and integrating all participants who assumed different roles (auxiliary ego, spectator) back into a common group process. In individual work, the director offers sharing and role feedback to the protagonist. Example Organizational Consultation—The Integration Phase After Mrs. Carlson’s protagonist play, the group sits together in a circle. The director begins by asking participants for a sharing, i.e. each participant shares specific aspects from their own professional life that they found to be similar to the topic of the protagonist play. Subsequently, the participants, who assumed the role of an auxiliary ego, give Mrs. Carlson a role feedback, i.e. they reflect on their experience in the roles (as a supervisor, colleague, etc.) and share how Mrs. Carlson’s behavior in those roles affected them.

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2.5

Working with the Group

The constellation work, which is mostly attributed to family therapy today, also has its origins in psychodrama. It helps is presenting and working through structures of a system in an active and creative manner. Example Organizational Consultation—Constellation work with Groups On the morning of the third day, the seminar addresses the topic of “Intergroup Conflicts.” The participants are to be made aware of the dynamics of conflict in an organization. For this purpose, a “live organization” is created on the stage, in such a way that each participant represents an organizational unit of Intermedia Ltd. Participants are then asked to position themselves based on their perception of “their” organizational unit’s position within the organizational power structure: The participant, who represents a particularly powerful division, is asked to sit on a chair, whereas the one who represents a low-ranking division squats down. Each participant is then asked about the typical conflicts that emerge in collaboration with other departments, their mutual expectations, as well as possible solution strategies.

The constellation work belongs to what is known as arrangements (Sect. 4.7). In sociodrama, it is not just one protagonist but the entire group that is at the center of the intervention. It includes the following forms of work: • Topic-centered (working on a specific subject), • Group-centered (working on relations between group members) and • Sociopolitical sociodrama (exploring the social dimensions of a topic). The different possibilities of working with groups are further described in detail in Chap. 7.

2.6

Summary

As demonstrated in the above case studies, the “acting out” of life events—from the past or anticipated for the future—is the most important methodical principle in psychodrama which distinguishes it from other forms of therapy or counseling. According to its historical references to theater, psychodrama always takes place on a stage—often indicated only by a circle of chairs. In the protagonist-centered psychodrama, the protagonist is in the center of the play, where her concerns are acted out in a creative manner with the help of the director, and the group members (known as the auxiliary egos) play the roles of important caregivers. In sociodrama, the focus lies on the group’s questions and not individual concerns. The stage, the protagonist, the director, the auxiliary egos and the group are referred to

2.5 Working with the Group

17

as instruments of psychodrama (Chap. 3). Psychodrama offers a variety of methodological building blocks and techniques in order to guide the process before, during and after the action-based presentation (Chaps. 4 and 5). The most important techniques are role reversal, doubling and mirroring.

Reference Moreno, J. L. (1959). Gruppenpsychotherapie und Psychodrama: Einleitung in die Theorie und Praxis. Stuttgart: Thieme.

Chapter 3

Basic Elements of Psychodrama

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. (Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7)

In Psychodrama, the action space is constituted by five basic elements, which are presented below: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The The The The The

3.1

stage, protagonist, auxiliary ego, group, director.

The Stage

Moreno developed psychodrama from his theatrical experiments, and the proximity of psychodrama to the theater is evident. In view of this fact, it is not surprising that the stage is one of the most important basic elements of the process. The stage in Moreno’s Institute in Beacon Hill had three levels with a balcony. The audience sat on the first, lowest level, the protagonist and director moved to the middle level for the exploration of the topic, and the actual psychodramatic action took place on the top most level of the stage (see Fig. 3.1). Even though this three-stage concept is still used in every psychodramatic enactment today (Sect. 10.8.1), psychodrama does not require elaborate equipments or a professional stage sets. In regular psychodrama work, the director, the protagonist and the group can define any

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_3

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3 Basic Elements of Psychodrama

Fig. 3.1 Moreno’s original Beacon Hill Stage, now at Hudson Valley Institute (Photograph by Jochen Becker-Ebel, with friendly permission of Rebecca Walters)

sufficiently large space as a stage. Usually, the stage is set in one part of the room by placing participant’s chairs beyond the imaginary edge of the stage in a semicircle, which should have a radius of at least 3 m. The distance between the spectators and the protagonist has to be determined by the stage itself—small enough to ensure an emotionally intense and supportive atmosphere, big enough not to oppress the protagonist. The psychodramatic stage creates a safe space that must be preserved during the enactment. Nobody should therefore leave or join the group during this time. Psychodrama has no specifications with regard to the design of the group room. The room should simply be sufficiently lit and darkened if required, and the stage should be free of distractive furniture (such as overhead projectors, flip charts). Upon entering the stage, the protagonist leaves the reality of the group behind and enters the surplus reality of psychodrama. In surplus reality, situations from the protagonist’s inner world are recreated (using props) and brought to life. Each room has items that can serve as props for a psychodrama enactment: A table can represent an island, a ship or a cave, chairs can replace all kinds of furniture and serve as walls and other obstacles, or even turn into a car or a train compartment when placed in a rectangle. Despite the separation between the surplus reality (on stage) and the group’s reality (off stage), the director should, at all times, be aware of the fact that the dynamics emerging on stage are not only limited to the stage, but also include the entire group. On one hand, this allows the director to use the group as an additional diagnostic tool, but on the other hand, he must also observe and protect the needs of the group alongside those of the protagonist. The stage creates the protagonist’s living space in a real space. Thus, the dimension of space becomes an important factor in psychodrama: “I cannot emphasize sufficiently that in our research the configuration of space as a part of the

3.1 The Stage

21

therapeutic process is of utmost importance” (Moreno, 1966, 1975, p. 14). Schäfer (1995) has suggested that the psychodrama space is relevant in three aspects: • as a real space, • as an imaginary space i.e. as a reflection of the place, where originally the re-enacted scene took place, and • as a social space with the stage as a part of the group events. According to Schäfer (1995), one is present in all three spaces at the same time, with multiple overlaps. Therefore, what happens in real space also has meaning in all other spaces, and thus, the psychodrama stage forms an intersection between the inner and the outer world. Winnicott (1953) has described this in his concept of the “transitional space.”

3.2

The Protagonist

In the protagonist-centered psychodrama, one of the group members—the protagonist—is the focus of the play. The goal and the course of the play is essentially determined by their question and the situation they introduce. The protagonist is the main recipient of the therapeutic and educational impact of the play. There is no protagonist in sociodrama. The whole group is the focus of the play. Unlike in a role play, the protagonist does not receive any guidelines explaining his role and dialogues. Instead, he brings a (real or fictional) scene from his own life onto the stage under the guidance of the director: he is a poet, director, and actor in one person (Moreno, 1923). He is expected to spontaneously fill his own role as well as that of the others in the play (the latter in role exchange with the auxiliary egos). The term “protagonist” originates from the Greek drama theory (from “protos” = first and “agon” = action, play, hero). In the Greek drama, although the protagonist was the center of the plot, he also represented the entire audience to an extent, who identified with him and empathized with his joys and sorrows in a similar way. The same function is attributed to the protagonist in psychodrama. It is assumed that each group member can relate to an aspect in the play of the protagonist, which is similar to their own life. This assumption in the vast majority of cases as is made evident through practical experience. In this respect, the protagonist’s cathartic experience is closely related to that of the group members’ experience. As already mentioned, therefore, every protagonist play is ultimately group-oriented.

3.3

The Auxiliary Ego

The participants in a protagonist-centered psychodrama are referred to as auxiliary egos. They usually embody the protagonists’ relationships, but can also represent abstract entities, things, etc. In earlier days, Moreno used trained staff members as

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auxiliary egos. In today’s practice, it is the protagonist who chooses group members to represent the required roles. To those who have never experienced a psychodrama session it may seem that an auxiliary ego requires Oscar-winning skills to allow a protagonist to ‘believe’ that they are talking to their mother. How can any ordinary member of a psychotherapy group have this ability? (…) Truth to tell, with great ease, for the ability for almost any auxiliary to achieve this goal is perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of psychodrama. The process may almost seem magical and what is perhaps so remarkable is the ease and regularity with which it occurs in almost every session, regardless of whom is in the group. To an extraordinary degree an auxiliary can access this role and play it in the psychodrama through the use of the information given to them by the protagonist and through their use of tele and empathy. I believe the mechanism may be best understood by considering that the protagonist and (but to a lesser degree) the auxiliary ego enter a state of light trance or reverie induced by the process of psychodrama. (Holmes, 1998, pp. 140–141)

There are no auxiliary egos in an individual setting, unless the director changes into the role of the auxiliary ego, as happens in certain forms of individual psychodramatic work (Chap. 6). Alternatively, one can work with auxiliary objects (described in more detail at the end of this section). Each member is an auxiliary ego in the group-centered or theme-centered sociodrama (Chap. 7). In role reversal, the auxiliary egos receive specifications for their role by the protagonist. The auxiliary egos are expected to mirror the protagonist as accurately as possible in terms of text, tone of voice, posture and facial expressions. However, it is also possible (and often even desired) for the auxiliary egos to go beyond these specifications and follow their intuition in expanding the role spontaneously and creatively. The director must rely on their own understanding to decide if and when the auxiliary ego has expanded the role appropriately. While such an expansion is often therapeutic, in some cases there is the danger that an auxiliary ego will act based on their own emotions which do not relate to the protagonist: A minimum of tele structure and resulting cohesiveness of interaction among the therapists and the patients is an indispensable prerequisite for the ongoing therapeutic psychodrama to succeed. If the auxiliary egos are troubled among themselves because of (1) unresolved problems of their own, (2) protest against the psychodramatic director, (3) poor portrayal of the roles assigned to them, (4) lack of faith and negative attitude toward the method used, (5) interpersonal conflicts among themselves, they create an atmosphere which reflects upon the therapeutic situation. It is obvious, therefore, that if transference and countertransference phenomena dominate the relationship among the auxiliary therapists and toward the patients the therapeutic process will be greatly handicapped. The decisive factor for therapeutic progress is the tele. (Moreno, 1972, p. XVIII)

3.3 The Auxiliary Ego

23

Auxiliary egos can embody not only the relational roles, but also the protagonist himself. For example, in situations such as the following: • each time the protagonist embodies the role played by the auxiliary ego during a role reversal, • when the protagonist looks at the scene from the outside using the mirror position, the auxiliary ego represents the protagonist by becoming a stand-in. If an auxiliary ego plays the role of an opponent to the protagonist, they are also referred to as an antagonist. According to classical psychodrama, the protagonist himself selects members from the group to represent specific roles as auxiliary egos, as the mechanism of Tele is utilized in doing so. Tele is certainly not the only factor that can explain the selection of an auxiliary ego. There are several other reasons as to why the protagonist selects a group member for a particular role: The reasons for the selection of an auxiliary ego by the protagonist are complex. A group member may be chosen for obvious reasons (such as being the right age, gender or size for the role). The choice is made because the protagonist knows that a particular member of the group has had a similar history or experience to their own. Sometimes a group member gets known for being good at playing ‘bad fathers’ or ‘good mothers’. However, often selection crosses these boundaries, group members being asked to play a role because of less obvious and concrete features. The process of tele is very important as the protagonist may just ‘sense’ that a certain person will be good in the role, regardless of their age or gender because of certain (often unexpressed) aspects of their history and personality. (Holmes, 1998, p. 134)

However, there are several reasons to occasionally deviate from the rule where the protagonist chooses the auxiliary ego. This definitely holds true in situations where the roles are filled with negative emotions, in order to protect the auxiliary ego and/or the protagonist (these reasons are discussed in more detail in Sect. 10.7). In these cases, it is possible that • • • • •

the the the the the

director selects the auxiliary ego, co-director becomes the auxiliary ego, role is represented by two auxiliary egos role is embodied by an empty chair or any other auxiliary object role remains completely unoccupied.

During the play, auxiliary egos warm up (to different degrees) for the chosen role (warm-up); in doing so they develop empathy for the protagonist and understand their thoughts and feelings. According to the psychodramatic theory, the warm-up helps the auxiliary ego represent their role in a realistic manner during the play. It also helps them give feedback to the protagonist, during role feedback, on how they experienced their role as well as the protagonist’s behavior. However, the warm-up

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of the auxiliary ego is not a mere product of the information brought in by the protagonist: There is a high likelihood (according to the above-mentioned assumption of a tele-based choice and practical experience) that the member playing the role of the auxiliary ego has some personal connection to the topic (e.g. similar experiences or role constellations in his own biography). As a result, auxiliary egos can also experience their role as emotionally stressful. In any case, and not only in therapeutic settings, care must be taken to protect the group member elected to the auxiliary ego role. The chosen member should be asked if they would like to take over the role, and a refusal must be respected. In this situation, the director should make sure that the concerned group member is able to express their refusal in sharing. The director must observe the participants carefully during the play and inquire about their well-being, feelings, etc., if they notice any signs of concern. It may then become necessary to change the auxiliary ego. After the play has ended, the director must address the emergence of such strong feelings and, if necessary, process them in another therapeutic space. The challenge of dealing with personal anguish is discussed elaborately in Sect. 16.2. The director‘s responsibility toward the auxiliary ego therefore extends from the moment they are chosen for a role, through the entire duration of the play, until the end and even beyond. Auxiliary Objects In psychodramatic individual work, it is a common practice to represent roles using auxiliary objects in the absence of other members. It can be anything that is available in that particular situation: scarves, shoes, moderation cards. Many prefer working with chairs, as it is easy for the protagonist to take on roles by sitting on a chair. Unlike objects that are part of the stage equipment (e.g. furniture or plants that are used to set up the scene, or garments that serve as props), the auxiliary objects receive a symbolic meaning in the protagonist’s “inner role ensemble.” Therefore, it may be interesting to reverse roles with the object and explore its properties (e.g. color) reveal about the embodied role, the subject, or the protagonist. In order to support this process, some therapeutic settings use auxiliary objects with clear symbolic connotations, such as dolls or stuffed animals.

3.4

The Group

Moreno conceptualized psychodrama as an authentic group therapy method. Therefore, every enactment, even when the protagonist is the focus, is always “… therapy in the group, by the group, for the group and of the group …” (Moreno, 1956, quoted from Leutz, 1974, p. 92, emphasis by the authors). Although we are talking about therapy here, this analogy also refers to the effects of psychodrama in non-therapeutic contexts.

3.4 The Group

25

Psychodrama is therapy in the group because psychodramatic work usually takes place in a group setting (although, as mentioned, it is also possible in individual settings). Psychodrama is therapy by the group because the group is used as a therapeutic agent. The group is an empathetic and supportive sounding board for the protagonist. The protagonist receives solidarity, encouragement and support from the group. They can also experience the fact that other people have similar thoughts, feelings, fears and difficulties like themselves. Furthermore, the protagonist can also gain insights through the impulses introduced by other group members via doubling, sharing or role feedback, which not only provides emotional support, but also serves as a feedback and a corrective for the protagonist s behavior. In each of these roles, the group members essentially function as the director’s co-therapist. Psychodrama is therapy for the group because the therapeutic effects of a protagonist play are not limited to the actors on stage. They also benefit those not directly involved because of the experience of identification that take place during the enactment. Evidence has shown that all group members usually experience the plays as personally beneficial for them even if they do not play an “active” role (as a protagonist, helper, etc.) in the play. Psychodrama is therapy of the group, since the group structure changes in the course of the psychodramatic work, for example, because the intense shared emotional experience increases group cohesion. It is even possible to process conflicts or problems regarding integration of individual members in therapeutic or otherwise long term intensive groups. If psychodrama is used in group settings, the group size should preferably be between 5 and 16 participants. Even larger group sizes are possible, for instance in sociodrama (Chap. 7).

3.5

The Director

In psychodrama, the director is responsible for the group process as well as for those involved in the process. He must activate the group (warm-up phase) and help them focus in a way that they can decide on a common topic at the end of the warm-up phase. Based on the contract with the group or the protagonist, he develops diagnostic hypotheses, defines the objectives of the process, structures the play, opens the stage (action phase) and directs the play with the aid of various psychodramatic techniques while observing the basic principles of psychodramatic work (Sect. 10.10). He is, therefore, a director, an analyst and a therapist, all in one person (Moreno, 1959). In the end, he completes the action phase and moderates the integration phase with sharing, role feedback and process analysis, in coordination with the protagonist or the group. The director should be close to the protagonist, especially in emotional situations (according to the principle “be with your protagonist”). On the other hand, he must take care not to lose himself in the emotional dynamics of the events on stage. If he

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takes a spatially and emotionally distant position by standing on the edge of the stage, he does so without failing to convey human closeness and warmth and is highly attuned to each participant’s state of mind. He holds equal responsibility for all participants. This implies that, during a protagonist play, his must also be attentive toward the auxiliary egos as well as the audience, so that he can take protective and supportive actions, when necessary: “The greatest responsibility of a psychodramatist lies in the safety of the protagonist and the group” (Casson, 1998, p. 78). Moreover, he follows the events in the group with the attentive gaze of a diagnostician and a group dynamics expert. In spite of the many tasks, the role of the director does not correspond to the image of a controlling, “all-powerful” manipulator, but to that of a process facilitator: He does not design the event according to his own image and values, but is merely a methodical and psychological expert, who enables the protagonist or the entire group to achieve their own goals. As has become clear from the above explanations, the task of the director in psychodrama is highly complex and demanding. Karp (1998) has listed the qualities of a good director which include courage, imagination, patience, curiosity, compassion, humor, empathy and more. In any case, a sound methodological and diagnostic training as well as competence and experience in the relevant field of application should be the basis of any psychodramatic work.

3.6

Summary

The protagonist is the subject of a psychodramatic presentation. He defines the objective of the collaborative work. The director, on the other hand, sees himself as a methodical expert, who advises and supports the protagonist in achieving his goals. The group serves as a sounding board for the protagonist, a source of inspiration and ideas, a corrective authority and feedback provider, as well as a reservoir for the participants, the auxiliary egos. In certain psychodramatic forms of work, the group as a whole is the focus of the intervention. The stage is the space in which psychodramatic work takes place. After crossing the edge of the stage, participants enter into the psychodramatic surplus reality—therefore the stage is also a depiction of the protagonist’s or the group’s subjective reality.

References Casson, J. (1998). The stage—The theatre of psychodrama. In M. Karp, P. Holmes, & K. B. Tauvon (Eds.), The handbook of psychodrama (pp. 69–88). London: Routledge. Holmes, P. (1998). The auxiliary ego. In M. Karp, P. Holmes, & K. B. Tauvon (Eds.), The handbook of psychodrama (pp. 129–144). London: Routledge. Karp, M. (1998). The director. Cognition in action. In M. Karp, P. Holmes, & K. B. Tauvon (Eds.), The handbook of psychodrama (pp. 147–165). London: Routledge.

References

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Leutz, G. A. (1974). Das klassische Psychodrama nach J.L. Moreno. Berlin: Springer. Moreno, J. L. (1923). Das Stegreiftheater. Potsdam: Kiepenheuer. Moreno, J. L. (1956). Sociometry and the science of man. Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L. (1959). Gruppenpsychotherapie und Psychodrama: Einleitung in die Theorie und Praxis. Stuttgart: Thieme. Moreno, J. L. (1966). Psychiatry of the twentieth century: Function of the universalia: Time, space, reality and cosmos. Group Psychotherapy, 19, 146–158. Moreno, J. L. (1972). Psychodrama (Vol. 1, 4th ed.). Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L. (1975). Psychodrama (Vol. 3). Beacon: Beacon House. Schäfer, G. E. (1995). Der Ort der spontanen Geste. Über Bildungsprozesse in der Pädagogik und im psychodramatischen Rollenspiel. In F. Buer (Hrsg.), Jahrbuch für Psychodrama, psychosoziale Praxis und Gesellschaftspolitik 1994 (pp. 31–43). Opladen: Leske & Budrich. Winnicott, D. W. (1953). Transitional objects and transitional phenomena. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 34(2), 89–97.

Further Reading Karp, M., Holmes, P., & Tauvon, K. B. (Eds.). (1998). The handbook of psychodrama. London: Routledge (On 100 pages, the 5 instruments of psychodrama are described in detail. Differentiated, well-structured and very helpful in practice).

Chapter 4

Psychodramatic Arrangements

Psychodramatic techniques seek to tangibly present all aspects of the client’s internal experience, both verbal and nonverbal (…). Concretization and enactment are the main tools to produce new experience in psychodrama. (Hudgins, 1998, S. 329)

The most important working principle of psychodrama is the “translation” of psychic or social reality into enactment on the stage. In doing so, the content to be enacted must be turned into a “stage-appropriate” form for dramatic processing. But how can immaterial phenomena (e.g. the inner conflict of the protagonist with their ambivalent parts) be made visible on the psychodrama stage? According to Buer (1999), the creative framework that allows for the transformation of the content to be enacted into a stage-appropriate form is called arrangement. Hare and Hare (1996) refers to it as “special forms of psychodrama.” This term poses the danger of being confused with psychodramatic action techniques: Arrangements provide overarching “scenarios” for enactment and create spaces for the protagonist/group to go through with the play using different action techniques. It is not always easy to define the boundaries distinguishing psychodramatic forms of work, arrangements and techniques.

4.1

Scenic Play of Real or Fictional Events

The replaying of events from the life of the protagonist is probably the most commonly used arrangement for psychodramatic work. The aim is to present the scene in such a way that the representation corresponds to the subjective reality of the protagonist. To begin with, the setting is recreated on the stage with the help of available means, auxiliary egos represent the persons appearing in the scene, and then the scene is “replayed.” In the same way, future events and fictitious situations can be presented in a scenic form. Depending on the accentuation and goal setting, we then refer to role training (Sect. 4.4), future projection (Sect. 4.5), etc. The

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_4

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scenic play as used here represents a situation in its spatiotemporal context, unlike in, for example, Constellation work, where the systemic structures are considered detached from their spatiotemporal context.

4.2

The Vignette

In psychodrama, this term is often used to describe a brief protagonist play consisting of only one scene. Vignettes are mostly used to highlight a specific aspect of a topic before continuing with other methods. One can use vignettes in seminars to articulate experiences and perspectives on a given topic in a relatively short time.

4.3

The Role Play

We have already discussed role-playing in the introduction to this book. As often happens, even this term is used in various contexts. Mostly, it describes a situation in which, unlike the classic psychodrama, the roles are given by the director. In psychodrama, a role play is mainly used in the context of a role training (Sect. 4.4). Role-playing involves learning and practicing certain unfamiliar behavior patterns, as opposed to becoming self-aware. In a sales training, for example, a salesperson can practice and learn how to best approach a customer through a role play. Here, the roles (seller, customer) and their properties are defined; the participant must therefore fulfill a predetermined role as adequately as possible instead of enacting it on stage authentically and in accordance with his inner world, as is usual in psychodrama. Furthermore, role-playing foregoes much of the psychodramatic techniques (e.g. doubling, maximizing), but occasionally uses the mirror technique to allow the player to judge how adequately they fulfill the specified role. Nowadays, video feedback is used often instead of mirroring when using role-playing for training. Role plays not only help in learning and practicing roles, but also have the therapeutic effect of role integration. The player can tune into roles that are new to him (e.g. husband, mother) and thus prevent role conflicts. In addition, Leutz (1974) refers to the prevention of “role atrophy” as a therapeutic effect of the role play. After long stays in hospitals, patients can be “weaned off” their patient role, “reintroduced” to old, long-term role identities and prepared for new roles.

4.4 Role Training

4.4

31

Role Training

Role training involves rehearsing the previously designed possibilities of acting on stage. Some of the variants of role training are sketched below. They are described in more detail in Blatner (1996). The “not me” technique. In the “not me” technique, the protagonist enacts a certain scene in a way that is different from what would be typical for them. This role expansion provides the client with a wider range of options for action in reality as well. For example, if the protagonist wants to change their shy and reserved behavior at parties, one could offer to stage a party situation on the psychodrama stage and have him try out various alternatives and extroverted behavioral possibilities within the “not me” framework. Direct coaching. In this variant of role training, the director suggests concrete behavioral possibilities to the protagonist, such as to interact with other party guests using a different tone of voice or to make direct eye contact. The protagonist can first test the behavior outside, and then in the scene. The extent to which the new behavior has changed both the experience of the protagonist and the reaction of the interaction partners is evaluated at the end. Modeling. Modeling is a popular and commonly used variant of role training. To begin with, one member from the group assumes the role of the protagonist and demonstrates how they would act in the situation in question through a role play. Subsequently, the protagonist, who has observed the scene from the mirror position, can comment on the idea put forward by the group members and, if necessary, go back into their role to try out the alternative behavior.

4.5

The Future Projection

Just as a protagonist has internal images with imprints of his past experiences, he also has internal images that incorporate his fantasies, projections, expectations and fears (derived of course from his past experiences) about future events. These internal images of future situations can be visualized (in the same way as his past experiences) in psychodramatic surplus reality. The usual psychodramatic process (warm-up, exploration of the topic, filling roles with auxiliary ego, etc.) applies even here. Important When the client plays out a future scene on the psychodrama stage in order to develop perspectives, to examine the consequences of decisions or to confront future fears, it is referred to as future projection. This

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arrangement can also serve as a reality test and transfer aid for previously developed behavioral strategies. It is important to ensure that the client returns safely to the present. The future projection can be used • to develop new perspectives for the future or work on the existing ones with a client in the therapeutic context, • To clarify the consequences of one’s decisions (time lapse), • To manage a state of anxiety, • As a crisis intervention, • To try out new possibilities of action developed in psychodrama or • To practice (e.g. in a seminar) acquired skills such as conflict resolution strategies, communication techniques, etc. This is the most frequently used variant in practice. It is also referred to as a future trial, a reality test or role training, and will be discussed separately below because of its special relevance. A detailed essay on the subject of “Time in Psychodrama” and the various possibilities of future projection can be found in Petzold’s book “Psychodrama Therapy” (1979, p. 198 ff.). Our description is based on the same. Development of Future Perspectives A peek into an uncertain future is a common topic in therapeutic and therapy-related contexts. The “time travel” can help participants evoke imaginations and associations about their future, which can then be condensed into concrete images on the psychodrama stage. The participants are asked to sit down (or lie down) in a relaxed way, imagine traveling (1 month—2 months—3 months, etc.) into the future and visualize what could be happening at that time in their professional life, relationships, sickness or whatever else that is the focus of the work. If the future projection takes place in a group setting, the director may ask the participants to raise their hands if they have an image in mind. When all (or many) hands are raised, the director will briefly enquire about their respective images. If necessary, the time travel into the future can continue until the participants can visualize positive images, which are then suitable for the work with psychodrama. The time travel is usually a good enough warm-up for an immediate subsequent play, only if the participant in the hypnoid state is not retracted back to the present. The image, which the protagonist has in mind after the future projection, will be realized on stage in accordance with the normal procedure. The Future Projection as a Projective Technique Using the technique with an accent on its projective qualities, one can do without a specified theme or strict temporal structuring, whereby the fantasies developed by the participants assume a surreal, dreamlike character. One can then explore the

4.5 The Future Projection

33

meaning of these images in a subsequent play, or process them further to develop concrete future perspectives. The Future Projection as an Aid to Decision Making The future projection technique allows one to simulate different outputs of a decision situation on the psychodrama stage, in order to make the potential impact more tangible for the protagonist. In this way, the protagonist can weigh the consequences of every possible alternative. For example, if they cannot decide whether or not to part with their long-time business partner, then one can play out either or both of these alternatives, and test the potential impact at different times (next week, next month, next year, 10 years): • The protagonist separates from the business partner—what happens in a year’s time? • The protagonist does not separate from the business partner—what happens in a year’s time? Using the Future Projection to Process Fears of the Future When dealing with anxiety, the future projection technique can help simulate the feared event (e.g. an exam) on the psychodrama stage. The protagonist can learn that • The anxiety-provoking situation is not as threatening in reality as it is experienced right now, • The event does not have a significant amount of relevance and that • “Life goes on.” The Future Projection as a Reality Test All educational and therapeutic methods ultimately aim for a change in the client’s experience and/or behavior. However, it is not easy to predict whether the behavioral strategies jointly developed in the “laboratory situation” in therapy or the seminar are also applicable later in practice, or whether they may fail due to external inhibiting factors (e.g. unexpected reactions from others) or the person themselves (e.g. if unconscious behavior patterns are stronger than the good intentions). In psychodrama, the director’s instructions can help play out the scene in focus (or a similar situation) on stage: Example “Alright, Mrs. Morrison, I suggest that we return to your company, and that you try to confront your boss once more. Imagine that you have come back from the seminar, it’s Monday, 9 o’clock, and you meet your boss in the hallway.”

Since a scene set up according to the rules of psychodrama reflects the reality of the protagonist and thus contains all decisive influencing factors, the future projection technique can be used to verify the extent to which a solution is realistic

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(future projection as a “reality sample”) as well as to what extent can the protagonist implement her intended role behavior (future projection as “role test”). One can also review to see if the solution has been improved, backed up with support strategies (e.g. “get a colleague to help you” or “think of your uncle, whom you have always admired because of his lack of respect for authority”) or in extreme cases discarded and replaced by another solution. (Contra-)indications and Risks of the Future Projection The future projection technique should not be used when working with clients with psychosis or people who have no future prospects (e.g. terminally ill patients), unless the goal of the therapy is to confront death. The most common difficulties in the therapeutic work with future projection are a possible loss of rapport between the therapist and the client and, in turn, the risk of a loss of reality on the part of the client. It is important to retract the hypnotic effect of the arrangement, failing which the client may feel disoriented or even fall into hypnosis. In such cases: … one requires a clear approach, with fixation on a solid topic (e.g. a house, a tree, any concrete object of the visualized image) required. The suggestion is then withdrawn step by step (“Rob, we will now go back a few years. Year after year, 1975, 1980, 1985, etc.”).

4.6

The Empty Chair

The empty chair is of fundamental importance in Gestalt therapy, but it originates from psychodrama. Here, the empty chair is used as a representation for roles. In psychodrama, the roles are tied to places—each role has its own specific location. The associated role is called on the psychodrama stage by marking this place through an empty chair (or through other auxiliary objects such as boxes, scarves, moderation cards, etc.). This applies to “real” as well as “imagined” roles (e.g. mother, Cinderella, my ambition, me in 20 years). Usually, in psychodrama, the roles are filled by auxiliary egos, i.e. other members from the group. If a role is filled with both an empty chair and an auxiliary ego, the auxiliary ego can sit on the chair. If a certain role cannot or should not be filled by an auxiliary ego, the empty chair can also be used instead of the auxiliary egos. For example: • If the protagonist merely needs an object for transference, for example, in heavily anxiety-laden roles, then having a real person fill the role can make it too emotional for the protagonist and even more for the auxiliary ego. • If one expects the protagonist to express aggression toward the antagonist, then the use of an inanimate object makes it easier for the protagonist to express aggression. It is only reasonable that the auxiliary ego does not have to be at the receiving end of such aggressive impulses. • If there aren’t enough participants available. In this situation, the empty chair technique allows for the application of classical psychodrama in individual settings (Chap. 6).

4.6 The Empty Chair

35

• If the role does not seem important enough to be filled with an auxiliary ego such as in recreating situations with many similar roles that need not be distinguished individually (e.g. in the classroom). If you set up the appropriate number of chairs in a realistic arrangement here, then a dense atmosphere can arise even without an auxiliary ego. The empty chair technique has advantages and disadvantages when compared to filling the roles with auxiliary egos; the director decides when to give preference to the empty chair and when to the auxiliary ego. One major limitation is that interacting with an auxiliary ego made of “flesh-and-blood” has a different emotional quality than a play with an empty chair: The auxiliary ego can bring in their own impulses which enrich the game, and of course, in contrast to an auxiliary ego, the empty chair can give no feedback to the protagonist at the end of the play. In addition, there are a number of other applications of this arrangement. For example, in an upcoming decision (e.g. career choice), empty chairs can represent the various alternatives as well as the person’s associated personality traits or their conflicting viewpoints. In a decision-making situation, the protagonist’s “inner voices” get mixed and are difficult to perceive separately from each other. Thus, they are isolated and assigned to a chair. In a career choice situation, for example, the following points of view emerge: To complete an additional therapeutic training and then open your own practice or to apply for the job advertisement of a clinic or seek independent work in the field of organizational psychology or write a thesis or start a second degree. An additional empty chair could stand in the background for the voice of the father: “You cannot do that—go and study instead!” The protagonist can then switch back and forth between the chairs, rearrange the chairs, differentiate the positions further (e.g., replace the “second study” chair with a chair for “pedagogical studies” and one for “artistic studies”) and finally bring the inner voices associated with the chairs into dialogue (Autodrama, see Sect. 6.2.4) through a role reversal.

4.7

Systemic Constellations and Sculptures

Systemic constellations and sculptures use substitutes to create not only a spatial structure of groups, families, teams and organizations, but also of internal parts of a client. In doing so, the relational dynamics between the parts of the system are represented by the spatial metaphors of closeness distance, facing toward/away from the protagonist, superiority/inferiority, as well as by posture, gestures and facial expressions in the sculpture work. These arrangements thus use spatial constellations to depict relationship constellations, such as the meaning associated with a seating arrangement at family celebrations or the distance that two people hold each other during the greeting. Unlike the moving scenes in psychodrama, systemic constellations and sculptures transform the content to be presented into still images: One or more auxiliary

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egos (referred to as “substitutes” in the constellation work) take the various positions specified by the protagonist (“builder”) and mimic their posture, similar to a group of sculptures in a museum. The physical experience of the substitutes in the room then serves as an anchor point for the exploration of systemic dynamics. Constellations can provide quick explanations and prognoses of the systemic dynamics and are therefore potentially very efficient—but there are also some risks which will be discussed later. Although the strength of this approach lies in its ability to use group members as a visualization aid and to use their external perceptions, it also has concepts that find application in individual settings.

4.7.1

Psychodramatic Constellations

Constellations are spatial configurations of the elements of a system as well as the structure that connects these elements. One can differentiate: 1. The depiction of a protagonist’s rational and affective world (i.e. his psychic system) with emotions, values, “inner voices,” introjections, etc. (working with “inner parts”, Sect. 14.5), 2. A family, group or organizational constellation based on the protagonist’s perspective, where the system members are represented by substitutes, 3. Systemic constellations with the system members themselves (instead of substitutes). The latter is about mapping the reality of the group by comparing individual realities—hence this can be seen as a form of sociodrama (systemic constellations with members of the system, such as those used in family therapy or team development, are presented in detail in Sect. 7.3.2). The first two instances correspond to the classic psychodramatic concept of surplus reality, i.e. to transform the subjective reality of the protagonist (psyche) into action (drama). However, they are not usually perceived as variants of psychodrama, but attributed to systemic therapy and counseling, although they are modified versions of a method originally developed by Moreno (for the psychodramatic origins of systemic constellations see Constantine, 1978). Although the psychodrama community has always worked with constellations in practice, it has hardly developed any explicit concepts in this area. It is only recently, in the face of the boom in systemic constellations, that efforts have been made to recapture the terrain of the constellation methodology with independent psychodramatic concepts. Psychodramatic Systemic Constellations The exploration is followed by the constellation phase, where the protagonist selects members for the roles to be presented and positions them in accordance with his experience. According to the principle of surplus reality, it is not only the persons belonging to the system but also organizational units, groups and institutions from the larger environment of the system (school, customers …), goals,

4.7 Systemic Constellations and Sculptures

37

values, etc., who can be represented by substitutes and integrated into the setup. So far, the psychodramatic form of constellation work is identical to the systemic variants of this technique. While the substitutes in the systemic constellation work receive no further information about the persons they represent, the represented persons (groups …) are first explored through a psychodramatic role reversal. In addition, during the role reversal, the director asks the protagonist: • To say a sentence that expresses their experience in the respective role (“I feel oppressed in this position/powerful/…”) and • To say another sentence, which succinctly summarizes the attitude of the respective role toward the protagonist (“You get on my nerves”) or suggests an action (e.g. “Stay where you are”). As soon as all the relevant roles have been set up and explored in a role reversal (and not just, as in other variants, at the end of the constellation), the protagonist takes his role. The director then asks him how he perceives the depicted constellation from his position and what are the feelings associated with it. Further, he asks for the most important areas of conflict as well as the need for change in the protagonist’s perspective, in order to be able to implement suitable interventions: • A role reversal is conducted, if one needs further information about a role, the auxiliary ego needs to be more empathetic for the role in question, or the relationship between the auxiliary ego and the role is to be clarified (Sect. 5.3). • The protagonist’s (self-) perception can be enhanced by means of the double technique (Sect. 5.4). • The mirror technique (Sect. 5.4) offers a change in perspective and brings the protagonist into an observer role. • An intermediate feedback (Sect. 5.12) from the participants can provide hypotheses about the experience and the expectations of the established roles. This extension with psychodramatic action techniques is the most important feature of the psychodramatic arrangement as compared to the systemic constellation. In the processing phase, the constellation is changed until a more tension-free solution is achieved. The constellation becomes a space of opportunity where potential goals and improvements can be explored in a trial-and-error manner. For this purpose, the substitutes can change the location (e.g. move closer to the protagonist), change perspective or one of their core sentences. Proposals for such changes can come from the protagonist, the director or the substitutes. Inspired by the systemic approach, the psychodramatic constellation work particularly uses the so-called representational perception of the substitutes (i.e. their mental state in the constellation is an indicator of possible mental states within the protagonist’s family system) for the development of solutions. The substitutes are asked about the perceptions, emotions and impulses that arise in their positions, and how the constellation should change according to them, in order to reduce negative tensions. In consultation with the director, they can pursue their own action impulses, for

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example, change their location, ask questions to the protagonist or interact with other group members. The psychodramatic constellation work places great emphasis on • The protagonist being the only one knowing which solution is appropriate for him. The director and group members are only helpers who assist him in finding possible solutions. • Using the time at the end (e.g. in the dialogue between the director and the protagonist from the directing position) in working out exactly which steps the protagonist has to take in order to approach the symbolic solution achieved on stage. Differences Between Psychodramatic and Systemic Constellations Systemic constellation is taking advantage of psychodramatic methodical principles like working with surplus reality and using the auxiliary’s role empathy as a source of feedback and extension of perspective for the protagonist. The theoretical superstructure of psychodrama is stripped off, and findings from system theory and family therapy are integrated instead. The systemic constellation work is in some sense a decimation of psychodrama—it dispenses with the depiction of situational context factors as well as an extensive repertoire of techniques and strongly limits the verbal interaction between the substitutes. Thus, on the one hand, possibilities of presenting and dynamizing topics are lost. On the other hand, however, this decimation also brings a new nuance, accentuation and streamlining of the procedure. Constellations can help clarify systemic dynamics (e.g. relationship structures and conflicts) faster than the classic psychodramatic method based on events. This reorientation, combined with the different conceptual foundation, lends the constellation work independent validity as a consulting tool. Meanwhile, there are a lot of helpful introductions to the systemic constellation methodology (e.g. Horn & Brick, 2018; Sparrer, 2007; Whittington, 2016).

4.7.2

Sculpture Work

The sculpture work is methodically closely related to the constellation work. The main differences are: • Sculptures are used more as a means of expression for the protagonist, and less as an instrument for the study of systemic dynamics, • Sculptures are used not only to work with the perspective, but also with the auxiliary’s nonverbal expressions. In sculpture work, a group member takes on the posture, gestures and facial expressions as prescribed by the protagonist. In doing so, the protagonist, as a “sculptor,” creates a sculpture out of the auxiliary ego which expresses his internal image of himself or another person. For example, a sculpture on the subject “my

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fear” might look like this: The auxiliary ego huddles in a corner of the room, hiding their face in their hands. In the sculpture titled “Uncertainty in Exposed Situations,” the protagonist may ask the auxiliary ego to stand on one leg on a chair and smile in a tense way. Similar to a work of art, this is not a realistic representation of the protagonist’s emotions or behavior in any given situation, but rather a clarifying exaggeration of the expression. Similarly, one can form a sculpture with several auxiliary characters in order to express the structure of relationships in a group (e.g. the protagonist’s family of origin) or between different inner parts of the protagonist. When designing the sculpture, the protagonist can draw on a multitude of experiential possibilities of psychodramatic surplus reality (see following overview). Overview Experiential possibilities in sculpture work • Casting: Casting auxiliary egos (persons = higher involvement for the protagonist) versus casting auxiliary objects (lower involvement for the protagonist). • Protagonist’s perspective: The protagonist as part of the sculpture (higher involvement) versus the protagonist in the mirror position (distant position). • Proximity (horizontal dimension): Proximity between an element of the sculpture and the protagonist indicates a greater meaning/involvement of that element. • Superiority/inferiority (vertical dimension): The sculptural elements experienced by the protagonist as being powerful are, for example, positioned on a chair, whereas inferiority is illustrated through a lower position (e.g. sitting, squatting). • Postures, facial expressions and gestures: The emotional quality of a sculpture element is metaphorically expressed through corresponding postures, facial expressions and/or gestures (e.g. anger is expressed through a clenched fist). • Titling: The protagonist gives a title to the sculpture (e.g. “The two royal children”) in order to condense the significance of the sculpture at a linguistic level.

When the sculpture is complete, the protagonist can look at it from the outside in the psychodramatic mirror. The director asks him about his feelings while looking at the sculpture. It often makes sense to get to the heart of the protagonist’s associations by asking him to give his sculpture a title similar to a sculpture in a museum. The auxiliary ego’s feedback about his experience is another source of information.

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In the individual settings, the director can make herself available as “building material” for the sculpture; in the end, she gives feedback to the client. Time and the Level of Reality in Sculpture Work Sculptures can not only refer to the present state, such as the intrafamilial relationships as perceived by the protagonist today, but also represent an ideal state, such as the intrafamilial relationships desired by the protagonist. In addition to the possibility of depicting and comparing reality and wishful thinking, there is also the possibility of presenting the different stages of the story of a couple, a family or an organization in the form of sculptures in order to recognize and reflect on the changes between the images, for example: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Sculpture: Sculpture: Sculpture: Sculpture:

4.8

Acquaintance phase, Wedding, Birth of the first child, Our relationship in 5 years.

Scenic Exploration of Processes

Besides the structures, consideration of processes is the second important perspective of systems oriented work. Processes play an important role in human life: Many developments and changes take place in all areas of life, and they are often the subject of consultation or therapy. Imaginary time travel into one’s own past with the goal to rewrite the (self-constructed) script of one’s own life, often finds application in NLP (e.g., by James & Woodsmall, 2017), as well as psychodrama. The scenic enactment in psychodrama can help make such processes visible and comprehensible in order to understand them better and to test and anticipate possibilities of transformation on stage. Lifeline with Scarves The “lifeline” technique warms up clients by offering them a holistic view of their biography. The client’s task is to create their “lifeline” from scarves of different colors, whereby each scarf represents the different phases of life. An example of such a lifeline is shown in Fig. 4.1. Once the participant has laid out their lifeline, they explain it briefly. Similar to the scenic play of events, it is possible to explore the lifeline from an involved (surplus reality) as well as a distant position (mirror position) (Sect. 5.5). In the former situation, the protagonist travels back mentally and emotionally into the respective phase, whereas in the latter, they take an “eagle’s perspective” on their own life. The following criteria can be helpful when considering the lifeline technique (see Fig. 4.1):

4.8 Scenic Exploration of Processes

41

Fig. 4.1 Lifeline with scarves

• Is the lifeline relatively straight (1)? Or are there many curves, detours, turning points, etc. (2)? • Are there ruptures, i.e. gaps between the scarves (3)? • Which colors are chosen for the different “life phases” and what does this choice of color say? • Are there recurring themes (4 and 5)? • Are there “dead ends,” i.e. branches of the main development scarf are discontinued (6)? The “lifeline” can also be extended into the future in perspective. Other Questions As already mentioned, processes and the need to reflect on processes exist in abundance in all fields of counseling or therapy. The “lifeline” arrangement can be used for the visualization and scenic exploration of processes of all kinds, whereby the methodological design must be varied depending on the field of application. Some examples: • Treatment of psychosomatic complaints: medical history, “pain biography”; • Therapy/self-awareness: Initial diagnosis, course of a partnership, course of a problem (e.g. anxiety) over a certain period of time; • Conflict management and mediation: development of conflicts (e.g. between spouses); • Organizational consulting: professional biographies, company history. Methodological Variations The scenic presentation of processes can be methodically extended as desired; for example, the client may be asked to fill important points on the lifeline with symbols. The associated meanings of the used scarves and symbols can then be developed through a role reversal, in order to deepen the verbal description. Auxiliary egos can be asked to embody those life phases, which are to be explored in-depth. In some cases, it is not possible or even desirable to use materials in such a lavish manner as in the example above. In areas of work where one does not want to use scarves, symbols, etc., processes can also be visualized on a piece of paper,

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even if it diminishes the intensity of the protagonist’s experience and reduces possibilities for variation (e.g., scarves can be transferred, exchanged during the process).

4.9

Scenic Miniatures

With the term “scenic miniatures,” we refer to scenic representations designed by a group to express specific aspects of the topic. For example, the staff of a school can develop short scenic depictions in small groups to articulate the school culture, the handling of disciplinary problems or the difficulties in working with parents. It is usually left to the group to decide which form the resulting scenic depiction assumes (e.g. role play, sculpture). The group gets a reasonable amount of time to prepare; the production is then evaluated. If one works with several small groups, it may be interesting to first ask the audience for their associations and interpretations, and then have the group that created the image publish their intentions. Working with scenic miniatures has the following effects: • The group gains clarity on the topic while preparing the image. The individual participants also become aware of the similarities and differences in attitudes among themselves with respect to the question at hand; this might also lead to a possible convergence between the diverging positions. • Playing the scene activates experiences that complement the cognitive reflection in the preparation and follow-up to an affective component. • The play conveys the central aspects of the group’s topic to the outside observer more quickly and succinctly than verbal descriptions. This approach is therefore particularly suitable for topic-centered work in education, in vocational training and in personality development, but also in supervision and other fields of work.

4.10

Impromptu Play

Impromptu play (Stegreifspiel) is a freely improvised group play, which is usually based on a rough thematic specification (e.g., “The Heidelberg train station in the late evening”). The participants can choose their roles freely (e.g. the station manager, a manager on the way to Frankfurt airport, a homeless person, a gigolo, a departing couple, a pickpocket, a dove) within the framework of the given specification and develop actions from their own imagination. The “plot” is usually not predetermined, but it develops spontaneously from the interaction of the players (e.g., the homeless person begs the manager and is thrown out by the stationmaster). In addition to the completely free form of representation, a play based on a

4.10

Impromptu Play

43

predefined script can also be selected, if it seems advisable to the director—for example, the group enacts an impromptu fairy tale, wherein the roles of the individual participants are selected in advance by the group members (Sect. 4.17). The impromptu play can be analyzed and used as a warm-up exercise for a subsequent protagonist or a group play. The participants discuss their experiences at the end of the play and draw connections between their choice of role as well as their experience in the role and their lives. The course of the play and the collective role dynamics can also be examined to see if any group issues and roles have emerged in the process (e.g. are participants who played outsider roles like the dove also marginalized in the group?). However, impromptu plays do not always have to go through an intensive analysis. They can simply serve as an ice breaker for the group. They are well suited for the first group session to allow the participants to interact with each other, to offer a taste of the scenic work, or as a relaxing “treat” at the end of a busy psychodrama weekend. On the other hand, there are groups and stages of group work in which impromptu plays are experienced as exhausting; in some situations, they may warm up the group even more than what is expected by the director, who intended for a playful change after the intense group work. This should be taken into account when choosing the topic. In this respect, a diagnostically trained eye and competency with therapeutic interventions are indispensable prerequisites for conducting impromptu plays; being familiar with the group will work in one’s favor. Impromptu plays are well suited for realistic (e.g. train station) as well as fictional scenarios, such as: fairy tales (Sect. 4.17). The director can use psychodramatic techniques, but usually it makes more sense to let the dynamics of the group develop without any influence. However, the dynamics can also be steered and intensified to a certain extent by external interventions: The director can define events (“a train arrives”), use the time-lapse technique (“It is now 1 o’clock/2 o’clock/…/slowly it becomes bright”) or insert threats from outside (“Attention, an announcement: A fire has broken out in the station, the exits are blocked”) in order to expose the group to a collective spontaneity test and to give a new impetus to the role dynamics. Enacting Desired Roles This form of arrangement is particularly suitable for group-centered plays. It is not based on a scenario like “Heidelberg train station late in the evening” which already suggests certain roles. Instead, participants are encouraged to play the role of their ideal self, i.e. to slip into the role of the person they always wanted to be—that could be an astronaut, a painter, a playboy or an Irish shepherd. These roles are explored through impromptu play and then reflected on for their biographical significance. Playing these roles not only has a diagnostic value, but it also fulfills the participants’ wishes symbolically and offers them a positive experience.

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Playing Antagonist Roles This is an interesting variation where participants slip into an antagonist role, i.e. embody a person they absolutely do not want to be. For obvious reasons, the director must exercise particular caution in such a play. Important In impromptu plays, participants are usually given a scenario (e.g. “Train station at night”), asked to choose a role within the given setting (e.g. a sausage vendor) and enact it in free group interaction. It is also possible to choose an ideal role (e.g. “the heroine of my childhood”) or antagonist roles (e.g. the witch in Hansel and Gretel). Impromptu plays can also serve as a warm-up technique because the embodied role - like a projective test - often has strong references to the player’s personality.

4.11

Playback

In this variant, the group enacts a sequence from the protagonist’s life in accordance with the given specifications, while the protagonist stands or sits apart with the director and looks at the events from the outside. The protagonist “directs” and corrects the portrayal, if it is not consistent with their experience. The protagonist’s role is played by a stand-in in the scene. The playback variant translates the form and function of the psychodramatic mirror technique into an arrangement suitable for longer sequences or even a complete stage design. The benefit lies in the possibility of creating emotional distance from what happens on the stage: The protagonist can relive the situation without the risk of being flooded by difficult emotions. Therefore, playback is particularly suitable for processing traumatic situations. Similar to the mirror technique, the protagonist can gain new insights from the perspective of the outside observer and implement them immediately by modifying their own instructions to the group. Although the term “playback” has become common for this form of psychodramatic work, it is actually misleading. Fox (1999) developed “Playback Theater” from Psychodrama, and it has established itself as an independent method with fixed procedures and rules. The psychodramatic playback differs from the playback theater in its liberal handling of the formal process: The protagonist can enter the scene and take on their own (or another) role, if they along with the director consider it useful to have a stronger emotional involvement. Furthermore, the protagonist can freeze the play at any point in time (see Sect. 5.11).

4.11

Playback

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Important In playback, the group stages a scene from the protagonist’s life in accordance with the given specifications. The protagonist directs from an outside position and can thus experience events from a distance without being too overwhelmed.

4.12

The Action Sociometry

The different variants of action sociometry commonly require participants to position themselves according to a predetermined criterion—occupation, place of birth or residence, hobbies, etc.—set by the director. The aim is • To enunciate classical sociometric group structures (Sect. 14.4) as well as • To actively express the group members’ attitudes to a topic relevant to the group thereby make them clear and workable. One can distinguish a number of different forms of presentation.

4.12.1 Unidimensional Presentation In this simplest action-sociometric form of representation, the group structure is modeled in space through positioning of the group members along a unidimensional criterion. A Simple Sociometric Chain A simple sociometric chain is obtained, for example, by the criterion “first letter of the first name”: Participants whose first name begins with “A” stand on one side, while those whose first name begins with “Z” stand on the other side of the room. The remaining group members arrange themselves in alphabetical order on this imaginary scale. After giving instructions, the director should withdraw and leave the self-organization to the group. The participants now have to interact by asking each other for their name. Other possible criteria for the formation of such a sociometric chain are, for example, seniority at an in-house workshop or the number of subordinates in a leadership seminar. Questions to Ask in Unidimensional Settings This variant involves asking questions related to an object/topic in order to distribute the group. The continuum on which the verdict is to be delivered is represented by objects (e.g., a rope or two empty chairs at the extremes of the continuum). The clients then position themselves on this continuum as they feel. The criterion may be a simple question using a linear scale (e.g. “On a scale of 0–10, how strong is your desire to return to your wife?”) or a bipolar scale as in the following example.

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4 Psychodramatic Arrangements Example “Do you want more knowledge transfer or more practical exercises in this seminar? If you think that knowledge transfer should be in the foreground, please stand closer to this chair; if you want practical exercises, please stand closer to that chair; if you do not have a preference, stand in the middle between the two chairs.”

In any case, the director will question the participants as soon as they have positioned themselves.

4.12.2 Two-Dimensional Presentation In two-dimensional representations, there are two reference axes, resulting in an imaginary coordinate system. Sociometric Map The criterion “place of residence” (or place of birth, company headquarters, etc.) can be represented as a map: At a seminar in Washington, the director will begin by asking who has come from Washington and gather the participants in question. Alternatively, he may ask a randomly selected participant about his place of residence, while the other participants position themselves around this “crystallization point” as if on a map. In doing so, the group not only has to regulate the participants’ positions, but also the geographical orientation of the image (where is North?) and the scale (“If this is Atlanta, then I have to go a bit further”). Questions to Ask in Two-Dimensional Settings In many cases, the decision that has to be taken is not “either A – or B” but “X as well as Y”; for example, when the seminar group has to decide on a mix ratio between knowledge transfer and practical exercises that suits their needs. If the decision on both dimensions is to be made separately, the director first asks the participants for their decision on the first dimension, in this case represented by a rope (“X-axis”). Example “To what extent do you attach importance to knowledge transfer in this seminar? Please position yourself along this rope as if it were a scale: here is 0, indicating “knowledge transfer is not important to me at all”; and “knowledge transfer is extremely important to me” is over there, at the other end of the rope at 10.”

When the participants have decided on the first criterion, the director lays out another rope for the second criterion (as “Y-axis”) at a 90° angle. The instruction to the participants who have already positioned themselves on the first dimension could be as in the example below.

4.12

The Action Sociometry

47

Example “In addition to the transfer of knowledge, this seminar has, as already mentioned, practical exercises. I would now like to ask you to turn 90° to the right without leaving your position next to the rope. Imagine that this second rope embodies the question: “How important are practical exercises in this seminar?” You are now at 0 on this dimension. The more important practical exercises, the further you will go along this second rope - back here would be 10, indicating “practical exercises are extremely important to me”. If exercises are not important to you at all, you can stop at the front end of the rope”.

It is helpful if the director explains the resulting coordinate system again: Example “That is, if you want a little knowledge and a little practice, you will stand in this area; if you want a lot of knowledge transfer, but few exercises, in this area and if you want both a lot of knowledge and many practical exercises, you are here.”

In this way, one can capture the group’s moods and opinions quickly. (Of course, some groups tend to avoid decisions and place themselves on “100% input plus 100% exercises”—in this case the group’s sociometric vote has to be reflected on.) Carlson-Sabelli, Sabelli, and Hale (1994) developed the “diamond of opposites” in which one dimension (X-axis) can be used to inquire the attitudes toward one criterion and the other dimension (Y-axis) can be used to inquire ambivalence in relation to this criterion. The extremes of the axes thus mark four fields: “like” (left), “dislike” (right), “both like and dislike” (above) and “neither like nor dislike” (below).

4.12.3 Polar Presentation Polar presentations help translate client statements into proximity–distance relations, whereby the reference point is not an axis or axes of coordinates, but a specific point in the room in relation to which one can take an arbitrary position. For example, in a seminar on “aggression,” aggression is placed as an object (e.g. a red cloth) in the center of the room. The participants are then asked to position themselves in relation to this symbol based on their relation to the topic in question. A participant may, for example, express his interest in the topic by placing himself near the symbol and turning to it; another participant might express his desire to avoid the subject by standing as far as possible with his face turned away into a distant corner of the room. Multipolar Presentation: Sociometric Group Formation Groups can also be formed according to sociometric criteria such as occupation or the question “Who works with whom?” The resulting groups will then be given a task relevant to the further course of action (e.g. “As an employee of the purchasing department, what do you expect from the other departments?”). Once each

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participant places their hand on the shoulder of those they know, as a response to “Who knows whom in this group?”, it creates a vivid picture of the group’s underlying social network. Another criterion for group formation is the participants’ attitudes to a topic relevant to the group. Example Possibilities for sociometric group formation • In a music class, the teacher presents three facets of the theme “Music of different cultures” (Indian, West African and Balinese music). The students organize themselves according to the topic that appeals to them the most. The groups can then work separately on “their” chosen topic. • In a psychodrama training seminar, one hour is left at the end of the first day. The participants can choose how to fill this hour by positioning themselves in different corners of a room (Group 1: Vignette, Group 2: Impromptu (Stegreifspiel), Group 3: Film on the History of Psychodrama). This opinion image serves as an impulse for the director to further design the meeting or seminar.

Last but not least, an action-sociometric group formation can form the starting point for further (e.g. sociodramatic) work on the group level with the aim of changing the group structure. An important element in such work at the group level is the role reversal between the individual subgroups (Chap. 7).

4.12.4 Applications of Action Sociometry Action sociometry not only serves as a warm-up for individuals, helps them in getting to know each other and forms a group at the beginning of a process, but also has a diagnostic function: The director gets an idea of relevant aspects of the group structure, and in that respect chooses criteria according to her goals. Action-sociometric representations such as the sociometric map or series of names are ideally suited for the first group session, since they give the participants the opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere (so-called “we” factor of theme-centered interaction) (see Sect. 8.5). Having said that, it is a prerequisite that the director has chosen the criteria wisely. Thus, proposals such as “please stand according to your bank balance/weight, etc.” rarely contribute to a relaxation of the atmosphere. The choice of criterion depends on the target group and the setting: Criteria that may be appropriate and helpful in a therapeutic context may seem out of place in a seminar with leaders and disrupt the group process right from the beginning. It is possible to work with action sociometry even during the warm-up phase in later sessions in order to loosen up the group. When choosing the criteria, however,

4.12

The Action Sociometry

49

it should be noted that sociometric arrangements represent warm-up techniques in the classical sense. For example, if the participants are grouped according to the criteria “number of siblings in the family” or “position in the sibling order,” it results in the formation of small groups (single child/one brother or sister/two siblings, etc.; oldest child, youngest child, second of three children, etc.); the members of these small groups can then reflect on what experiences they have had in their role as “elders,” “single children” and so on, after which group or protagonist plays can be organized. The warm-up effects of sociometric constellations are often underestimated. They may trigger issues, memories, emotions and conflicts that may need to be addressed before moving on to the “agenda” and addressing other issues. Action-sociometric inquiry of attitudes makes the sociometric preference structure visible and tangible for all participants—one stands next to those who have similar perceptions and desires and can see and feel the distance to those who feel differently and think differently. This disclosure of group structures may be desirable, but it can also create an explosive group dynamic that may be undesirable in other situations. In most cases, such an intervention will only make sense if there is time and space available to deal with any group conflicts that may have become visible. Since action sociometry depicts group structures, it can easily become an instrument of exclusion. The director’s inconsiderate request to the participants to position themselves on an imaginary map of Germany according to their own place of birth can result in those born outside of Germany—with a “true-to-scale” representation of the geographical conditions—having to stand outside the room. Thus, for migrants, the introduction which was intended as a relaxation becomes a painful repetition of experiences of exclusion and of “non-belonging” (Chap. 19). Important Action sociometry literally means the active mapping of a criterion in relation to groups. Attraction and rejection between the group members, coalitions and subgroups, attitudes, as well as the geographical origin of the participants and much more can be made visible and workable with action sociometry.

4.13

The Spontaneity Test

The spontaneity test requires the group to design a short scene that is unknown to the protagonist and that creates a challenging situation to which the protagonist must react spontaneously and unprepared. Moreno developed the spontaneity test for the American Army, where he served to select leaders. The candidates’ test was that they had to save people from a “burning house” on stage. The spontaneity test serves diagnostic purposes, but can also simply act as an ice breaker for the

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group. If the selected situation is one where the protagonist usually reacts with a shame-ridden behavior (e.g. a shy person is asked to give a short speech on stage spontaneously), the spontaneity test can also become very intense. In these cases, effective coaching can possibly empower the protagonist and develop the spontaneity test further into role training (Sect. 4.4).

4.14

“Behind Your Back”

This arrangement is a special form of feedback that can be implemented during the course of the play or as an independent intervention at the request of the protagonist. Both the protagonist and the director sit with their backs to the group that speaks about the protagonist “behind his back”, as if he was not present. In doing so, the protagonist gets feedback about what the group thinks about them. This arrangement is well suited to give feedback to participants who are very eloquent and usually defend themselves immediately; however, it can also be very confrontational. The feedback does not refer to the protagonist as a whole person, but to a concrete request such as: “What is your perception of Marco’s approach to punctuality?” The group members not only share their own feelings which have been triggered by the protagonist’s behavior, but also speculate on the motives and background of this behavior, if this is covered by the request of the protagonist (see example). Example A: “It makes me very angry that Marco is always late. It’s not always easy for me to arrive on time either, but I have to overcome my own weakness too.” B: “I feel that Marco’s lateness is also a revolt against us as a group.” C: “I can imagine him - perhaps unknowingly - trying to duck out of our starting round, where everyone talks about his current difficulties.”

The feedback should be helpful and not hurtful to the protagonist. Even if these rules are observed, the “behind your back” arrangement is confrontative in nature and must therefore be used with caution.

4.15

The Magic Shop

The magic shop is commonly used as a warm-up technique that facilitates the creation of themes for subsequent protagonist-centered plays. In addition, the magic shop can also be used

4.15

The Magic Shop

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• For diagnostic purposes, • For the completion of therapeutic processes or • As an intervention in individual and group settings. The magic shop creates a space for all participants to be active and engaged at the same time. The director asks the group members to use their imagination and set up a magic shop where one can buy anything that is “real or fantastical, possible or impossible, from the past, present or the future.” This imagination can—if necessary—be supported by the director through an imaginary story or something similar. There are several ways to implement this arrangement; the “classic” version is as follows: • The participants are equally divided into a “buyer” and “seller group”; • Every salesperson sets up his personal magic shop on stage: although one can work with props, it is not necessary to do so; • The “buyers” go around one by one and try to buy the goods of their choice from the various shops. The offered goods should exclusively be immaterial in nature such as skills (e.g. a pound of skill), talents (e.g. a bit of musicality), feelings (e.g. a bag of contentment), etc. In order to continue exploring further, it should adhere to the conditions of purchase that is the buyers must justify their wishes in detail. The buyers and sellers can negotiate the “currency” for their transaction: Some sellers will demand money, some may want to exchange against other goods or the buyer’s personality traits—everything is possible in the magic shop. However, depending on its purpose (see below), the director may also stipulate that the payment must be made “in the same currency,” i.e. the buyer has to exchange another quality, ability or a feeling for the desired commodity. In this case, the seller is, of course, required to offer only those skills that he personally considers valuable or believes to have good enough “resale value”—no one would want to trade their self-confidence in return for depression—although this may well be desirable in another therapeutically oriented variant. When all participants have understood the basic principles, they can improvise: Since several shops have been set up next to one another, one can simply look around in the first shop, bargain without buying anything, or buy a pound of bravery before heading to the next shop. Once each buyer has finished visiting each store, the roles are exchanged: The buyers become sellers, and the sellers become buyers. The purchase procedure is then replayed with reversed roles. The stage is then closed; one can interpret the play more intensively (e.g. in dyads) or even do without an interpretation, all depending on the target group and the objective. The magic shop is well suited as a warm-up technique for the group or as a spontaneity test. It is fun to play with imagination, the group can get to know each other on a personal, but symbolically encrypted level. The magic shop can also serve as a diagnostic projective test: “The magic shop helps one arrive at the important existential questions fairly quickly – to be precise

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with speed, impartiality, distance and symbolically. Sometimes we can announce that one can buy only one commodity, namely that what one needs, what one lacks: security, a way out of fear or loneliness, etc.” (Schützenberger-Ancelin, 1979, p. 82, translation S.P.). One possible supposition behind the magic shop is that the protagonist chooses to “buy” his greatest need or greatest deficit. It is also interesting to note what the protagonist exchanges, i.e. what is he prepared to give up to acquire the goods in question. In doing so, the protagonist can become aware of his abilities and his “value hierarchy”: where are the deficits, what is of a high value, which quality is so integral to his personality that he could give away a part of it without any loss. Lastly, the arrangement has a therapeutic effect on the participants: The buyers are encouraged to reflect on their (more or less) hidden desires, but they also become aware of their strengths, which means that a resource-enhancing component also comes into play in the negotiation process. The magic shop gets a special therapeutic quality due to its symbolic-ritual dimension. The magic shop is the place of symbolic wish fulfillment, where every wish is expressed, all emotional stresses can be put away and every yearning can be realized. The magic shop can unfold its therapeutic effect in symbolic manner as the psychodramatic surplus reality allows for an integration of the personality, which might fail in reality due to many constraints. Despite all the fun, one must ensure that, in the context of a pedagogical or therapeutic goal, the magic shop must not slide into superficial magical acting. You can refer to Barbour (1992), Rustin and Olsson (1993) and Verhofstadt-Denève (2000) for further thoughts and case studies on the magic shop as well as extensions of this arrangement.

4.16

The Good Fairy

In this arrangement proposed by Sader (1991), the proverbial good fairy (in the form of the director) appears and offers three equally proverbial wishes to the participants. These wishes can then be “fulfilled” in the form of a psychodramatic reality test and checked for their consequences. It often turns out that when the much-awaited turns into a reality, it is anything but desirable.

4.17

Psychodramatic Work with Fairy Tales, Fables or Mythological Stories

Fairy tales or similar folk stories are excellently suited for working with the psychodramatic means of surplus reality. One can find typical symbolic representations of “unconscious dramas of the psyche” (Jung, 1969) in them, which can take on an

4.17

Psychodramatic Work with Fairy Tales, Fables or Mythological …

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external, experiential and malleable form on the psychodrama stage. On the one hand, they provide an abundance of material for intensive therapeutic work through their wealth of symbols, on the other hand, they help loosen up group processes because of their playful character. The possibilities of using fairy tales, however, are usually limited to areas of therapy, self-awareness, educational contexts and working with children (e.g. at school). The psychodramatic work with fairy tales and stories mostly takes place in the following steps: 1. Choosing a fairy tale/story The fairy tale may be selected by the director in situations of therapeutic considerations or when the themes are predefined. Otherwise, the group chooses the fairy tale to be enacted. 2. Casting the roles Again, in therapeutic contexts, the director can decide who should play which role based on their diagnosis. In other cases, the tale is first read to the group to collect the necessary roles for the game. The participants then choose their preferred role. Another option is the sociometric selection of roles, where the majority of the group decides who should play which role. 3. The Play The play begins after a short preparation time, during which the participants prepare the set and equip themselves with the necessary props. Here, the textual reproduction of the fairy tale is less important than the creative presentation. 4. Evaluation phase The evaluation follows the pattern used in psychodrama group plays: • • • •

Plenary: “How did I (as a participant) experience the play?” Plenary: “How did I experience the other participants?” (Role feedback). Plenary: Process analysis. Dyads: reflection of the game against the background of one’s own life situation—“How are the roles I played and the way I played them, connected to me, my biography and my current situation?”

The course of the play is examined more closely in the process analysis: Which parts of the fairy tale were focused on, which were omitted? Where did the text differ? Have the agreements that the group may have made (the “script”) been fulfilled and, if not, why? At which points did they face difficulties in coordination? What was each participant’s contribution? Who took the lead? etc. The fairy tale can also be interpreted during the process analysis. In addition, there are a variety of other possibilities of psychodramatic and non-psychodramatic work with fairy tales, for example, the impromptu play in which the participants take on the role of their favorite fairy tale character. Flynn (2002), Kende (2017, pp. 131–148) and Walters (2017) describe the psychodramatic work with fairy tales, etc. You can also refer to Pearson et al. (2013) for the use of myth and fairy tales in drama therapy.

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Psychodramatic Dream Analysis

Surplus reality offers excellent possibilities for the psychodramatic analysis of dreams. The protagonist sets up their bedroom in a corner of the stage and lies down on the bed. The director then asks them to imagine their dream. This is then set up and enacted on stage. If the protagonist dreams of a church for instance, then a church is “built” on the remaining part of the stage. The protagonist’s dream develops into a “normal” psychodrama play in accordance with the techniques described in this chapter. In a multistage concept (group situation—bedroom— dream), the director must pay special attention to the boundary between the levels of reality. They must keep the dream and reality strictly separate, but they can also switch from one level to the other while observing the boundaries between dream and reality: The psychodramatic presentation “… may end in the same place as the dream. Often it is also continued without a break between the day and the daydream. The dream or its continuation can be transferred to reality or remain symbolic” (Leutz, 1974, p. 121, translation S.P.). You can refer to Nolte, Weistart, and Wyatt (1977), Verhofstadt-Denève (1995) and Wolk (1996) for a more in-depth reading on this subject.

4.19

Summary

A psychodramatic arrangement is a scenic framework which enables the transformation of the subjective reality of the protagonist or the group into a manifest stage design. Various action techniques such as role reversal, doubling or mirroring can then be used within this scenic framework. The scenic play is used to recreate real or fictitious events. The conflicts within the structures of a system such as the relationships within a family or the conflicting intrapsychic parts can be mapped with the help of the constellation work. The scenic representation of processes can help make a protagonist’s life story, the development of cooperation in an organization or a similar process more tangible. Other important psychodramatic arrangements include impromptu (Stegreifspiel), the future projection and the magic shop. Beyond these arrangements, the director is called upon to spontaneously develop his own scenic metaphors for the respective topic.

References Barbour, A. (1992). Purpose and strategy behind the magic shop. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 45(3), 91–101. Blatner, A. (1996). Acting-in. Practical applications of psychodramatic methods (3rd ed.). New York: Springer.

References

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Buer, F. (1999). Morenos therapeutische Philosophie. Ihre aktuelle Rezeption und Weiterentwicklung. In F. Buer (Hrsg.), Morenos therapeutische Philosophie. Die Grundideen von Psychodrama und Soziometrie (3. Aufl., pp. 227–258). Opladen: Leske & Budrich. Carlson-Sabelli, L., Sabelli, H. C., & Hale, A. E. (1994). Sociometry and sociodynamics. In P. Holmes, M. Karp, & M. Watson (Eds.), Psychodrama since Moreno: Innovations in theory and practice (pp. 147–185). London: Routledge. Constantine, L. L. (1978). Family sculpture and relationship mapping techniques. Journal of Family and Marriage Counseling, 4(2), 13–23. Flynn, S. (2002). Dreams and fairy tales and their application to psychodrama psychotherapy. The British Journal of Psychodrama & Sociodrama, 17, 49–67. Fox, J. (Ed.). (1999). Gathering voices: Essays on playback. Hare, A. P., & Hare, J. R. (1996). J. L. Moreno. London: Sage. Horn, K. P., & Brick, R. (2018). Invisible dynamics: Systemic constellations in organisations and in business. Heidelberg: Carl-Auer. Hudgins, M. K. (1998). Experiential psychodrama with sexual trauma. In L. S. Greenberg, J. C. Watson, & G. Lietaer (Eds.), Handbook of experiential psychotherapy (pp. 328–348). New York: Guilford. James, T., & Woodsmall, W. (2017). Time line therapy and the basis of personality. Carmathen: Crown House. Jung, C. G. (1969). The phenomenology of the spirit in fairytales. In C. G. Jung (Ed.), The archetypes and the collective unconscious (pp. 207–254). Princeton: Princeton University Press. Kende, H. (2017). Psychodrama with children: Healing children through their own creativity. London: Routledge. Leutz, G. A. (1974). Das klassische Psychodrama nach J.L Moreno. Berlin: Springer. Nolte, J., Weistart, J., & Wyatt, J. (1977). Psychodramatic production of dreams: The end of the road. Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 30, 37–48. Pearson, J., Smail, M., & Watts, P. (2013). Dramatherapy with myth and fairytale: The golden stories of sesame. London: Kingsley. Petzold, H. (1979). Psychodrama-Therapie. Theorie, Methoden, Anwendung in der Arbeit mit alten Menschen. Paderborn: Junfermann. Rustin, T. A., & Olsson, P. A. (1993). A variation on magic shop for addiction treatment patients. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 46, 12–23. Sader, M. (1991). Realität, Semi-Realität und Surrealität im Psychodrama. In M. Vorwerg & T. Alberg (Eds.), Psychodrama (pp. 44–63). Heidelberg: Barth. Schützenberger-Ancelin, A. (1979). Psychodrama: ein Abriß; Erläuterung der Methoden. Stuttgart: Hippokrates. Sparrer, I. (2007). Miracle, solution and system: Solution-focused systemic structural constellations for therapy and organisational change. Cheltenham: Solutions Books. Verhofstadt-Denève, L. M. F. (1995). How to work with dreams in psychodrama: Developmental theory from an existential-dialectical viewpoint. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 45, 405–435. Verhofstadt-Denève, L. M. F. (2000). The »magic shop« technique in psychodrama: An existential-dialectical view. International Journal of Action Methods—Psychodrama, Skill Training, and Role Playing, 53(1), 3–15. Walters, R. (2017). Fairytales, psychodramaand action methods: Ways of helping traumatized children to heal. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 16(1), 53–60. Whittington, J. (2016). Systemic coaching and constellations (2nd ed.). London: Kogan Page. Wolk, D. J. (1996). The psychodramatic reenactment of a dream. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 49, 3–9.

Chapter 5

Action Techniques in Psychodrama

What needs to be changed, must be experienced in therapy. Or: ‘Speech is silver, experience is gold’ (Grawe, 1995, p. 136).

This section describes the main techniques in psychodrama that can be used in the action phase. Although psychodrama literature suggests that a large number of techniques exist—Moreno (1959) speaks of 351-, usually only a few “standard techniques” (e.g. role reversal, doubling, mirroring) form the foundation in practice. In addition, there are “larger” frame techniques (“arrangements”), such as improvisation, sculpting or magic shop, which we have described in Chap. 4. Treadwell, Stein, and Kumar (1990), for instance, give an overview in probably the most comprehensive article which can be found in the appendix of Schützenberger Ancelin’s (1979) book. Psychodrama is a creative method where the director is free to modify existing techniques, integrate techniques originating from other methods into their work or spontaneously develop and apply new possibilities during the play. However, the wealth of creative possibilities offered by psychodrama must not lead to arbitrary application of techniques. It is therefore important for interventions to be based on a well-founded theoretical framework. Part II of this book describes a framework for designing interventions in psychodrama. Krüger (especially 1997) has developed a general theory of psychodrama techniques which forms a basis for practical applications of the most important psychodrama techniques and arrangements in the psychotherapeutic context. We will take up Krüger’s line of argument repeatedly in the following sections.

5.1

The Psychodramatic Interview

The psychodramatic interview is used at the beginning of the action phase to explore the topic (Sect. 10.3) and further warm up the protagonist. This technique can be used to reflect on the process during the course of the play as well as at the

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end. Compared to other action techniques, the psychodramatic interview is characterized by the fact that the protagonist does not respond to it in surplus reality but on the interview level.

5.2

Verbalization Techniques

Psychodrama has a range of techniques for verbalizing innermost thoughts and feelings which are commonly known as monologue, soliloquy, therapeutic self-talk, talking sideways and so on. There is no clear distinction between these techniques, either in literature or in practical work. In all cases, the director invites the protagonist to verbalize those thoughts or feelings on the psychodrama stage that they haven’t expressed in the real situation. This can be done either in the form of a monologue or a dialogue between the director and the protagonist. It can involve an action (“If I see my boss standing there, then I think …”), or even foresight (“If I think of having to talk to my boss about the vacation plans, then I feel… “) or thoughts and feelings arising in retrospect. While the protagonist is talking about their thoughts and feelings, the scene can be stopped (“frozen”) for a brief moment, or can continue in the background. Finally, the director uses questions or for instance, exploratory doubling to encourage the protagonist to verbalize their thoughts and feelings. The verbalization of thoughts and feelings can produce therapeutic effects on several levels: • The invitation to verbalize encourages the protagonist to direct their attention to inner experiences that they may have paid little attention to. • Verbalization can help clarify one’s vague or confused thoughts and feelings, as it requires the protagonist to translate their inner experience in a logically clear language. • Another therapeutic outcome is the ability to share one’s thoughts and feelings with the group. In the talking sideways technique, the protagonist expresses thoughts (about a person on the stage) out of the scene as if that person could not hear them. Here, it is important to pay particular attention to the difference between the situation of the past being played out and the current work on the psychodrama stage. A possible intervention by the director could be, for example, “Mrs. Carlson, what do you think about your boss? Your boss cannot hear that right now, so you can tell me what you really think.” Often communication problems arise not because something was said, but because something was not said. In such cases, the director can encourage the protagonist to repeat her thoughts (that became clear in her monologue) in the scene.

5.3 Role Reversal and Role Change

5.3

59

Role Reversal and Role Change

Role reversal is the most important technique of psychodrama—some authors therefore consider role reversal to be a constitutive element of psychodrama. In psychodrama, the roles are tied to two elements, namely the positions on stage and the props, accessories or symbols that represent a typical feature of the role.

5.3.1

The “Simple Role Reversal”

During role reversal, the protagonist reverses her role with the role of a partner who is either present as a real person (such as in couple’s counseling) or is personified by an auxiliary ego. The former situation can be termed as “reciprocal role reversal,” and the latter as “representative role reversal” (Kellermann, 1994). The following example refers to the representative role reversal. Initial situation: Mrs. Carlson and her boss (played by an auxiliary ego, Mrs. Pearce) stand facing each other on the stage. Mrs. Carlson asks a question: “I would like to be on leave next week. Is that possible?”, which of course the auxiliary ego cannot answer as she has not experienced the situation.

The director gives the instruction for role reversal (Fig. 5.1), which consists of • An exchange of positions on stage and • An exchange of props (in our example, a tie). Fig. 5.1 Role reversal initial situation

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Fig. 5.2 Role reversal outcome

In our example, Mrs. Carlson is now in the position of the boss, the auxiliary ego in the position of Mrs. Carlson (Fig. 5.2). Mrs. Carlson takes the tie from the auxiliary ego and puts it on. The term “role reversal” is an instruction to reverse roles. However, in groups that are unfamiliar with psychodrama, it should be noted that role reversal must first be well-guided, as per the following instruction. Instruction for role reversal Mrs. Carlson, come over here and sit down on your boss’s chair. You, Mrs. Pearce, please play the role of the Mrs. Carlson for a moment. Mrs. Carlson, please try to imagine that you are your boss. What is your boss’s name? I see! So you are Mr. Ray. Mr. Ray, how long have you been the boss in this company? … You see, over there is Mrs. Carlson, how long have you been working with her? Thank you, please come out of the role now, you are now again Mrs. Carlson and you Mrs. Pearce (auxiliary ego), are now the boss again. Did you get an idea of how Mrs. Carlson’s boss is? … ”

It is therefore important to address the participants in their roles from the beginning (i.e. in the example as boss and no more as Mrs. Carlson) and through the introduction of roles give them the opportunity to identify with the new role. After a few rounds of guidance in this manner, the simple instruction “role reversal” usually suffices. According to the psychodrama theory, the instruction for role reversal is given immediately after a statement by the protagonist and should preferably be performed as quickly as possible, but without rushing. The action continues immediately after the role reversal. As a rule, the last spoken sentence before the role reversal (especially in the case of questions) should be repeated. However, this can be omitted if doing so would interrupt the flow of action. As mentioned earlier, the importance of the action must not be neglected so as to allow the protagonist and the auxiliary ego to experience intense emotions in their roles. A “role reversal” does accelerate the action on stage, but it also carries the risk that the event remains on the surface.

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The auxiliary ego repeats the question in the role of Mrs. Carlson “I would like to be on leave next week. Is that possible?” Mrs. Carlson replies in the role of the boss: “Who is then supposed to do your work?” (Fig. 5.3). Now the roles are reversed again - Mrs. Carlson puts the tie off and goes back to her role, the auxiliary ego takes on the role of the boss again. The initial situation is restored. The auxiliary ego repeats the boss’s last sentence: “Who is then supposed to do your work?” Now Mrs. Carlson answers again from her role: “I have already spoken with Mrs. Johnson, and …” (Fig. 5.4) etc. In this way, the entire action of the scene is reconstructed in a role reversal.

The director should make sure that the auxiliary ego replicates the protagonist’s expressions as accurately as possible. These include spoken words, tone of voice, body language, gestures and facial expressions. What is more important than an exact copy of all the details, however, is that the auxiliary ego reflects typical expressive elements of the role (e.g. important “key sentences” or particularly striking gestures). In doing so, the auxiliary egos can go beyond the statements that the protagonist makes in the role reversal (e.g. by exaggerating specific gestures). The director must respond differently to such role expansions based on the appropriateness of the situation. In particular, they must kindly but firmly reject the improvisational impulses of the auxiliary ego that distort the scene for the protagonist. If the protagonist (or an auxiliary ego) finds it difficult to place themselves in an antagonist role, this can be an indication of resistance to which the director must react accordingly (Chap. 17).

Fig. 5.3 Role reversal continued 1

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Fig. 5.4 Role reversal continued 2

5.3.2

Role Reversal from the Antagonist’s Role with Another Auxiliary Ego

In a dialogue with more than one person, it is necessary to allow the protagonist to reverse roles in sequence with several roles (in our example, the boss and the colleague present). In general, one must avoid the direct reversal of roles between two auxiliary egos (such as P ! H1 ! H2), as this can cause the auxiliary egos to take up wrong roles and result in a confusion of roles. If a role reversal takes place between a protagonist, who is currently in an auxiliary ego role, and a second auxiliary ego, the protagonist must first be brought back into their own role by a role reversal. From there, a role reversal can then take place with the second auxiliary ego (diagrammatically explained: P ! H1 ! P; P ! H2 ! P; etc. Example). Role Reversal Between Two Auxiliary Egos After a role reversal, Mrs. Carlson is in the role of the boss, and the auxiliary ego used for the boss is in the role of the protagonist. Mrs. Carlson’s colleague, Mrs. Johnson plays the role of the second auxiliary ego: Mrs. Carlson Auxiliary ego boss Auxiliary ego colleague

plays plays plays

the boss Mrs. Carlson the colleague

After a spontaneous response from the boss (e.g. “And what does Mrs. Johnson say about that?”), the protagonist must reverse roles with Mrs. Johnson in order to answer the question from her role. Now, if roles were reversed “directly” between Mrs. Carlson and her colleague, then it would result in the following wrong constellation (Fig. 5.5):

5.3 Role Reversal and Role Change Mrs. Carlson Auxiliary ego boss Auxiliary ego colleague

63 plays plays plays

the colleague Mrs. Carlson the boss

Using the correct method, first Mrs. Carlson reverses into her own role. The roles are now occupied as follows: Mrs. Carlson Auxiliary ego boss Auxiliary ego colleague

plays plays plays

Mrs. Carlson the boss the colleague

Now the role reversal takes place between Mrs. Carlson and her colleague, giving us the desired result (Fig. 5.6): Mrs. Carlson Auxiliary ego boss Auxiliary ego colleague

Fig. 5.5 Wrong position of auxiliary ego

Fig. 5.6 Correct position of auxiliary ego

plays plays plays

the colleague the boss Mrs. Carlson

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It is also important to note that all auxiliary egos ought to be back in their original roles at the end of the play.

5.3.3

Indirect Role Reversal with a Stand-In

Similar confusions, as in the example just described, can arise if role reversal is done carelessly in a constellation with a protagonist, an auxiliary ego, and a stand-in, which embodies the protagonist. Mrs. Carlson stands with the director at the edge of the stage (Mirror); in the scene portraying the conflict between her and her boss, she is represented by a stand-in: Mrs. Carlson Stand-in Auxiliary ego boss

in the mirror position outside plays plays

the scene Mrs. Carlson the boss

In this situation, it may happen that the director wants to bring the protagonist into the role of the boss because, for example, the auxiliary ego needs further specifications and corrections from the protagonist in order to authentically embody the role of the boss. A wrong direct role reversal would result in the following situation: Mrs. Carlson Stand-in Auxiliary ego boss

plays plays is outside

the boss Mrs. Carlson the scene

Using the correct method, first Mrs. Carlson reverses into her own role. The roles are now occupied as follows: Mrs. Carlson Auxiliary ego boss Stand-in

plays plays the role of is outside

Mrs. Carlson the boss the scene

Now the role reversal takes place between Mrs. Carlson and the colleague, giving us the desired result: Mrs. Carlson Auxiliary ego boss Stand-in

plays plays is outside

the boss Mrs. Carlson the scene

The following rule of thumb can help to avoid such confusion on stage in situations with a stand-in: In principle, the stand-in remains in the scene only as long as the protagonist is outside the scene. Once the protagonist returns to her own role, the stand-in must be removed from the scene.

5.3 Role Reversal and Role Change

5.3.4

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Role Change with Auxiliary Objects and Symbols

If the protagonist takes on the role of an auxiliary object or, for example, sits down on an empty chair (Sect. 4.6), one cannot refer to it as role reversal in its true sense. Instead, one would refer to that as role change, role assumption or role taking. In English, however, it is generally spoken of as “role reversal” and not differentiated as role reversal and role change.

5.3.5

Collective Role Reversal

There is no protagonist in the sociodramatic play—all group members play equal roles (e.g. employees from the purchase, sales and development divisions) or subgroups (e.g. offenders, victims). A collective role reversal in such groups, unlike in the protagonist-centered psychodrama, brings each participant into a new role: Those who play the role of the offenders before now become victims and vice versa; buyers become sellers; former salespeople take on the role of a colleague from the development division, and those who previously occupied that role change into the role of buyers. The possibilities of sociodramatic play are described in greater detail in Chap. 7.

5.3.6

Theoretical Background of Role Reversal

Role reversal enables the protagonist to take on the perspective of another person for a few moments on the psychodrama stage. This further allows for the development of deeper empathy for that person. In addition, it opens up the possibility to recognize and change patterns of conflict in relationships […]. In a role reversal, the protagonist not only assumes the role of the other as in a role play, but also the role of the other in relation to themselves and their own role in relation to the other. (Krüger, 1997, p. 164, translation S.P.)

From Moreno’s point of view, the development of roles in children (Sect. 14.3) leads to a split between one’s own self and the outside world, especially the mother, with whom the child exists in undifferentiated symbiosis to begin with. With the help of role reversal, the child can bridge this split at a later stage of role development. The role reversal on the psychodrama stage carries out this function on a more mature level—according to Moreno … role reversal helps in eliminating the split that marks the transition from the first to the second stage in human development, and that presents itself as a split between real experience and imagination. It is experienced again, but not from the first to the third, but at the fourth and fifth stages of role development. This means that the development initiated by differentiating between self and other is not reversed, but strengthened experientially.

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5 Action Techniques in Psychodrama Moreno (…) enabled adults to return, so to speak, to the realm of holistic and real experience, after passing through the stages of self-other distinction or self-object distinction and language development. And he did so without endangering the awareness obtained in this process of development. (Leutz, 1974, p. 48, translation S.P.)

Lousada (1998) supports these thoughts on the workings of role reversal in the context of research on early childhood development. In his important contribution, Krotz shows that the continuous imaginary role reversal with the other person represents an important basis of every interaction process: A continuous interweaving of perspectives is necessary for interaction, because each of the participants must refer to the explanations and interpretations of the other. In psychodrama, this can be understood as ongoing imaginative reversal of roles. The participants have to consistently empathize with one another. They need to observe as well as reconstruct the situation, the facts and also themselves from other’s perspective. In addition, they have to return to their own selves constantly, in order to act as or to relate to the other: to understand what the other means, to understand how individual actions are created, and to check whether they still appear appropriate in their actions oriented to others. (Krotz, 1992, p. 310f, translation S.P.)

From this perspective, the reversal of roles in psychodrama presents itself as a technique which can help in reconstructing, analyzing, and if necessary, creating a new script of the interconnected perspectives underlying each interaction. Krüger (1989, 1997, 2003) has made detailed reflections on the multifaceted psychological backgrounds of role reversal. In his view, this technique is used to remove defenses by identifying with and justifying the opponent. Thus, Krüger sees role reversal as particularly suitable for the treatment of depressive and aggressive clients: Here, role reversal helps bring the protagonist in the expansive role (in our example, in the role of the boss) and results in the protagonist incorporating the opponent’s expansive behavior in their own self (Krüger, 1997). Using this strength, they can now develop and explore possibilities to draw healthier boundaries and protect themselves from others’ demands. In many aspects, role reversal has been closely related to current concepts of systemic therapy and counseling. Role reversal can be considered as “an active form of circular questioning” (Klein, 1989, p. 279, translation S.P.).

5.3.7

Objectives and Rationale of Role Reversal

Role reversal is used in psychodrama to: • Empower the auxiliary ego, the group and the director to empathize with a newly introduced role • Give the auxiliary ego information that they need to enact the role (in particular, answers to questions posed by the protagonist)

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• Increase empathy and understanding of the protagonist for her partners (A must experience how one feels in the role of B) • Give feedback to the protagonist about their own behavior (A must experience how their behavior appears from the role of B) • Explore the meaning of symbols, inner parts, and other symbolic roles • Weaken protagonist’s defenses and resolve deadlocked situations through a change of perspectives, and • Understand the interaction between the roles of the participants and then redesign it (this is particularly helpful, for example, in couples therapy). Role reversal should be avoided or used with caution 1. In persons with a weak ego (e.g. psychotics) 2. In persons with strong negative or fear-inducing roles (e.g. murderer, death) or feared objects (e.g. in phobias) to be exchanged. This contraindication also concerns the role reversal with the offender in therapy with trauma patients.

5.3.8

Recommendations for the Application of Role Reversal

Limits of the application of role reversal depend on the setting and the objectives of the respective director. In the area of adult education, emphasis is usually more on training and cognitive-based reflection. It must therefore be taken into account, for example, that any role reversal—and in particular the change into an antagonist role —leads to a profound experience, that may not correspond with the task at hand. On a purely practical level, in groups unfamiliar with psychodrama, attention must be paid to directing role reversal carefully. This is not only to avoid confusing the participants, but also to avoid resistance. Role reversal should not be used too often as this can tire the protagonist and the auxiliary ego.

5.4

Double

The double technique consists of a group member or the director speaking spontaneously in a short sentence from the role of the protagonist, as their double, alter ego or as a vocalization of their “inner voice.” There is no role reversal, but the double steps in—usually for a short time—sideways behind the protagonist, so that they can observe the protagonist’s reaction. Meanwhile, the protagonist stays in her

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role. The double always speaks in the first person, as if they were the protagonist themselves. This technique is used to support the protagonist emotionally and/or to encourage self-exploration. There are various forms of doubling which can be used to pursue different objectives (for more details, see Leveton 1991). Important The double technique takes advantage of the fact that the audience often identify the protagonist’s feelings and conflicts, for which the protagonist themselves have a “blind spot”; but also that in doubling, the group members can offer new and enriching perspectives to the protagonist because of their different life experiences.

5.4.1

Empathetic/Supportive Double

The double expresses those feelings, thoughts, wishes, etc., which they believe are felt but not expressed by the protagonist. The possible effects of an empathetic/ supportive double are: • The protagonist is supported in becoming aware of their own thoughts and feelings, • The protagonist is offered the support of being understood, • The double may suggest a way to think or act that the protagonist themselves had not thought of before, or • The protagonist is encouraged to try out a new and perhaps unfamiliar or awkward behavior in the safe space of the play.

Examples of empathetic double • “I feel disrespected because my boss does not take my needs seriously. Moreover, I’m also hurt by his tone of voice.” • “I wish my father would praise me once.” • “I’d preferably like to run away now.” • “I feel left alone. My mother never takes care of me.”

5.4.2

The Supportive Double

In addition to doubling short sequences, the director has the opportunity to give the protagonist one or more doubles as alter egos for a longer time (until the entire duration of the play). This can be a double that copies the protagonist’s behavior and encourages them in highly confrontational situations (e.g. a quarrel with the

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father), or even a silent double who simply stays at the protagonist´s side and offers them emotional support. Among other things, the silent double is suited for the protagonist as a support when using confrontational techniques in the play (e.g. mirroring maximization “behind your back”).

5.4.3

Exploratory Double

In this form of doubling, the director steps beside the protagonist and says (in the role of the protagonist) an incomplete sentence such as “I am reacting here because…” or ”I’m feeling…” to encourage the protagonist to explore their own thoughts and feelings. Exploratory doubling may also be an opportunity for the director to gain insight into the unexpressed thoughts and feelings of the protagonist. The exploratory double reformulates an underlying question or a request into the first person, for example, “Why are you reacting like this in this situation?” or “try and become aware of how you are feeling right now,” respectively. Important The advantage of the exploratory double is that the protagonist is not addressed on a rational level, but on the level of an “inner voice,” which directs concentration on their inner experience.

5.4.4

Doubling of Self-observations

This form of doubling technique resembles the exploratory double in its function: A group member or the director directs the protagonist’s attention to striking emotional reactions, gestures and body language that they themselves do not seem to notice. The double should have a descriptive, not an interpretive form—although it is often difficult to describe an observation without interpretation: • “I notice how I always become tense” or • “I appear very calm on the outside, but actually I am trembling with fear.”

5.4.5

Questioning Double

In this form, a statement previously made by the protagonist is questioned in the form of a double, in order to encourage the protagonist to rethink her statement or say what is unsaid: • “I have said I agree with the proposal—but do I really agree?” or • “Do I really feel this way?”

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5.4.6

Strengthening Double

The purpose here is to formulate the protagonist’s expressions more strongly in order to get to the heart of something unclear and to clarify feelings (see example). Example Protagonist: “I like you.” Double: “Not only do I like you, I also need you.” Protagonist: “It’s a shame that the work is still not done.” Double: “I’m angry and disappointed with you for your unreliability.”

5.4.7

Persuasive Double

Here, the double, usually the director, tries to encourage the protagonist to perform a certain action. Petzold demonstrates a persuasive double in the treatment of an 11-year-old girl suffering from canine phobia: I should still try it once. What can possibly happen? Maybe I’ll try one step at a time and then think about the next. Well, that was half as bad. And now I am looking the dog in the eye. It does not growl at all. One more step. I can go back again. Am I such a coward? I’ll still take one more step. (Petzold, 1979, p. 186, translation S.P.)

The way in which the alter ego gives reassurance in persuasive double is similar to how children give themselves courage.

5.4.8

Interpretive Double

The director steps behind the protagonist and offers an interpretation of the protagonist’s behavior in the form of a double: “I am reacting this way, as my boss’s behavior reminds me of the authoritative nature of my husband.” Since the protagonist experiences the interpretation as coming from, so to speak, the “inner perspective” and not as a wise instruction from the outside, it is perhaps easier for them to accept the interpretation. Ultimately, of course, every double contains an interpretation, except for the supportive double, the exploratory double and the prompting double. So the name of the technique here refers more to the fact that the interpretation is stated in a more explicit form.

5.4 Double

5.4.9

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Paradoxical Double

In paradoxical doubling, the director deliberately doubles “wrongly,” i.e. contrary to its actual therapeutic objective, in order to activate the self-regulatory abilities of the protagonist by maximizing the opposing forces. Paradoxical double using Mrs. Carlson and her boss’s example Boss: “I’m not going to let a secretary tell me how to run the company!” Mrs. Carlson: “Sorry, it should not sound like I’m giving you instructions, but …” Boss: “If that did not mean to sound like it, you hid it well.” Double: “Yes, sir, you’re right, I’m a stupid little mouse and should shut up, because the boss is always right.” Mrs. Carlson: “I’m not a mouse at all and this guy is crap who fucks something up daily …” Director: “Then defend yourself …”

Paradoxical interventions work only if they are applied in the right situation and correctly nuanced, otherwise they can easily produce the opposite effect and permanently disrupt the relationship between the protagonist and the double (director or group member). Therefore, one needs to form a stable and trusting relationship with the protagonist from the beginning. This will be used only selectively and then continued with other techniques.

5.4.10 Divided/Multiple Doubles So far, we have described forms of doubling in which one person doubles the protagonist. However, situations may arise in which multiple doubles simultaneously duplicate ambivalent or conflicting inner positions of the protagonist. This is referred to as “divided double” (Blatner, 1996), which is also termed as “multiple double” or “ambivalence doubling” by other authors.

5.4.11 Advisory Double The director can use a variant of the double technique to speed up or intensify the action in groups with inhibitions. When an auxiliary ego forgets its part, omits important core sentences or plays its role expressionlessly and insensitively, the director can “prompt” the missing elements of the role (e.g., text, tone, gestures) to some extent. In doing so, they have to make sure that the double is a support to the participants and not a criticism of the portrayal of the players.

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5.4.12 Theoretical Background of the Double For Moreno, the doubling technique refers back to the first stage of role development in early childhood, in which the child doesn’t experience itself as being different from the environment and the mother (Sect. 14.3). Krüger (1997) sees the doubling technique as a way to counteract defenses such as splitting or introjection: “Doubling re-introduces the secondary process through actions organized in the primary-process. As a result, the protagonist again becomes an independent, self-organizing person with their own will, feeling, perception, and thinking (…). Doubling helps to restore the relationship with oneself” (p. 128, translation S.P.). Lousada (1998, p. 222) considers the double as support in verbalizing preverbal experiences and emotions: “Doubling can unearth the earliest aspects of pre-verbal infancy which have not been weathered successfully: the early need to be held, to survive the fear of disintegration, gain ego strength, separation and bonding.” Leveton (1991) talks about the relationship between the double technique, the family therapeutic concept of “Joining” (Minuchin and Fishman 1981) and the NLP concept of “pacing” (Bandler and Grinder 1975).

5.4.13 Objectives and Rationale of the Doubling Technique The doubling technique is used in psychodrama to • Emotionally support the protagonist and convey to them that others can understand their situation (similar to “sharing,” e.g. empathetic/supportive double); • Encourage the protagonist to explore themselves and become aware of the “blind spots” (e.g. exploratory double); • Explore different parts of the protagonist’s personality (e.g. split/multiple doubles); • Support clients with severe psychological difficulties or in existential crises (supportive double, see Krüger 1997, p. 129); • Provide patients with social anxiety an access to the therapeutic space of the group (see Krüger 1997, p.129); • Break resistance and defenses (e.g. paradoxical double, see also Chap. 17). For example, the empathetic and the questioning double are helpful in the therapy and counseling of adolescents, in overcoming initial mistrust and silence, as Leveton (1991) and Pitzele (1991) have brilliantly illustrated. The double technique should be avoided or used with caution in the case of persons with a weak ego (e.g. psychotics). Binswanger (1977, p. 46f.) cautions against Moreno’s assumption that the double technique corresponds to the identity formation stage in a child’s development:

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The double technique thus begins in the earliest stages of personality development. If a protagonist has gone through these stages more or less successfully, intervention at this level seems to end well and is considered helpful. If this phase of development was traumatizing, relying on the use of the double technique to influence the course of the play is perceived as threatening and must be avoided. (…) The use of the double technique for the purpose of directing the play thus requires a sufficient knowledge of the personality structure of the protagonist. (translation S.P.)

The double technique can be particularly manipulative and invasive. This is the reason why the doubling person should not stand directly behind the protagonist but more sideways, in a position where they can observe the facial reactions of the protagonist, as Zerka Moreno (2013) points out. Contrary to a common practice in many countries, she also recommends not to touch the protagonist while doubling, as this may be experienced as intrusive not only by victims of abuse but also by psychologically stable clients. The use of the double technique therefore requires a stable relationship between director and protagonist.

5.4.14 Recommendations for the Use of the Double The empathetic use of the double technique can give an important boost to the play, bring emotional depth into a rather superficial play, offer relief and support to the protagonist and occasionally trigger a cathartic experience (catharsis). Therefore, doubling is the most intense and significant technique in psychodrama beside the role reversal. The double gives the protagonist the feeling of being understood and makes it easier for them to own unpleasant insights. Finally, the technique also allows those group members, who are not on stage as auxiliary egos, to actively participate in the play. On the other hand, the double technique must be carefully used: it “can weaken defense mechanisms or coping strategies most effectively. Sometimes this can be too quick, and maintain or increase internal psychic fragmentation instead of enhancing integration” (Lousada, 1998, p. 211). Another double-edged aspect of the double technique is certainly its potentially suggestive effect: A double ultimately relies on—despite all the previously mentioned and all subjective convictions of the double—an outsider´s hypothesis, which is to be formulated as an expression of an «inner voice» and in the indicative mode. It is obvious that it is difficult for the client to dismiss these “innermost truths” in a therapeutic situation, due to the social nature of the situation (attributed competence of the director, peer pressure, being insecure about one´s own feelings, etc.). Suggestions have been used for therapeutic purposes since ancient times, nowadays also in systemic therapy and hypnotherapy, but they also act as a gateway for intentional and unintentional manipulations which can harm the client. Repeated doubling by different group members can push the protagonist to succumb to the social pressure of the group (consciously or unconsciously) and accept

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the group’s opinion as self-awareness. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for the director to be aware that all doubles (including his own) are subjective perceptions of the person doubling, not an objective expression of some inner state hidden to the protagonist herself. It is also important to consider that the dynamics of the protagonist´s play is reflected in the relationship between protagonist and director/ group. There are a number of questions frequently asked in relation to the double technique. These are discussed as follows. Is the Director Allowed to Double? Some psychodramatists say that the director should generally not double because the protagonist is “leaderless” at this time. But the double technique can be an important tool for a sensitive and competent director, especially for protagonists who find it difficult to connect with their own emotions. Doubling by the director is therefore not forbidden in our eyes—except with clients with a weak ego—but explicitly recommended. This comes along with the warning to not lose sight of the responsibility to direct. However, it is the director’s responsibility to double when necessary in groups unfamiliar with psychodrama, as the other group members are not yet familiar with the technique or shy away from the self-revelation associated with doubling. Who Can Be Doubled? As a rule, it is only the protagonist who is doubled. In addition to the earlier mentioned possibility of the prompting double, the director can in specific cases also double assumed thoughts and feelings of antagonists, if they believe that doing so will offer the protagonist important insights into their roles. There are two possible “side effects” to consider: • Doubling the antagonist can easily be perceived as confrontational—this can be therapeutically beneficial, but it can also have an adverse impact on the relationship between the director and the protagonist, if their relationship is unstable or the protagonist does not have a strong enough ego. • The director also attracts transference linked to role they double that may possibly require processing later. However, working with the transference— unlike the classical psychoanalytic approach—is usually not considered a useful therapeutic tool in psychodrama. Mostly, the same purpose can be fulfilled by other means, e.g. the director may ask the auxiliary ego (in the role) about their thoughts and feelings, or discuss their own interpretation of the situation in a conversation with the protagonist. When to Double and When Not? The director does not necessarily have to wait for participants to volunteer to double. They can also invite the group members to double. The members often resonate strongly with the play and therefore have instinctual responses and ideas that they want to bring into the play anyway. The director must pay attention to such responses from the group for several reasons:

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1. The group has a co-therapeutic function and can provide enriching inputs in the play. Often a group member, through his or her empathy, brings to light an important point that the protagonist and director hadn’t thought of, and thus gives a new direction to the play. 2. The double assures the protagonist that the group is participating in the play and understanding his or her situation. 3. It is the director’s responsibility to open up possibilities of expression not only for the protagonist, but also other group members. If the director notices that a participant wants to double, they invite him or her with a short signal. Even here, one must take into account: While a double created out of the doubling person’s sensitivity and empathy is enriching, the impulse for doubling can also arise from other motivations (e.g., personal beliefs of the doubling person or the impatience of the group with the “slowness” or “resistance” of the protagonist). If the director feels that the double would interfere with the process of the play or overwhelm the protagonist, they must decline or postpone it. To What Extent Should One Double? “Doubling is like salt: too little is bland and too much is inedible” (Schaller, 2001, p. 45). With the help of the double technique, one can give a significant push to the protagonist’s process of self-reflection, but one must also leave it at this. Too intense, too long or frequent doubling can overwhelm the protagonist and rob them of their sense of ownership. The therapist is a midwife when doubling, i.e. he or she is not required if the child is born spontaneously, or the child can already walk and there is nothing left to give birth to. Therapists often double excessively because they themselves cannot contain the painful or “negative” feelings of the protagonist and feel that they need to help them (see Krüger, 1997, p. 119). Excessive doubling can also unintentionally drain the energy from the action— Krüger (1997) therefore recommends: “Double an action scene only as much as necessary” (p. 120, translation S.P.). To reply to that, focused doubling can help those protagonists—who ward off their own feelings through action—in connecting with their own internal experience. In these cases, longer doubling sequences can have high therapeutic value. How to Introduce the Double in Groups That are Unfamiliar with Psychodrama? The director can explain the purpose of the technique, explain the rules and demonstrate the technical process in long-term psychodrama groups. Alternatively, in a situation where the protagonist needs emotional support or is unclear about her feelings and motives, the director can introduce the technique in a few sentences, double the protagonist themselves for a short while and then invite participants to double (see Example).

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Example Protagonist: “On the one hand, I’m glad if my girlfriend gets along well with her studies, but on the other hand I have such a weird feeling, well, I do not know myself …” Director: “I can well imagine what it must be like for you. I would like to do something new now, if you agree: now instead of talking about where this feeling could be coming from, I’ll just stand behind you and share some ideas, as if I were an inner voice, an invisible part of you, who speaks to you. I suggest that you first listen to your inner voice and then decide for yourself if what the inner voice tells you is true. If not, you can correct it accordingly. Okay?” Director: “It’s great to have such a successful girlfriend, but on the other hand, her success also puts a lot of pressure on me because my grades are not that good. I’m scared that my girlfriend outperforms me and that I’m not a good enough man for her anymore.” Protagonist: “Yes, may be.” Director: “If anyone else has an idea of what could Peter be feeling with his girlfriend being so successful, they can come on stage and speak as Peter’s inner voice, as I did right now. That might make things clearer, and we do not have to sit and talk about it for long. Do you agree, Peter? Remember that you will step behind him and speak as an inner voice in the first person, not about him.”

Needless to say, this invitation to double should only be made if the director feels that the group members really have ideas, motivation and courage to double. This requires a certain level of intimacy and stability in the group. If the group members violate the rules of doubling (e.g. by speaking in the third person instead of the first person)—which is to be expected at the beginning—the director can correct this with the prompting double by specifying the start of the corrected sentence (Double: “I can imagine Peter being jealous too …” - Director: “Me, Peter, I’m also jealous of …”). How to Ensure Consistency of the Double? In doubling, there is always the danger of the double introducing spontaneous actions and interpretations into the role which do not match with the protagonist’s experience. The director is therefore required to check the consistency of the double by asking the protagonist to reject the double if necessary. The demand should be made only after a short pause so as to give the protagonist the opportunity to reconsider the double. Repeated, “persistent” rejection of doubles can be due to two different reasons: • The protagonist defends herself (unconsciously) against the insights she might get from doubling (= interpretation as “resistance”, Chap. 17); • The protagonist defends herself (consciously or unconsciously) against the social pressure exerted by the group to acknowledge inappropriate doubles as self-awareness.

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Both motivations are hardly distinguishable in practice. Regardless of interpretation, no further doubles should be allowed in this situation; if the director interprets this behavior as resistance, she can change the strategy (e.g. use of the mirror technique) to check her hypothesis and, if necessary, to pursue it at another level (Chap. 18). The rejection of doubles by the protagonist should not in any case be regarded as a therapeutic failure, because occasionally it is precisely the doubles that are violently rejected in the beginning that later appear to the protagonist as the most important insight. Should the Double Imitate the Protagonist’s Body Language? This recommendation is widely used in psychodrama. This can make it easier for many participants to feel empathy with the protagonist; often participants (and also directors) experience that adopting the protagonist’s body language helps in developing ideas and insights that they did not have before. On the other hand, it can be helpful, for example, in paradoxical doubling to deliberately adopt a different body language.

5.5

The Mirror Technique

The mirror technique can be used to give the protagonist a new perspective on themselves and their own behavior. When the director decides to use the mirror technique, she interrupts the scene and requests the protagonist to choose an auxiliary ego to represent themselves as stand-in in their own role. The director can also choose the stand-in. The director and the protagonist then step out of the scene to the edge of the stage, from where the protagonist views the scene from the perspective of an (almost) outside observer. The protagonist must distance themselves from his experience in the role; therefore, he views the scene from a position on the edge of the stage. A cloth laid on the floor, a chair or something similar can illustrate the boundary of the stage if necessary. The protagonist can also sit on a chair in order to increase the distance and view the scene from above. Now, the scene is played again, where the stand-in reflects the behavior of the protagonist as true to the original as possible. The mirror technique in psychodrama thus fulfills a function similar to that of a video feedback. However, psychodrama, as described in “Theoretical background of the mirror technique”, goes deeper than a video feedback and also surmounts its possibilities methodologically, since specific aspects of the play can be emphasized. Thus, it can stimulate insight in some (but not all) situations, if players overdraw their roles and make the protagonist laugh at his own behavior. In this context, Leutz (1974) speaks of the possibility to dose the

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“mirror sharpness.” Another important benefit is the possibility to use feedback from the stand-in, who represents the protagonist in the mirror. The director asks the protagonist for his thoughts, feelings, observations and judgments either during or after the scene. If the protagonist has not gained sufficient distance yet, the scene can be replayed or, if necessary, a short intermediate feedback from the roles can be included (Role feedback). If the protagonist has recognized the problem with his behavior, but has not yet found an alternative, it can be helpful if the director speaks to him in the role of a counselor. For example, “What could Ms. Prota do differently in this situation?” If the protagonist cannot think of an alternative to their behavior, then the director can ask other participants or group members. Finally, the protagonist can return to the scene and try out alternative behavioral possibilities. The mirror technique can have a confrontational effect; therefore, it should not be used with protagonists with a lack of self-confidence, unless other interventions (e.g. role reversal) have been unsuccessful. Theoretical Background of the Mirror Technique In his explanation of the workings on the mirror technique, Moreno again refers to his theory of role development in children (Sect. 14.3). Toward the end of the first stage of psychological development, the child begins to differentiate his perception of himself in contrast to the environment. While at first he considers his own reflection to be another child, he now begins to recognize himself in the mirror. The mirror technique in psychodrama makes use of this ability and the insights that it can provide (see Leutz 1974). Psychologically speaking, the mirror technique in psychodrama is much more than just a feedback about one’s own behavior. In psychoanalysis, mirroring—in a slightly different accentuated understanding of the concept—means to relate with other people at an affective level, as expressed, for example, in the eye contact between a mother and a child. Here there are references to the Tele concept and Role reversal. Krüger (1997) sees the mirror function—as it is activated not only in the mirror technique, but also in the role reversal—as a means of reducing defense: 1. Denial: “Mirroring in role reversal and scenic mirroring specifically reduces denial and renders possible a realistic self-perception by allowing the protagonists to perceive the discrepancy between their inner self-image and their real behavior” (Krüger, 1997, p. 157f, translation S.P.); 2. Projection: In the mirror technique, the protagonist can see that the difficulties she attributes to other people in an interaction are also due to her own behavior. To put it in short, the mirror technique brings the protagonist from the emotional involvement of the surplus reality into a more cognitively distanced role. This activates other modes of processing that can also be explained and proven empirically in terms of neuroscience.

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From the point of view of systemic approaches, the mirror technique in psychodrama can be understood in this sense as an implementation of a “second-order observation” which reveals the “blind spot” of first-order observation. Objectives and Rationale of the Mirror Technique The mirror position keeps the protagonist at a distance from herself. Thus, it comes handy, particularly when the protagonist is evidently trapped in rigid, withdrawn or otherwise inappropriate behavioral patterns, but does not seem to notice it. The mirror technique in psychodrama is therefore well suited for processing resistances (Chap. 17). However, the outsider perspective taken in the double does not necessarily create a cold self-distance. Instead, it can also open up a new emotional path to relate with the protagonist´s own self (Moreno would have spoken of “auto-tele”). Kern (2015) summarizes the rationale of the mirror technique as follows: 1. Confrontation with roles that are inaccessible to the protagonist • increases the awareness of displeasing roles • helps in discovering new facets of one’s own personality • assists people with psychological difficulties in better understanding their own behavior, roles and appearance • helps in processing role conflicts. 2. Creating a distance from stressful scenes (e.g., when working with traumatic situations, see Chap. 16) 3. Helping the protagonist to disentangle her emotions 4. Becoming aware of relationships (‘systemic view’, for example, in the constellation work).

5.6

Personification of Metaphors

Psychodrama aims to make the protagonist’s “mental” states externally visible and tangible in accordance with the principle of surplus reality. Accordingly, the director can pay attention to proverbs, metaphors, internal images or other verbal expressions in conversation with the protagonist and translate these into concrete actions as if they were meant literally. In our example, the director could take up Ms. Prota’s remark that she feels “cornered” by her boss and ask players to stand in a corner of the stage and continue playing in that position. For further information on using metaphors in counseling and therapy, we recommend Gordon (1978), and Lakoff and Johnson (1980).

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5.7

Personification of Emotions

The protagonist’s feelings can be personified on stage using the same principle of concretizing abstract states: The protagonist is asked to adopt a physical posture that resembles their feeling toward the partner on stage, for example, a crouched position with a sense of submission or a punching hand in situations characterized by aggression. In addition, the protagonist may be asked to find a sentence that “sums up” the adopted posture and the feeling associated with it.

5.8

Slow Motion

In a psychodrama play, the storyline ideally runs in real time, i.e. in the speed at which the situation in question actually took place or will take place (if it is an imaginary situation). However, synchronous time levels between reality and reproduction on the psychodrama stage are often not possible (e.g., because role reversals slow the flow of action), and often also not desired. Many situations which in reality took place in a few seconds, such as conflict escalations, are to be examined in detail in psychodrama. For this purpose, the director will slow down the action by, for example, giving the protagonist the time to focus on and verbalize the feelings and thoughts that have passed by in a moment. When this slowdown in the flow of action is used as a conscious technique, it is called slow motion.

5.9

Time Lapse

The flow of the action can not only be stretched, but also streamlined. In many cases, this will be done by leaving out unimportant events or periods that occur in between the events of a story line (e.g. the lunch break between the first and second conversation with the boss) but are not the focus of psychodrama. In this way, a conflict that has lasted for a long time in reality can be “compressed” on stage so that it becomes manageable within a psychodrama sequence. Important The technique, which is usually referred to as “time lapse” in the narrower sense, is a maximization technique that can be used to simulate the long-term consequences of the protagonist’s actions. It is used in particular when the protagonist’s behavior seems inflexible and does not appear to be effective. The time-lapse technique can have a very confrontational effect and should be used only when other interventions (e.g. the mirror technique) have failed.

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In our example, the director can come to the conclusion that without a clear conversation between Mrs. Carlson and her boss, the smoldering conflict may eventually poison the working atmosphere in the long run. If Mrs. Carlson insists on her point of view, the director could use the time-lapse technique: Director: “Well, Mrs. Carlson, obviously there is no solution to the conflict with your boss. I would like to know how you would feel when you go back to your office tomorrow. Imagine, it’s the coming Monday, 8 o’clock, you go to the office. • There’s Mr. Ray. How do you welcome him? … How do you feel? … Are you talking about the conflict? … No? Good. • It’s 1 week later, Monday the week after next. You go to your office. How do you welcome Mr. Ray? … 1 month later … 1 year later … 10 years later … ”

After such a time lapse, the protagonist often becomes convinced that her current attitude and behavior is not a permanent solution. However, it may also turn out that a behavior that seems completely dysfunctional to the director (and possibly also the group) turns out to be a useful strategy for the protagonist in time lapse. In this case, the director should not push the protagonist toward a solution that he prefers.

5.10

Maximization

The term maximization refers to the conscious and targeted exaggeration of those moments of a psychodrama play that carry the emotional dynamics of the play. A number of concrete psychodrama techniques can be derived from this abstract principle. There are a number of “standard techniques” that use the principle of maximization (e.g. time lapse), but maximization can be used in so many different situations that understanding the underlying principle is more important than thoroughly knowing a catalog of techniques. Important The maximization is usually used to initiate a cathartic experience by introducing increased resistance. In a play that focuses on a teacher’s assertiveness, the director can instruct all group members to play noisy students; act as an overpowering boss (as in the play of Mrs. Carlson) standing on a chair, etc. The director will then observe how exactly does the protagonist react and ask her about her feelings. For obvious reasons, this type of maximization should be used only in exceptional cases and with the utmost caution in non-therapeutic settings. One can also, of course, maximize supportive factors, where the director allows protagonists with low self-confidence to play their role from an elevated position (e.g., standing on a chair) or gives them a double (Double: the supportive double).

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5 Action Techniques in Psychodrama

The Freezing Technique

In the freezing technique, also called “freeze” or “stop,” the action is interrupted by the director (for the time being) at a certain point without the scene being closed and dismantled. The auxiliary egos remain motionless in their positions, the action is “frozen” as if the DVD player were paused. The director is required to always give a clear instruction and explanation when using this technique. A scene can essentially be frozen for essentially two reasons: 1. The director loses his “thread” and uses the pause created by freezing the action to organize his thoughts; then the scene continues. This technique which is frequently used in training situations, can in principle be used “in the field” as well, if the reasons for interrupting the game are explained to the client. The director’s confusion or feeling overburdened can also be seen as a reflection of disturbances in the process (resistance of the protagonist, confusion of the group, disturbances in the relationship between protagonist and director etc.); the director must assess situations that require freezing based on this diagnostic hypothesis and, depending on the situation, decide whether it makes sense to address the disturbances on the meta-level. 2. The director wants to hold the current situation as a still image before removing the scene in order to talk to the protagonist about the scene. In this case, the scenario is similar to the mirror technique. If the director and the protagonist attribute special symbolic content to certain scenes, then they can be saved as a «memory photo» (Sect. 5.12). In this situation, the freeze technique is well suited as a final intervention for topics that cannot be finished (e.g. due to time constraints) in one session and can be reopened later.

5.12

Other Action Techniques in Psychodrama

Intermediate Sharing Sharing usually takes place in the group setting after the end of the action phase. Each group member shares with the protagonist their own thoughts, feelings and concerns that were triggered by the protagonist’s topic. In addition, they also share similar aspects from their own life. The goal of sharing is to bring the protagonist from the exposed situation in the play back into the group and to show them that they are not the only one with weaknesses shown in the play (a more detailed description of the sharing is given in Sect. 11.2). Even during a play, the director can invite for an intermediate sharing, if the protagonist, in specific cases, needs to be strengthened by the compassion of the group. This is especially the case when the protagonist presents herself as weak and vulnerable, or when the play involves feelings of shame or guilt (to know more about handling such difficult issues as the director (Chap. 16). After the intermediate sharing, the director should ask the protagonist whether or not she can and

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want to continue the play, but if a cathartic experience has already taken place at this point and the topic seems to have been resolved, then the stage can also be closed. Intermediate Feedback from the Auxiliary Egos In role feedback, which, like sharing, follows the action phase, the auxiliary egos provide feedback on how they felt in their roles and how the protagonist’s behavior in this role affected them (Sect. 11.3). A short role feedback is useful during the play in the following situations: • The role feedback is expected to provide the protagonist with the support and empowerment they need. • If the protagonist does not have a good enough sense of the adequacy and impact of their own behavior, the role feedback, for example, can show them that their own behavior contributes to the emergence and maintenance of the conflict addressed on stage. The advantage of the intermediate feedback lies in the fact that the protagonist can still develop and try out alternative behavioral possibilities in the scene. In this context, the intermediate feedback also contributes to the resolution of obstacles and resistances (Chap. 17). • The protagonist explicitly demands for an intermediate feedback: The intermediate feedback can also be given “indirectly” using the “talking sideways” technique (Sect. 5.2)—the director asks the auxiliary egos to share from their roles, how the protagonist’s behavior affected them, as if the protagonist was not in the room and could not hear the feedback. The intermediate feedback does not replace the usual role feedback from the auxiliary ego, given at the end of the play. Intermediate Feedback from the Group Even the “audience” can give the protagonist an intermediate feedback (Example). The play is “frozen” for this purpose (Sect. 5.11); the protagonist can then either sit in the circle for a longer intermediate feedback or receive a short feedback while standing on the stage. Director: “Mrs. Carlson, you are saying that you are unsure about whether your attitude towards your boss is appropriate or too demanding. I suggest that we ask the group how they felt about your attitude. Would that be in your interest? - Then I would ask you to go back in the circle again.” A: “I did not find your behaviour towards the boss too demanding, rather too reserved. I would be driven up the pole in this situation.” B: “I can basically agree with that - but at one point, where you threatened to give notice, I thought to myself: now she’s going too far.” C: “…” Director: “Mrs. Carlson, what do you think about this feedback?”

After the intermediate feedback, the scene continues, if not the purpose of the play is fulfilled with the intermediate feedback, as described earlier under the topic “intermediate sharing.”

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“Turn Your Back” In situations that are embarrassing for the protagonist, the protagonist plays her role for a short while with her back to the group. This reduces the feeling of playing an embarrassing scene in front of the group. “Memory Photo” This technique is borrowed from Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) and can also be used meaningfully in psychodrama. Before dismantling a scene, the director asks the protagonist to switch to the mirror position and gives an instruction in the following manner: “Take a closer look at the scene from a distance. Imagine you are taking a picture of the scene in your mind, which you can take home and keep bringing it out and looking at it. Memorize all the details. (Pause.) Are you ready?” If the protagonist has “saved” the memory photo, the scene can be removed. The memory photo serves as an anchor for the insights gained in the scene, in order to keep them present even after the closing the stage and, if necessary, to bring them back on stage in a later session.

5.13

Summary

The most important action techniques in psychodrama are the role reversal, the double technique and the mirror technique. When reversing roles, the protagonist reverses roles with an auxiliary ego, for example, to gain a deeper understanding of her experience and behavior. In the most common form of doubling, a group member stands behind the protagonist and expresses those thoughts and feelings in the first person that he or she observes in the protagonist but are not expressed by the protagonist. In addition to this so-called empathetic double, there are a number of variants which aim at expanding the protagonist’s perception and/or conveying a sense of being understood. In the mirror technique, the director and the protagonist watch the scene from the edge of the stage, while the group reenacts the scene portrayed by the protagonist. The protagonist can gain new insights, through an exchange of perspectives that were not possible due to a bias toward the situation. In addition to these basic techniques, there are a large number of other techniques that the director can use or modify depending on the situational requirements.

References Bandler, R., & Grinder, J. (1975). Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson. Cupertino: Meta. Binswanger, R. (1977). Die Doppelgängertechnik im Psychodrama: Probleme ihrer Anwendung durch den Spielleiter. Integrative Therapie, 3, 45–48. Blatner, A. (1996). Acting. In Practical applications of psychodramatic methods (3rd. edn.). New York: Springer.

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Gordon, D. (1978). Therapeutic Metaphors: Helping Others through the LookingGlass. Paderborn: Junfermann. Grawe, K. (1995). Grundriß einer Allgemeinen Psychotherapie. Psychotherapeut, 40, 130–145. Kellermann, P. F. (1994). Role reversal in psychodrama. In P. Holmes, M. Karp, & M. Watson (Eds.), Psychodrama since Moreno (pp. 263–279). London: Routledge. Klein, U. (1989). Praktische Kombinationsmöglichkeiten von Psychodrama und Systemischer Therapie. In E. Kösel (Ed.), Persönlichkeitsentwicklung in beruflichen Feldern auf der Grundlage des Psychodramas (pp. 279–283). Freiburg: Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg. Krotz, F. (1992). Interaktion als Perspektivverschränkung. Ein Beitrag zum Verständnis von Rolle und Identität in der Theorie des Psychodramas. Psychodrama, 5(2), 301–324. Krüger, R. T. (1989). Der Rollentausch und seine tiefenpsychologischen Funktionen. Psychodrama, 2(1), 45–67. Krüger, R. T. (1997). Kreative Interaktion. Tiefenpsychologische Theorie und Methoden des klassischen Psychodramas. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Krüger, R. T. (2003). Indikationen und Kontraindikationen für den Rollentausch in der psychodramatischen Psychotherapie. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 2(1), 91– 115. Krüger, R. T. (2013). Die therapeutischen Funktionen und Indikationen des Doppelns. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 12(1), 217–231. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Leutz, G. A. (1974). Das klassische Psychodrama nach J. L. Moreno. Berlin: Springer. Leveton, E. (1991). The use of doubling to counter resistance in family and individual treatment. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 18, 241–249. Leveton, E. (1992). Mut zum Psychodrama (2. Aufl.). Hamburg: iskopress. Lousada, O. (1998). The three-layered cake, butter with everything. In M. Karp, P. Holmes, & K. B. Tauvon (Eds.), The handbook of psychodrama (pp. 205–228). London: Routledge. Minuchin, S., & Fishman, H. C. (1981). Family therapy techniques. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Moreno, J. L. (1959). Gruppenpsychotherapie und Psychodrama: Einleitung in die Theorie und Praxis. Stuttgart: Thieme. Moreno, Z. (2013). Doubling should first be done with the body, not clever words… Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie,12(2), 319–321. Petzold, H. (1979). Psychodrama-Therapie. Theorie, Methoden, Anwendung in der Arbeit mit alten Menschen. Paderborn: Junfermann. Pitzele, P. (1991). Adolescents inside out—Intrapsychic psychodrama. In P. Holmes & M. Karp (Eds.), Psychodrama: Inspiration and technique (pp. 15–31). London: Routledge. Schaller, R. (2001). Das große Rollenspiel-Buch. Grundtechniken, Anwendungsformen, Praxisbeispiele. Weinheim: Beltz. Schützenberger-Ancelin, A. (1979). Psychodrama. Ein Abriß, Erläuterung der Methoden. Stuttgart: Hippokrates. Treadwell, T. W., Stein, S., & Kumar, V. K. (1990). A survey of psychodramatic action and closure techniques. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 43(3), 102– 115.

Chapter 6

Psychodrama in Individual Settings

Group Psychotherapy can sometimes be too threatening [...] many people need the individual experience of “an audience of one” who can witness their story and validate it, before they are ready to tell the story again to a wider group. (Bannister 1998, p. 117)

Psychodrama is primarily known as a group psychotherapy method, due to its historical background and the theoretical foundation laid by Moreno himself. However, psychodrama has widespread applications in individual therapy, counseling and coaching as well. This is often a result of therapeutic indications and/or pragmatic considerations (Overview). Overview Indications and reasons for psychodramatic applications in individual settings • Group settings are not the best choice for all clients and disorders. • Initially, some clients require individual therapy for a limited time before they can engage in a therapy group. • Some clients benefit from complementary individual sessions while in group therapy. • Crisis intervention requires quick assistance; individual sessions are arranged at the beginning, in order to bridge the waiting time until a group space becomes available. • It is not possible for all therapists to have a large enough client base to form a therapy group. • Often, participation in a group is hampered due to organizational difficulties.

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In addition, psychodrama also has applications in ‘classical’ individual settings such as executive coaching (see, e.g., Dummett, 2001). Finally, psychodrama can be an important diagnostic and therapeutic aid during the initial interview, which is how the relationship between client and therapist/counselor often begins. The application of psychodrama in individual work is by no means “second best,” even though its unworthy mention in psychodrama literature suggests so. In fact, with minor modifications, psychodrama can be used in individual settings without any compromise. These modifications are presented below and illustrated with case studies, considering the reader is familiar with the basic elements of psychodrama (Chaps. 2–5).

6.1

Structuring the Warm-up Phase

The warm-up phase is more easily created in psychodrama in individual settings than in groups, since there is no need to combine a variety of individual interests and motivate the group toward a common theme. Often, clients walk in with a specific concern in mind for exploration in their counseling or therapy sessions. In other situations, warm-up techniques such as the social atom, the family board, imaginative exercises, creative activities, dolls, toys, old photos, etc., can be used depending on the nature of work (Chap. 8).

6.2 6.2.1

Structuring the Action Phase Working with Individual Psychodramatic Elements

The most common form of using psychodrama in individual settings is to use individual psychodramatic elements in a methodology which is otherwise based on other non-dramatic methods. For example, a systemic therapist can use role change to explore different perspectives of a family “problem”; a supervisor can use the empty chair to explore various possibilities, etc. Working with individual psychodramatic elements has a number of benefits: • It requires significantly less amount of time when compared to a classic protagonist play; • It has high efficiency in terms of the ratio of effort required (time, force, material) to outcomes (insight);

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• It gradually eases clients, especially those unfamiliar with psychodrama, into the dramatic method, before moving to advanced methods, e.g. monodrama; • It is easy to use individual elements in settings where a classic protagonist play is inappropriate; • It is ‘safe’ for directors who do not have several years of psychodrama training and sufficient experience in working with the complexity of psychodrama.

6.2.2

Monodrama

Monodrama (“psychodrama for a person”) is the same as the protagonist-centered psychodrama presented in the preceding chapters. The only difference is that unlike in group settings, the emerging roles (e.g. siblings, colleagues, emotions such as grief, jealousy, the ‘inner critic’) are not embodied by auxiliary egos, but represented using empty chairs or other symbols instead. In Monodrama, the protagonist plays all the roles herself by constantly switching between the roles. From a methodological point of view, there is no fundamental difference as compared to working in the group, since the roles there are also developed by the protagonist through role reversal or role change. However, the intensity of experience when working with chairs and symbols is not the same as compared to that of working with real auxiliary egos; the same applies to the dynamics that arise when auxiliary egos expand their role following their own intuition. This simply suggests a different way of working with a different focus, and not necessarily a disadvantage. Important In Monodrama, the dynamics of a group as well as its power of suggestion is replaced by the focus on one’s inner self, and an awareness of one’s own thoughts and feelings free from external influences and distractions. Once again we will refer to the case study used in Chap. 1 to demonstrate this form of work in individual settings. In this monodramatic sequence, parts/aspects of the inner self are used to explore the factors that make it easier or more difficult for the client, Mrs. Madison, to reconnect with her sister after a long time.

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6 Psychodrama in Individual Settings Example Monodrama in Psychotherapy Director: “Mrs. Madison, today, as agreed, we will look at what makes it so difficult for you to reconnect with your sister, but also what is positive about your relationship. When did the trouble begin?” Mrs. Madison: “That was many, many years ago. At that time, my sister had met her future husband, I was already married, and my husband and my sister’s husband did not understand each other at all. They both fought like cats and dogs. Every time my sister and her husband visited us, everyone would be in a miserable mood. After a few months, there was a huge conflict.” Director: “I am placing a chair here to represent the conflict between the two men. Could you also choose a symbol from the box that would add to the image of this conflict?” (Mrs. Madison chooses a red cloth.) “Thank you. What are the other difficulties between you and your sister?” Mrs. Madison: “We have had very little to do with each other due to this quarrel between the men. We moved away so that we didn’t have to see each other that often anymore. We have drifted apart since then. My sister does not know anything about me and my life today.” Director: “Well, we’ll take this chair for that. Can you also choose a symbol for ‘My sister does not know anything about me and my life?’ (Mrs. Madison chooses a blank sheet of paper). “Is there any other issue between you both?” Mrs. Madison: “At present, I don’t know…These are the most important points.” Director: “What about the times when you got along with your sister?” Mrs. Madison: “We always got along well in the past. We had a great relationship, until this conflict. We didn’t need to say much to understand each other.” Director: “We’ll take a chair for that as well and you can look for another symbol.” (Mrs. Madison chooses a thin blue rope.) “Please sit down on this chair. Tell me more about what it was like when you got along well.” The director lets the protagonist change into the role represented by the chair in order to experience memory as a resource for a renewed relationship. After exploration, the protagonist changes back to her role. Director: “What else is positive about your relationship?” Mrs. Madison: “Well, there is so little left…” Director: “In the past, did you do anything together when you met each other?” Mrs. Madison: “We have often gone on long walks. Or we cooked together. That was always very nice.” Even this is embodied by a chair and a symbol and explored through role change. The two chairs in the room are now facing each other. Director: “I would like to know what your sister would say on this topic. However, we can not ask directly her at the moment. I therefore ask you to imagine that your sister is sitting on this chair. What’s your sister’s name?” Mrs. Madison: “Jane Spencer.” Director: “Please come over here and introduce yourself. For a moment, you’ll transform into your sister Jane Spencer. How is Jane Spencer? What kind of facial expression does she have?” (Role change) “Mrs. Spencer, please tell me how’s your life at present.” The director briefly interviews Mrs. Madison in the role of her sister in order to warm her up for this role.

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Director: “Mrs. Spencer, you must have gathered that your sister is considering contacting you, and she has highlighted the positives of your relationship on stage: understanding each other and sharing activities such as going for a walk or cooking. What do you think about that?” Mrs. Madison as a sister: “Yes, it’s a pity that we have no contact anymore. It has always been great with her and even today, I need someone who I could talk to.” Director: “Now, there are some things that have not been good in your relationship - the conflict between both your husbands and the long silence between you both. What are your thoughts on that?” Mrs. Madison as a sister: “This conflict was certainly very stressful. But that’s almost 25 years ago. And we had nothing to do with it. It was a matter between the two men. It is actually ridiculous that there is silence between us even today because of that.” Director: “Your sister said you don’t even know about each other’s lives anymore. What do you think about that?” Mrs. Madison as a sister: “Well, I’d like to know how Barbara is feeling at present and what makes her feel that way.” The role change has made it evident that the sister is in favor of resuming contact. Mrs. Madison can now decide to initiate contact with this realization and the reinforced memory of positives aspects of the relationship in mind.

In monodrama, there are two different possibilities with respect to doubling: • The director doubles the protagonist and, if required, the other roles. • The director does not double. The preference for one approach over the other depends on one’s personal belief and leadership style. The question of whether a director should double, and what he should keep in mind when he does, has been further discussed in Sect. 5.4.13. Apart from possible opportunities for doubling, the director continues to remain in his own role (as opposed to the “psychodrama à deux,” which is explained in the following section) to preserve the structural boundaries of the situation: “The therapist is the client’s only connection with reality. He should be aware of this important function at all times, and never fully enter the play” (Weth, 1985, p. 92, translation S.P.).

6.2.3

Psychodrama à Deux

Just like monodrama, psychodrama à deux—“psychodrama for two”—can be regarded as a slightly modified version of the protagonist-centered work in the group. The difference here is that director does take on auxiliary ego roles as and when needed.

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The director switches between the following roles: • • • • • • •

Co-therapist, Leader, Double, Antagonist, Other auxiliary ego roles, Stand-in and Mirror for the protagonist

As a result, this variant requires a lot of competence, flexibility and control from the leader: They must be able to play the necessary auxiliary ego roles quite convincingly, as well as maintain an oversight as the director, without losing empathy for the client.

6.2.4

Autodrama

In addition to these two commonly practiced forms of psychodrama in individual settings, a third variant is described in literature but seldom found in practice: Autodrama (“Self-Psychodrama”). In autodrama, the protagonist herself takes over all the roles, including the role of director (!). The protagonist directs herself, the director sits as a spectator and intervenes only when necessary. One advantage of this approach is that the enactment is solely based on the client’s reality, without any influences from the director or the auxiliary egos. The concept of autodrama describes an extreme that one never or only rarely reaches. This does not mean that one cannot not use generally autodrama. The following are some of the plausible applications: • Psychodrama with children: Some of the concepts in psychodrama with children have autodramatic character to some extent; • Working with resistance: One way to process resistance is to reverse roles between the protagonist and the director, in a way that the protagonist directs herself (Chap. 17); • Clients with serious authority issues; • Working with clients who are very familiar with psychodrama.

6.3

Structuring the Integration Phase

As discussed in Sect. 11.1, the integration phase facilitates the gradual transition from the surplus reality of the play to the reality of everyday life. In group settings, the group offers support and feedback to the protagonist. In individual settings, the director must fulfill these functions (see Overview).

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Overview Steps in structuring the integration phase 1. The director asks the protagonist about her impressions, thoughts and feelings immediately after the end of the play. 2. The director offers strength to the protagonist through her compassion. The extent of self-disclosure in the context of a “sharing” depends on her own self-image and her relationship to the client; in any case, the director’s compassion ought to be authentic but selective, i.e. if she does disclose aspects of her personal life, it should be carefully deliberated (selective authenticity). 3. If the director has taken on auxiliary roles in the play (psychodrama à deux), she can give a (sensitive!) feedback from the perspective of her respective roles, similar to the procedure in group settings. In addition, she is also asked to give a personal feedback. 4. This role feedback can be followed by an identification feedback. Even her, the director‘s feedback will always be selective—her critical feedback can quickly become confrontational, which is required in some cases, but mostly unwanted.

In group settings, the transition from the surplus reality of the play to the reality of life is highlighted by the fact that the protagonist leaves the stage and goes back to sit in the group circle. This return to the group serves as a kind of “anchor of reality”; this ensures that the client is not arrested in the enactment. This function of the group is missing in individual settings—therefore, the leader has to make sure that the client “comes back to reality” through a clear address. This is especially true when working with imagination, time travel or other hypnoid states, or when the client exhibits psychotic features.

6.4

Summary

There are three different ways of working with psychodrama in individual settings: Monodrama, in which the client takes on all the roles herself during role change, Psychodrama à deux, in which the director can take over auxiliary roles, and Autodrama in which the client constructs/structures most of the enactment herself without the involvement of the director. In addition, individual psychodramatic elements (e.g. role change, empty chair) can be selectively used, for example, in talk therapy.

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References Bannister, A. (1998). The group. In M. Karp, P. Holmes & K. Bradshaw Tauvon, (Eds.), The Handbook of Psychodrama (pp. 109–127). London: Routledge. Dummett, P. (2001). Using action methods for executive coaching and professional development. British Journal of Psychodrama & Sociodrama, 16, 37–45. Weth, E.-J. (1985). Monodrama mit Studenten. Integrative Therapie, 11, 75–96.

Chapter 7

Psychodramatic Work in Groups: Sociodrama

In a psychodramatic session, the attention of the director and his staff are centered upon the individual and his private problems (…). Even the so-called group approach in psychodrama is in the deeper sense individual-centered. (…) the aim of the director is to reach every individual in his own sphere, separated from the other (…). There is a limit therefore, as to how far the psychodramatic method can go in fact-finding and solving interpersonal conflicts. The collective causes cannot be dealt with except in their subjectified form (…). A special form of psychodrama was necessary which would focus its dramatic eye upon the collective factors. This is the way sociodrama was born. The true subject of a sociodrama in the group. (…). Sociodrama is based upon the tacit assumption that the group formed by the audience is already organised by the social and cultural roles which in some degree all the carriers of the culture share. It is therefore incidental who the individuals are, or of whom the group is composed, or how large their number is. It is the group as a whole which has to be put upon the stage to work out its problem, because the group in sociodrama corresponds to the individual in psychodrama. (Moreno, 1972, p. 352 ff.)

While in psychodrama the subjective reality of the protagonist is explored through action (psyche = soul, drama = action), sociodrama is an instrument for the representation, analysis and change of social reality (lat. socius = comrade, friend, ally, associate or partner). The numerous variants of sociodramatic methods thus open up the possibility of addressing group structures, dynamics and cultures (even larger social contexts) within the psychodramatic universe. Thus, sociodrama is predestined for fields such as team development and team supervision, conflict moderation, political education or group psychotherapy. Moreno was interested not only in the individual, but also in the social context that surrounds him and is connected to him intrinsically—this is explained further in Sect. 14.2. In this respect, it was only natural for Moreno to also address the structure and dynamics of groups, the influence of society on the individual, ethnic conflicts and so on. It is obvious that a protagonist-centered approach is © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_7

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inappropriate for such issues. Therefore, Moreno and later-generation psychodramatists developed sociodrama, which encompasses a whole set of methodological possibilities for working with issues in a group. The differences between sociodrama and protagonist-centered psychodrama lie in the focus of the intervention: The focus of sociodrama is no longer on the individual, but a theme (topic-centered), structures and processes of the group (group-centered) or a socially relevant phenomenon (sociocultural sociodrama). Sociodrama is therefore concerned with a collective theme, which, however, is always reflected back onto its relation with the individual participant. Moreno and Moreno (1969, p. 270) wrote: Psychodrama deals with a problem in which a single individual or a group of individuals are privately involved. Whereas sociodrama deals with problems in which the collective aspect of the problem is put in the foreground, the individual’s private relation is put in the background. The two cannot, of course, be neatly separated.

Or, as mentioned elsewhere: “But as soon as the individuals are treated as collective representatives of community roles and the role relations and not as to their private roles and role relations, the psychodrama turns into […] sociodrama” (Moreno, 1972, p. 325). In addition, the roles of every individual member as well as the form and extent of their involvement in the play also changes. The differentiation of roles into the protagonist, the auxiliary ego or the spectator is typical of the protagonist-centered work. It is, however, dissolved in the type of work described here: Each group member should—at least in principle—be equally involved in the play. Each one is a protagonist. Even the role of the director changes: In a largely self-directed group, the director is primarily present to set the momentum and observe the process. Sociodrama often uses model scenarios, for example, the group stages a parliamentary session. The connection between these scenarios and the participants’ reality is often reflected after the play. Sociodramatic work should not be mistaken for harmless “interactive games.” It can become very intense, as it is always a scenic representation of the group’s reality. If one introduces the group to “dense topics” too early in the process, there is a chance that the participants will engage with the methodology only at a superficial level or may even refuse to participate. Sociodrama is therefore never introduced at the beginning of a seminar or workshop, but requires a longer warm-up. The director must create the necessary conditions for participants to open up at the individual and group levels before the actual sociodramatic action begins, especially in groups with a high level of “resistance” (e.g. when dealing with conflicts within the group using group-centered plays).

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Important Sociodramatic work requires cohesion and trust within the group - there is a risk of “resistance” if one overloads the group!

Sociodramatic interventions can be planned as an integral part of the process even before the actual work with the client begins. One then chooses a warm-up activity which leads to the topic to be processed, for example, when students stage a parliamentary debate based on a series of lessons on the history and foundations of democracy in the topic-centered play. In open structured settings, the decision to conduct a sociodrama can also be made during the working process, if the group shows a common interest in a topic (topic-centered play), a group conflict (group-centered play) or a social dimension of a topic relevant to the group (sociocultural sociodrama). Sociodrama often plays only a secondary role in psychodramatic literature. There are many different ways to define the term and several different concepts for working with the sociodrama. We will use the term sociodrama to describe all types of psychodramatic work in groups.

7.1

An Overview of Different Types of Sociodrama

Topic-Centered Sociodrama Topic-centered sociodrama is used in theme-based situations (e.g. in the classroom, in further education or in team supervision) in order to simulate and examine a specific topic with action methods. The intensive and experiential analysis enables the group to not only explore the topic on a cognitive level, but also to establish, recognize and use personal references in relation to the topic. The topic-centered sociodrama can rely on scenic images (see case study) in its methodical design, but also use other arrangements. This type of sociodrama is described in detail in Sect. 6.2. Example Further education seminar for relatives of senile dementia patients After a thorough warm-up with an introductory round and a short lecture on senile dementia, the participants are given the task of working in small groups to create scenic images that illustrate their current interaction with patients with dementia. These images are presented on the seminar stage and analyzed together. The realization that they all face

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7 Psychodramatic Work in Groups: Sociodrama similar difficulties in relating with their relatives with dementia is a huge relief for all the participants. On the other hand, the discussion about the scenic images also reveals the different strategies that participants use in dealing with their relatives as well as their own emotions. Following this, the seminar group goes on to devise various strategies systematically and puts them to test through role plays.

Group-Centered Sociodrama In a group-centered sociodrama, the group’s focus is on exploring its own dynamics and not any specific topic. The goal is to recognize strong patterns of interaction and role attributions, to reflect on the group culture and process conflicts within the group. Example Team Development The staff team of an educational institution has come together in a workshop to reflect on the roles different team members play in working together, and how the interaction of individual roles “works” in the team. The participants are given the task of taking on the roles of bank robbers and planning and executing a bank robbery together in a group-centered impromptu play. The team discusses the following questions, in the ensuing reflection phase: • Who took which role and why? • To what extent does each individual’s role in the impromptu play match his role in the reality of everyday life? • Which role behavior was beneficial, and which was more of a hindrance? • Which roles were over-represented, and which important roles remained unoccupied (e.g. there were many drivers for the escape car, but nobody who could unlock the vault)? • How was the overall interaction of roles? This play is described in detail in Sect. 7.3.3.

Sociocultural Sociodrama In a sociocultural sociodrama, a socially relevant topic (e.g. juvenile delinquency) is simulated with the help of an impromptu play. The dynamics between different actors relevant to the topic in question (embodied by the participants) can unfurl freely in this play. The analysis of the dynamics in the play helps understand the dynamics in reality, and the experience of the participants in the roles is used to initiate reflections on one’s own connection to the topic. Sociocultural sociodrama finds applications in political education, supervision, organizational development and other fields.

7.1 An Overview of Different Types of Sociodrama

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Example Resignation of a politician shortly before the start of the psychodrama training group Before the start of a weekend seminar in a continuing psychodrama training group in Germany, it is announced that Oskar Lafontaine (then SPD chairman and Federal Finance Minister) has resigned and retired to his private life without any explanation. The topic is so dominant in the introductory round that the director suggests a sociodrama. The participants take on the roles of media representatives, SPD party board, TV viewers and Oskar Lafontaine himself; the resulting dynamic depicts the development of the weeks and months following the training weekend in a rather realistic manner. The ensuing discussion highlights various aspects of our “media democracy,” but above all, a group catharsis has taken place, which will allow the training weekend to continue as planned.

Furthermore, the psychodrama literature also has occasional references to axiodrama. Moreno coined this term to describe an action or a way of life characterized by the values of encounter and the assumption of responsibility for the world around us—and ultimately for the entire cosmos. In his understanding, axiodrama is a synthesis of psychodrama and the study of values (axiology) (Moreno, 1948, p. 357). Axiodramas can take place in two forms: Firstly, every psychodrama, which initiates, develops and practices love, charity, compassion and sympathy, happiness, joy and responsibility using psychodramatic methods, assumes the character of an axiodrama. The ultimate axiodrama, however, does not take place in the seclusion of a stage, but in reality itself. For example, the life of Mahatma Gandhi, one of Moreno’s great role models, is an exemplary study of ethics and universal values.

7.2

Topic-Centered Sociodrama

Important Topic-centered play is focused on the development of a topic which is relevant to the group members; usually with a didactic or pedagogical objective in the foreground. “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand”—modern research in education has confirmed Confucius’ ancient wisdom. Learning processes are more effective and long-lasting if the learners are involved as actively as possible with all their senses. Topic-centered sociodrama uses this knowledge to make learning action-oriented and experience-oriented. Knowledge content can be presented in a scenic manner during teaching and

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training in order to intensify the learning process and create personal “involvement” (see case study “Further education seminar” in Sect. 7.1). Topic-centered sociodrama can be used in the field of social learning to process and rectify individual behavior patterns in conflict and other interactive situations, as illustrated by Creekmore and Madan (1981) in the example of therapy for adolescents with behavioral problems. In professional training, topic-centered sociodrama can be used, for example, to shed light on how employees deal with a common issue, such as stress at work. This can help in the development of quality measures and solutions to other operational problem (see case study “educational day”). Topic-centered sociodrama often uses scenic imagery (below), as well as constellations, sculptures and protagonist-centered work. These scenic design elements can be alternated with presentations by the director, thematic work in small groups, group discussions, etc. A rather well-known form of sociodrama is bibliodrama, which can be regarded as a variant of the topic-centered play. Here, participants enact scenes from the Bible, usually in connection with an intensive study of the corresponding Bible passages. The goal is to gain not only a profound understanding of the biblical texts, but also of course a spiritual experience. The same principle can be applied to spiritual text from other religions. Scenic Imagery in Topic-Centered Sociodrama Scenic images are scenic representations created by a small group to make a certain aspect of the topic tangible for the group (Sect. 4.9). They are based on a small “script” written by the small group, which describes the roles and the rough course of action. The dynamic of the depicted situation is much more vividly expressed in the scenic representation than in a purely verbal description. Example Educational day with the staff of a secondary school The staff of a secondary school would like to discuss aspects of the school culture as part of an educational day. To begin with, eight presentation boards are distributed across the room, each of which is titled with an aspect of the school culture (e.g. parent work, pedagogical values). The participants walk back and forth between the boards and write their associations to every aspect on the corresponding sheet of paper. After reviewing the results, the director asks the participants to choose the topic they wish to explore on that day. The two topics that have received the highest number of votes are selected, one of them being “school culture.” The group that works on this topic is given the task of developing a scene that presents a striking image to depict the current state (real image). Another scene is to show how the group wishes the school culture to be by creating an ideal image. The images cause great dismay, and disagreement. The different points of view are presented in great detail in a discussion moderated by the director. A collective exchange of roles between representatives of different opinions deepens mutual understanding, before reaching a final conclusion on the concrete measures and arrangements required to improve the school culture.

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Before the group takes up the task, the director should give clear and detailed instructions regarding the objective of the given task and the time available for the same (see Example). Example “This morning, we will address your school culture. I would like to gain an insight into your culture so that I understand what we are talking about. One way to do this is I will ask you questions about certain aspects of your school culture and you will answer them, but then I think we’ll be talking a lot and that would be pretty tiring. Moreover, I believe that one gets a real impression of a culture only by experiencing the culture - think of your last trip abroad and you will agree with me. I could also come to you and see what your work routine looks like. Since this is not possible today, we will do it the other way around and bring your everyday life and culture here. I would like to see you perform a few short scenes, much like small film clips that illustrate some of the core elements of your school culture. You will present these scenes here on the seminar stage. You have plenty of time 45 min - to prepare these scenes by writing a short “script”. The scene should be designed such that you can say: when Mr. Ralph sees this scene, he will become familiar with a significant aspect of our school culture. If you have any questions or difficulties developing the script, you can always speak to me. As I said, you have 45 min to prepare, and the presentation of the scene itself should take no longer than 5 min later. Do you have any more questions?”

It is important that the participants return to the plenary prepared enough to introduce the scene with dialogues. Still images with a mere explanation remain dull. 30–45 min is appropriate enough for the detailed preparation of a 5-min scene. Groups that are very dynamic and experienced with action methods are sometimes ready within 10–15 min, whereas the time required increases in case of complex issues and disputes within the group. On the other hand, allowing for too much time can lead to an overly intellectual approach. Important It takes a lot of time for the group actions to develop - therefore provide enough time! After the presentation, the other participants are first asked about their thoughts and feelings in response to the scene, and what are their initial interpretations. Only then does the group that has worked out the image explain the thought behind its implementation and what they intended to express. This leads to a joint discussion on what does the image or the sculpture say about the reality. Thus, scenic images on the topic “scenes of our school culture” can provide a reason to reflect on the

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question—how does one relate to each other in school every day and which norms, habits and structural problems make it difficult to work collaboratively. The scenic image can be an action in itself, but also a warming-up activity, for example, for an ensuing impromptu play.

7.3

Group-Centered Sociodrama

Important In a group-centered play, the focus is on the socioemotional structures and processes of the group. Group-centered sociodramas are great for team development, group supervision, as well as family therapy as they expand the reflection on group culture from a cognitive level to that of action. In addition, group-centered sociodrama is not only a means of making group culture visible, but also an intervention to form and change its own culture. Some of the possible goals of a group-centered play, among others, are reflecting on the role structure of the group, processing group conflicts, improving cooperation, integrating outsiders or addressing group norms. There is a multitude of possibilities for the methodical design of a group-centered sociodrama—as in the topic-centered sociodrama. The director’s challenge is to find an arrangement that makes the (invisible) processes within a group visible, tangible and changeable in psychodramatic surplus reality.

7.3.1

Action Sociometry in Group-Centered Sociodrama

(Action) sociometric techniques (Sects. 3.2 and 15.3) are an important tool in the context of group-centered sociodrama. The following case study (from Sternberg & Garcia, 1989) illustrates how the latent criterion of “sense of belonging to the group” can be visualized using action sociometry. Example Proximity and distance in the group/group members The aim of the intervention is to strengthen marginalized group members, integrate them better and promote group cohesion. For this purpose, the group members position themselves on an imaginary scale (whose two ends are, e.g., represented by two chairs) in the room, which depicts the continuum “inside the group/outside the group.” The director

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then asks those participants who have moved to the “outside” position: “How do you feel about belonging to a group”? What do you need to move from the “outside” to “halfway inside”? The participants’ responses are the starting point for a discussion with the entire group on group climate, trust, acceptance, etc. In doing so, the “outside” participants can already try to take the first steps in moving “inside”, but they may also take a step back if they feel that the group is still not supporting them enough to move “inside.”

The following example from our practice shows another of many possibilities to work with action sociometry in a group-centered intervention. We have used collective role reversal (Sect. 5.3.5) in this example. It is one of the most important techniques of group-centered sociodrama because it not only helps reveal group conflicts, but also promotes empathy and a mutual exchange of perspectives. Example Reflection on group norms in a continuous therapy/self-experience group There has been tension in the group for some sessions now: Some participants who participate by bringing in deep personal issues are accusing the more reserved group members of not expressing themselves and thus blocking the group process. The director decides to intervene using a group-centered action to process this tension. The participants position themselves along a continuum symbolized by a rope (it is also possible to use two empty chairs, two symbols, etc.). The two extremes of this continuum are defined by the opinions “To participate in this group, it is necessary for one to talk about all personal issues” and “Each one can decide for themselves whether and how much of their story do they wish to share.” After a brief exchange of arguments, the director suggests a collective role reversal between the representatives of both opinions in order to promote mutual understanding. Back in the starting position, the participants articulate what they need from the group in order to be able to open up more in the future or how they can learn to better accept the self-preserving and reserved behavior of other participants.

7.3.2

Systemic Constellations in Group-Centered Sociodrama

Systemic constellations highlight disturbances and conflicts in a group through psychodramatic surplus reality, where the members position themselves in the room in such a way it creates a metaphorical image of the structures and dynamics of the group. Unlike classical psychodrama, systemic approaches do deliberately omit the situational context of the scene as well as the linguistic interaction between the protagonist and the other players. The basics of working with systemic constellations have already been described in Sect. 4.7. In the “classical” approach, a member of the group presents a system (e.g. an organization, a family, a couple relationship) from his point of view, where the other group members are not part of the system. If the members of this system are present in the session, the approach needs to be modified. The focus shifts from exploring the individual’s reality to the sociodramatic exploration of the group’s reality.

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Sequential Systemic Constellations An individual member presents their view—as a “builder”—of the relationship structures within the group (couple, family …). The remaining participants are invited to make themselves available as “building material,” even if their position in the formation doesn’t correspond to their own perception. The other group or family members will then be given the opportunity to further design their own constellations which will then be compared with one another. In order to prevent the different points of view from mutually influencing and distorting one another, one can ask the participants to sketch their perception on paper before the first setup. If there are more than five participants, one can form small groups, and each group can design a collaborative setup. Example Sequential constellations in couple therapy 1. Client A designs a setup based on her perception of the couple relationship, where she assigns a position to client B and uses the therapist as a stand-in for herself. 2. Client A looks at the setup from outside and suggests corrections if necessary. 3. Client A takes her position in the setup and experiences it from the “inside.” 4. As a stand-in, the therapist assumes the role and attitude of client B so that client B can view the setup from the outside. 5. Client B goes back to his position in the setup. 6. Both clients are asked to spend a while noticing their own sensations, feelings, and thoughts which were triggered by the setup. 7. The setup is dissolved; this is followed by a round of feedback.

Simultaneous Systemic Constellations All participants position themselves together at the same time, the setup is changed until a coherent picture emerges. This can involve a lengthy process of coordination: For example, if person A takes a step back to stand at a comfortable distance from person B, the setup may no longer feel “correct” for person C; but if C changes position, it may contradict person A’s perception, etc. This difficulty in agreeing to a perception of group reality is equivalent to uncovering and reconciling with different realities that one seeks in therapy or counseling. In this respect, the process here is just as important as the result. Systemic Constellations from the Perspective of the Therapist or Counselor Finally, the counselor or the therapist may present his or her perception of the relationships between the group members, spouses or family members, to provide feedback to the clients.

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7.3.3

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The Impromptu Play (Stegreifspiel) in Group-Centered Sociodrama

The impromptu play (Stegreifspiel) is another “classic” arrangement for group-centered work. Similar to the design possibilities described above, the impromptu play uses surplus reality to mirror the group’s reality. In doing so, however, it uses a methodical “trick”: Instead of addressing the controversial dynamics of the group as real-life problems, they are projected onto a seemingly realistic and personally distant pleasurable play scenario (e.g. a group trip to the Amazon) in the action phase. The participants do not—like, for example, in group-oriented constellation work—act in their own roles, but take on the roles specified by the scenario (in the above example—as members of the travel group). The play is analyzed for possible parallels with the participants’ reality only in the subsequent reflection phase. The working hypothesis here is that the impromptu play gives rise to structures and dynamics that are analogous to those in reality even without the conscious involvement of the participants. According to this assumption, team conflicts, rigid role assignments, lack of cooperation, low cohesion, and other disturbances that became apparent during the play, reflect the disturbances in the group. Important Working hypothesis of the group-centered impromptu play: The impromptu play is a metaphorical representation of the group’s reality. The fact that impromptu play “works” according to this theory is proven in practice by numerous empirical studies (besides, problem-solving tasks in outdoor training, which have many parallels with group-centered sociodrama, are also based on the same self-generating metaphorical dynamics). In the following example, we explain a possible way of working in group-centered sociodrama using impromptu play as part of a team development activity. Example Team development The staff team of an educational institution has come together in a workshop to reflect on the roles different team members play in working together, and how the interaction of individual roles “works” in the team. The participants are given the task of taking on the roles of bank robbers and planning and executing a bank robbery together in a group-centered impromptu play. The team discusses the following questions, in the ensuing reflection phase:

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7 Psychodramatic Work in Groups: Sociodrama • Who took which role and why? • To what extent does each individual’s role in the impromptu play match his role in the reality of everyday life? • Which role behavior was beneficial, and which was more of a hindrance? • Which roles were over-represented, and which important roles remained unoccupied (e.g. there were many drivers for the escape car, but nobody who could unlock the vault)? • How was the overall interaction of roles?

Step 1: Choosing a Suitable Scenario Choosing a scenario (a bank robbery as in our case) is certainly the most difficult and significant decision to be made in planning and executing group actions. There is no ready-made formula on how to derive at a suitable scenario from a given objective. The scenario can be chosen beforehand or together with the group. Step 2: Role Allocation The next step is to work together with the entire group in picking the necessary roles for the scenario. In this phase, the director is clearly confined to the moderator role—he hardly interferes with the group’s decisions, even if the group leaves out some important roles. In doing so, the director opens up the possibility of analyzing the group’s relatively uninfluenced decision-making process, after the play: How is it that we had 15 strategists for the bank robbery, but no one who broke open the vault? Is this role allocation characteristic of our group in reality? Once all the necessary roles have been picked, they are distributed among the participants. There are different ways of doing this: • Each participant takes on the role that suits them best. • The roles are assigned by sociometric group decision: The group chooses a specific person for a role based on the number of votes they receive. • In therapeutic contexts, there is also the possibility to assign “counter-roles” to the participants (so that, for example, in a fairy-tale play a gentle child plays the role of Cinderella’s evil stepmother, a rather inhibited girl plays the role of the frog from the frog king or the Rumpelstiltskin). Step 3: Structuring the Course of Action Before the participants take on their roles, the director explains his role as well as the rules of the play. For example, there will be chairs available on the edge of the stage for those who do not have a role for the moment or are not involved in the scene in question. Whether a reversal of roles should be allowed during the play depends on the objective of the play. The group along with the director can agree on a signal (e.g. the ringing of a bell or a gong beat), following which all actions will be frozen or continue in slow motion after a corresponding announcement. In this way, the director can intervene when the risk of the play “getting out of hand” arises due to the surge in emotions.

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Step 4: Setting Up the Stage A basic stage setup is required even in the case of impromptu plays. In some situations, it may be sufficient to put a table and a few chairs on the stage, whereas in other cases one can leave the stage setup to the group. If the action takes place in different locations (e.g. bank robbery gang’s hideout, the street in front of the bank, the vault room), different parts of the stage must be designated and clearly marked for these locations before the play begins. For further explanations on the setting up the stage, refer to Sect. 10.6. Step 5: Warming-Up the Participants All participants should have the opportunity to warm up to their role by themselves for a few minutes. The director can support this process of warming-up for the chosen role with questions such as: “How old am I in my new role? How do I look? What do I do for a living? What are my hobbies?” Important A thorough warm up of the participants is the most important prerequisite for an intense and realistic experience of the play. Step 6: Initial Interview In the case of plays that require a high degree of identification with the role and coordination between the participants, it is useful to briefly interview all participants in their role at the start of the action phase. In the “bank robbery play” mentioned above, one could ask questions such as: • “Have you ever robbed a bank before?” • “What role do you play in this coup?” • “What will you do with the robbed money?” This gives participants necessary information about the other roles while simultaneously helping them warm up for their own role. At this point, one must also explore the relationships between the different roles: • “As a vault cracker, what’s your opinion of the gang leader?” • “As the first one to keep watch, how will you work together with your partner?” In other plays (e.g. the following case study of working with the school class), this interview should take place only after the play has begun, so that the cognitive discourse does not “thwart” participants’ motivation. Step 7: Planning the Joint Action In the “bank robbery” scenario, the group receives a task from the director to jointly plan the bank robbery. The participants enact their chosen roles. This process is useful if the idea is to analyze the group’s competence with regard to joint planning and implementation (e.g. in an organizational development process or a project management workshop). It is then possible, in the evaluation phase, to scrutinize the weak spots in the planning and explain why the objectives remained unfulfilled.

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In other contexts, this planning phase is foregone, so as not to influence the spontaneity of the action. Step 8: Free Interaction The play develops freely in the actual action phase. The spontaneous actions and reactions of the players continue to fuel the action. The director does not act as a driver, but a catalyst for the largely freely evolving group action. Impromptu plays have a tendency to quickly become confusing because of the involvement of many actors. The director should therefore interview the participants in their roles at intervals. As a result, all those involved gain an overview of the parallel developments. In order to do this interview, it is necessary to freeze the action. However, one must also wrap it up quickly, so that the dynamics of the play are not disrupted. In order to set targeted impulses for the facilitation and direction of the group action, which otherwise takes place without the intervention of a director, the director can use the psychodramatic action techniques described in Chap. 5, especially the interview, the time-lapse (to speed up the process and to highlight the significant stages of the process) and the maximization technique (to enhance the dynamics of the play, e.g., by announcing that the police will be arriving in front of the bank building in two minutes). Step 9: Integration Phase The participants sit down in a circle and share their experience of the play and the other roles from the perspective of their own role. The director should make sure that they don’t reach the meta-level too soon and, if necessary, take appropriate corrective action, for example: “You have started interpreting already. I would like you to stick to sharing how you felt in the play in the role of the boss/bank robber etc., and put aside the interpretation for the moment, otherwise we will move to the abstract level too soon.” Step 10: Evaluation In the evaluation phase, the surplus level of the play is connected to reality. This raises the question of whether the impromptu play brought out interaction dynamics, role patterns, group norms, conflicts, coordination problems or behavioral patterns of individuals, which are also reflected in reality. For example, the bank robbery gang discovers that the lack of contact and isolation between the participants in the impromptu play, reflects the team’s “lone warrior” spirit in their day-to-day work. Often the participants are themselves surprised by such discoveries. Group-Centered Impromptu Plays in Other Areas of Work Impromptu plays require the participants to bring in enthusiasm (in psychodrama terms: “action hunger”) and maintain the suspense throughout. They are an excellent fit for working with children, as they take advantage of their zestfulness and in doing so, the play already becomes therapeutic (this is demonstrated in the following case study). An impromptu play can promote awareness and at the same

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time feel relaxing in all other contexts in which the participants are highly self-motivated (e.g., in professional training). Example Working with group-dynamic structures in a school class There has been a significant rise in the tension between boys and girls, subgroup formation, and marginalization of outsiders in the 8th grade of a secondary school. The teacher wants to introduce a group-centered intervention as the first step toward initiating movement on the rigid fronts. The starting point of William Golding’s novel “Lord of the flies” is the decided scenario for the impromptu play. The teacher describes the scenario which is then enacted by the students in the classroom: After a shipwreck, the school class lands on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean. They now have to survive without any external support. The boys enthusiastically build huts (using chairs) while the girls gather fruits and prepare food. During the impromptu play and the ensuing discussion, it becomes clear that there is almost no cooperation between the boys and the girls, and that all the good ideas from the outside are thrown away. At the end of the play, the whole class along with the teacher thinks collectively on how they can work together better in the future, what the boys and the girls expect from each other, and how can the outsiders be better integrated.

The work with fairy tales is a popular form of group-centered work in working with children, as well as in personal development groups with adults (Sect. 4.17; Flynn, 2002). Not only is the play based on fairy-tales a lot of fun, but it also provides an excellent opportunity to combine opportunities for personal growth and reflection for the individual with the analysis of the group structures.

7.4

The Sociocultural Sociodrama

Important The sociocultural sociodrama simulates dynamics between different socially relevant roles, in order to sharpen the understanding of these dynamics and their interrelationship with individual experience and action. As our definition suggests, sociocultural sociodrama (in some parts of psychodrama literature it is simply known as sociodrama) serves as a method to simulate and reflect socioculturally relevant topics. It is used in this capacity, for example, in intercultural education: As the dynamics of the interplay between different roles (e.g. migrant, employee of the immigrant authority, right-wing extremist) unfold among the participants on the sociodrama stage, one gains insight into the dynamics that may unfold between these roles on a societal level: The microcosm of the group is regarded as a mirror of society, the macrocosm. This rather bold hypothesis is based on Moreno’s supposition as quoted below,

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… that the group formed by the audience is already organized by the social and cultural roles which in some degree all the carriers of the culture share. It is therefore incidental who the individuals are, or of whom the group is composed, or how large their number is. (Moreno, 1972, p. 354)

That this assumption and the conclusions derived from it are at least partially justified is shown, for example, by the fact that it has often been possible to predict political conflicts and decisions relatively precisely with sociodramatic role-plays (e.g. Armstrong, 2001). On the other hand, beyond sociological knowledge, the sociocultural sociodrama always addresses the interaction of sociodynamics with the individual’s action and experience. In this capacity, the sociodrama serves, among others, not only as a reflection of stereotypes (e.g. in antiracism training), of collective role models and their effect on the individual’s self-image (e.g. in the discussion of female leaders with their own leadership models), but also as a relieving therapeutic activity (e.g. in working with professional groups, such as police or teachers, that have to distance themselves from high social pressure and negative attribution). Sociodramatic work is always oriented toward a topic (such as racism, the role of a teacher, leadership) and thus topic-centered. At the same time, sociodrama is often group-centered when the group’s norms are reflected against the backdrop of social phenomena that are processed in sociodrama. Kellermann has used sociocultural sociodrama in numerous sociotherapeutic contexts and developed it significantly. In his important book, “Sociodrama and Collective Trauma” (2007), he differentiates between five goals of the sociocultural sociodrama: • The socioemotional crisis intervention, in which traumatic events of social significance (e.g. terrorist attacks or natural disasters) are sociodramatically re-enacted, in order to help participants process the event. • Political education, in which socially conflictual issues such as social integration, stratification, power or formation of political opinion are addressed. The detection of “blind spots” in the context of majorities and minorities with the aim of uncovering stereotypes, prejudice, racism, intolerance, stigma with regard to majorities and minorities, and to experience their impact from the perspective of those affected in a collective role reversal. • Conflict management, such as in the sociodramatic work with representatives of various conflicting religious communities. • Peace work, for example, in the aftermath of ethnic conflicts—refer to the impressive portrayals of Daniel (2006), Kellermann (2007) or the disturbing report by Nagor and Gött (2011) on her sociodrama work in Auschwitz. Some forms of political theater such as the Theater of the Oppressed (Boal, 2008) are related to sociodrama. Practical Application of the Sociocultural Sociodrama In contrast to group-centered and topic-centered sociodrama, the sociocultural sociodrama has a solid methodical form. With the impromptu play as its focus, the

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director’s thematic inputs, small group work and discussions are organized around it. The first steps toward the production of a sociocultural sociodrama are similar to those described in Sect. 7.3 in the context of group-centered impromptu play: • Picking relevant roles for the topic to be explored. • Casting the roles in such a way that each role is occupied by multiple participants. This will give rise to dynamics within individual groups. A group of observers can be formed depending on the working concept, the number of participants, and knowledge interest. In this way, sociocultural sociodrama can be enacted with just a few people as well as with large groups of up to several hundred participants. • Setting up the stage. Often it is sufficient enough to reserve an area in the room for each subgroup and mark it with a sign. Several chairs are placed at the edge of the stage for participants who want to “step out” for a short time. • Warming-up the groups for their roles, possibly supported by the director asking some key questions. • Initial interview. • Free interaction between the groups, where the director interrupts the play only intermittently for an interview or a brief intervention (e.g. time-lapse, maximization). The collective role reversal is a quintessential intervention for the sociocultural sociodrama. As in the protagonist-centered work, it does not take place between individual participants (protagonist and auxiliary ego), but between groups of people. For example, in a sociodrama on the topic of school reform, if the roles of pupils, teachers and parents are each filled by four participants, then the collective role reversal takes place between these groups: The “parents” change into the role of teacher, the “teachers” into the role of pupil and the “pupils” into the role of the parent. In this case, the collective role reversal serves to enable the participants to explore various social roles; one should then repeat the role reversal until each participant has played each role once. Finally, the director ends the play, the participants are “de-roled,” the stage is dismantled and the integration phase begins (Chap. 11).

7.5

Summary

Psychodrama has a wide range of possibilities when working with groups. The most important ones are: • the group-centered sociodrama which aims at working on socioemotional structures and processes of the group, • the topic-centered sociodrama which aims at working on a theme relevant to all group members, and

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• the sociocultural sociodrama, which aims to reflect on the social and cultural role of society as well as the social determinants influencing the individual’s experience and action. One can use different psychodramatic arrangements in all three forms of work, including in particular the impromptu play and role play as well as work with scenic images and sculptures.

References Armstrong, J. S. (2001). Role playing: A method to forecast decisions. In J. S. Armstrong (Ed.), Principles of forecasting: A handbook for researchers and practitioners (pp. 15–30). Boston: Kluwer. Boal, A. (2008). Theatre of the oppressed. London: Pluto Press. Creekmore, N. N., & Madan, A. J. (1981). The use of sociodrama as a therapeutic technique with behavior disordered children. Behavioral Disorders, 7, 28–33. Daniel, S. (2006). Sociometry, sociodrama and psychodrama with third generation Holocaust survivors. (3GH). Forum: Journal of the International Association of Group Psychotherapy, 1, 105–112. Flynn, S. (2002). Dreams and fairy tales and their application to psychodrama psychotherapy. British Journal of Psychodrama & Sociodrama, 17, 49–67. Kellermann, P. F. (2007). Sociodrama and collective trauma. London: Kingsley. Moreno, J. L. (1948). The sociodrama of Mohandas Gandhi. Sociatry, 1, 357–358. Moreno, J. L. (1972). Psychodrama (Vol. 1, 4th ed.). Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L., & Moreno, Z. T. (1969). Psychodrama (Vol. 3). Beacon: Beacon House. Nagor, Y., & Gött, H. (2011). Confronting the holocaust through psychodrama, sociodrama and ritual. In R. Wiener, D. Adderley, & K. Kirk (Hrsg.), Sociodrama in a changing world (S. 207– 212). www.lulu.com. Sternberg, P., & Garcia, A. (1989). Sociodrama: Who’s in your shoes?. New York: Praeger.

Further Reading The literature on sociodrama is fairly limited. Sociodrama by Sternberg and Garcia (1989) mainly describes protagonist-centered work. Wiener, R. (1997). Creative training: Sociodrama and team-building (140 pages). London: Kingsley (Contents: Introduction to sociodrama, planning, setting the scene, techniques, and case studies. Due to the compact presentation, it is of great practical help in planning and designing sociodramas). Wiener, R., Adderley, D., & Kirk, K. (Hrsg.). (2011). Sociodrama in a changing world. www.lulu. com (An Anthology with 37 partly exciting testimonies from all over the world of work with sociodrama).

Part II

Preparation and Design of Psychodramatic Processes

Introduction Psychodrama is more powerful than other alternative methods (e.g. the role play), in the creativity of its leadership and the interactive experience in the here and now. The variety of psychodramatic tools makes it possible to adapt each stage flexibly to the topic in question. Thus, every play is a unique creation of the moment. There are not any “formulas” or algorithms for conducting these plays. However, the director’s decisions (as Moreno himself has repeatedly emphasized) must be based on a consistent intervention concept, which takes into account the relevant knowledge base for the respective application fields and secures the creativity of psychodramatic work. In this part of the book, we will therefore explain the individual steps of preparing and designing psychodramatic work on the basis of two alternating complementary case studies. The psychodramatic process begins much before and not directly with warm-up exercises or by entering the stage, as is often suggested in relevant psychodrama books. For this reason, our description begins with establishing contact with potential (future) clients. From there on, we introduce some rules for the warm-up phase, the action phase, the integration phase and the evaluation phase, in order to provide guidance to psychodramatists.

Chapter 8

Establishing Contact, Clarification of Contract and Goal Planning

“It is essential (…) that the role reversal with the client succeeds. The inner role reversal of the therapist with the client is (…) the prerequisite for warming-up” (Schwehm 1989, p. 50, translation S.P.).

Psychodramatic work does not begin with going on the stage. The success of the psychodramatic process largely depends on the extent to which the client’s goals and expectations are sufficiently clarified and, if necessary, substantiated in advance. The professional preparation of the session also plays a major role. Since this topic is seldom discussed in psychodrama literature, a detailed study of the phase of establishing contact, clarifying the contract and planning the goal is actually necessary. However, we can only provide a summary of these concepts in this chapter; we recommend you refer to an introductory book, e.g. Hutchinson (2016) for a detailed description. The contract between the director and the clients is always based on the psychodramatic conception of man and society, which is discussed in great detail in Chap. 14. Similar to other humanistic methods, the conception of man is characterized by optimism and respect in psychodrama. Accordingly, the relationship between the director and their clients should also be characterized by respect and attention, genuine interest, appreciation, understanding, sensitivity and empathy. It is only by doing so that one can develop a climate conducive to change. Psychodrama follows a model of process consultation: The client alone is the expert of his own life. He sets the goals, defines the problem and decides what needs to change as well as which solution is useful to him. The director, on the other hand, supports him in achieving his own goals using their methodological, diagnostic and therapeutic skills. These basic principles are the foundation of every psychodramatic work. They are equally applicable to all areas of work, all client groups and all objectives. They are further specified by the various boundaries of psychodramatic work described below, but fundamentally unchanged.

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Important A humanistic conception of man and understanding of the method as a form of process consultation is the basis of any psychodramatic work. Another key guiding principle for clarification of the contract is the frame of reference in which the psychodramatic work takes place. There are two aspects that play a role here: 1. The field of work (e.g. psychotherapy, supervision, organizational consultation or social work). Buer (1997) uses the term format in this context. 2. The working context or setting. The same field of work (e.g. psychotherapy) can be shaped in a number of different work contexts/settings, such as individual therapy in private practice, open group therapy in a psychosomatic clinic or group therapy in a children’s hospital, which often present very different conditions of boundary for psychodramatic work. The field of work and the setting provide a rough framework and a set of objectives (e.g. allocated time) that determine how one ought (not) to work. These “dos” and “don’ts” must be taken into account in the earliest stage of planning one’s own work process, for example during the initial contact with clients. Thus, it is important to adapt not only the content and intervention goals and methods, but also the style of language, clothing and general appearance to the respective setting. The different boundaries between a participant’s personal and public spheres are particularly worth consideration: In professional contexts such as training, supervision, etc., for instance, one would address only those topics which belong to the protagonist’s public sphere. The protagonist’s relationship with their partner, parents, etc., is private and therefore belongs to their personal sphere. Although this may affect one’s professional actions in many cases, the director must simply refer to it discreetly, if the task at hand has a possible connection with the protagonist’s personal life (e.g. “Does your boss’s behavior remind you of something from your own life? This is to simply offer you an input for reflection. Besides, this is not the right context to explore your personal life any further”). One also wonders about the standard way of working when confronted with intimate topics in psychodramatic work. This is definitely the case with discussing topics which are socially considered to be negative or taboo (e.g. aggression, alcoholism, depression, fear of failure; to know how to work with these topics refer Chap. 17). Important A psychodramatist must adapt their approach to suit the “unwritten” norms of their respective field of work as well as contexts, right from the planning phase. For example, therapeutic and non-therapeutic contexts have different sets of boundaries to decide what topics can and cannot be addressed (public versus personal life).

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Initial Contact and Contract Clarification

The initial contact between a psychodramatist and a client can take place in very different ways: • Often it is physicians, colleagues or acquaintances who recommend clients for individual therapy or counseling; • In contexts of training or organizational consultation, it is the psychodramatist themselves who must approach their potential clients actively; • In other contexts, such as social work, educational counseling, as well as forensic or clinical settings, the psychodramatist usually works on behalf of a host organization that assigns clients. The initial interview serves as a forum to get to know each other, and an opportunity to gather initial diagnostic information that will allow both parties to decide whether or not they would want to work together. This opportunity is usually absent in the latter fields of work, since neither the client nor the psychodramatist have the option to decide freely. During the initial contact, the psychodramatist will explain some essential features of their way of working and—if there is an option—also give a short methodical demonstration. In addition, the initial interview is already an intervention, as the therapist can get some understanding of the underlying problem through exploratory inquiries. The discussion on the contract requires thorough preparation. In doing so, the therapist should consider the following questions: • How did I get the referral? • What previous knowledge do I have about the client, the organization, and the topic? • What does the client know about me? • What are the goals of the conversation? • What goals do I carry into the discussion (e.g. motivations, terms and conditions, fee, etc.)? De Shazer (1985, 1988) offers an orientation grid, which can be helpful in clarifying the role of the first interview (here in terms of the therapeutic field of work). De Shazer distinguished between different types of clients according to the nature of their appearance during initial contact: Customers. The customer has a clearly defined concern. He expects the therapist to help him achieve his goal, but also knows that he needs to be actively involved in the therapeutic process. This reflects a high degree of self-motivation. The role of the therapist then is to ask the client about his concern and simply decide whether or not she wants to accept the assignment. Visitors. Those clients who present themselves with a situation that can neither be defined as a problem nor as a complaint or a goal are described by de Shazer as the visitor. Clients who are referred to the psychodramatist by relatives, teachers, probation officers, etc., often behave like visitors at the starting point of the process.

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The therapist can suggest some possibilities for a resolution, but should otherwise withhold because enquiry is not specific. Complainants. The complainant or plaintiff describes his problems in great detail. He sees himself as a victim of circumstances or other people and blames them for his plight. The complainant insists that it is these others, and not himself, who is in need of therapy and requests the therapist to change them (‘distance healing’): “I don t know why I should attend this training – it’s my boss who should be here!”. De Shazer (1992) recommends that the therapist must first acknowledge the complainant’s own construction of reality and admit that he wouldn’t need treatment if the “perpetrator” behaved appropriately. The next step is to ask the complainant how likely is it that the “perpetrator” will change their behavior. Thus, the “second best solution” would be to reformulate the task and focus on the complainant’s behavior instead. If this succeeds, the complainant becomes the customer. Co-therapists or Supervisors. The German hypnotherapist Gunther Schmidt has added a fourth type to de Shazer’s grid—the co-therapist or supervisors. These are basically family members who supervise the therapist and tell him how to behave, e.g. in a couple or family therapy. Here, the therapist is at a risk of colluding with the “co-therapist” at an unconscious level. In order to involve these people in the therapeutic process, the therapist should work in a manner similar to working with the complainants. This typology can be applied to non-therapeutic fields of work as well: In social work, organizational consultation, etc., the clients’ requests are often unclear at first or are characterized by complaints about instances that cannot be influenced by the consultant. If the psychodramatist (or the contracting organization) agrees with the customer, both parties are said to have entered a contract. This is an agreement for a service that is well defined in terms of time as well as content. It includes the objectives of the process which are defined within a temporal, organizational and financial framework, as well as a rough definition of the roles of all those involved. The contract could be of different forms, ranging from a detailed written contract to a simple verbal agreement. One can expect the client’s expectations to be transparent, clear, consistent and decisive in an “ideal world.” However in “real life,” the objectives of the contract are usually roughly defined or are implicit and unspoken. Moreover, the people who sign the contract are not necessarily the ones who work together in counseling or therapy later. In order to minimize the resulting difficulties, it is important to consider and clarify the following questions to the best of one’s ability. How many of my clients come to me voluntarily? What implications does it have for my work? In many cases, the clients do not seek therapy, counseling or consultation services voluntarily. Some of these situations include the daughter, who accompanies their parents to family therapy, the staff member, whose supervisor tells them to

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participate in a seminar or interventions that are officially sanctioned by the employment offices or the penal system. The significant others—partners, friends and physicians—who suggest psychotherapy to the client in the first place, often have a major impact on the course of treatment, even when there is no immediate coercion. The psychodramatist should clarify the expectations of such “referrers” right at the beginning of the therapeutic process. For example, “If you feel that your referrer is skeptical of the therapeutic process, what would you say/do?” or “According to you, what would be the best outcome for your referrer?” It is often the case that this “best possible outcome” constitutes the failure of therapy. What motivates my clients and to what extent? Motivation is closely linked with the voluntary nature of action, but not at a ratio of 1:1: Even those participants who have been sent by the employment office can be motivated, whereas the ones who enter therapy voluntarily may struggle with their motivation. Thus, it is important to reflect on the goals the clients actually pursue— taking into consideration not only one’s own role and relationship with the clients, but also the (methodical and contextual) alignment of one’s own work with the requests and needs of the clients. Whose problem is it? If participation is not entirely voluntary, it raises a rather interesting question—out of all those involved who actually has a problem: is it the daughter who is sent to therapy by the parents or is it perhaps the parents themselves who pass their own troubles on the daughter? The focus of the intervention also depends on the answer to this question: if we consider a systemic point of view where the problem (e.g. daughter struggling with anorexia) is not seen as a consequence of an individual’s pathology, but as a consequence of the entanglement of processes within the system, then the problem is not primarily about the individual (daughter) but about the system as a whole (family). The coaching that is “prescribed” to the executive by their department head is not necessarily an expression of the coachee’s weak leadership. Instead it may be an attempt to delegate the management of the department’s head’s conflicts with the colleague to the counselor. From this point of view, the reported problem is simply an “indicator” of a pathology of the entire system - hence systemic therapy refers to the “index patient” and not the “patient.” Thus, the focus of the intervention is not on the index patient, but on the entire family (the entire department, etc.). Who has what expectations? When several people are a part of the counseling or therapy system (e.g. in family therapy or organizational development), the director is often confronted with contradictory expectations of the various participants. Often individual clients also behave inconsistently. In the tension between legitimate fear and restraint on the one hand and the exaggerated demands and expectations of salvation on the other, the director is exposed to ambivalences. Schlippe (1995, p. 28) puts this experience in a nutshell in his pointed “job advertisement” for a family therapist:

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We are looking for someone who shares the view that the problem is an expression of the illness, stupidity or malice of one or several family members, but on the other hand also ensures that it is resolved without anyone having to change somehow.

Overview To begin with, the psychodramatist must coordinate with the clients and come to an agreement on the objectives to be pursued, as well as the temporal, financial and other framework conditions of the collaborative process. Some of the key questions at this stage of the process are: • Which people and groups of people play a direct or indirect role in my work? • What expectations do these people (groups) have of me? • What are the implications of their expectations for my work? • Are there any conflicting expectations and how do I deal with them? • Which of these expectations can and do I want to fulfill? How do I deal with expectations that I can not or do not want to fulfill? • Who has what problems? (translation S.P.)

8.2

Conception

The next step for the psychodramatist is to develop a concept to achieve the objectives defined in the contract. These objectives must be “broken down” into achievable learning goals and methodological steps in order to pursue the final goal. For example, in the case of a communication seminar, the learning objectives could be operationalized as follows: Level Key objective Primary goal Secondary goal Specific Goal

Formulation of Goals Efficient and respectful communication in the company Improvement in communicative skills Differentiated communication at the content and relationship level To know and understand the model of nonviolent communication.

This procedure facilitates the planning, but involves the risk of fragmenting the complex learning process. The principle of holistic learning should be of paramount importance here. In addition, the planned intervention goals and methods may need to be modified depending on the process. During planning, one must remember that, in many cases, the defined objectives cannot be achieved in one meeting. The extent to which specific objectives can be achieved in the given time depends, among other things, on the size of the group. Often in therapy, personal

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development, social work and other fields of work, it is only the key objective that is clearly defined. An open group dynamic learning process is favoured over the clearly defined course content. Process-oriented work Ruth Cohn has laid the foundation for process-oriented work with the theme-centered interaction (TCI) approach (Schneider-Landolf et al. 2017). TCI deals with prerequisites for designing group work in such a way that disruption and blockages are largely avoided. She has defined four factors which are at play in every group process and must be kept in balance for productive outcomes (Fig. 8.1). These four factors are described below: The individual, his goals, desires and state of mind (“I”) Taking each individual member into consideration, the psychodrama director should, for example, ask the following questions at the beginning of the process: • What is each participant’s situation (e.g. general life situation, occupational situation)? • What is their motivation to join the group (e.g. knowledge acquisition, practical exercises, connecting with new people)? • What do they want to learn about the topic/about the group/about themselves? • What do they bring to the group (e.g. previous knowledge, experiences and competencies)? • What kind of emotions affect them (e.g. uncertainty concerning other participants, the content as well as the process of the work in the beginning)? • Are they used to a certain way of working (for example, are they familiar with psychodramatic work)? The interactive process and group dynamics (“WE”) A group is not just a collection of individuals. According to the principle “the whole is more, or something different than the sum of its parts,” the dynamic in the group is only partly based on the qualities of its members. Some of the key questions in relation to the complex topic of group dynamics are:

Fig. 8.1 TCI triangle

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• Is it a new group or have they been working together for some time? Do the participants know each other? • Is it a homogenous group (e.g. in terms of age or represented occupational groups)? Are there any subgroups? What implications does it have for group work? • Does the group have any already established norms? What are they? • Are there any “pain points” or taboo topics? • What is the sociometric structure/role distribution within the group (who is the spokesperson, who is the scapegoat, etc.)? • Are there any cultural differences, language barriers or similar? How would you respond to that? The task (“IT”) TCI assumes that constructive work can take place at the factual level only • if the participants have established a personal connection with the theme and • if suitable relational dynamics have been created within the group for this work. To formulate in psychodramatic terms: The warming-up of the group as well as each individual (including the director) is a prerequisite for working on the factual level. Context (“the GLOBE”) The “Globe,” presented as a circle in the TCI triangle (Fig. 8.1) embodies the situational, historical, factual and social context of the collaborative work, which must be taken into account when working out solutions to problems, etc. Some of the key questions related to the Globe are: • What characterizes the participant’s everyday life and what impulse brings them here? • What external reality must the internal work correspond to? • How big should the next step of change be and which sub-goal should be achieved? • Who can support the achievement of goals from outside? • How does this new approach come in conflict with the beliefs and habits of the external environment? Important Psychodramatic work is understood as process-oriented work: At each point in the process, the director must be aware of each individual’s state of mind, the group dynamics, the demands of the task, and their own involvement in the group dynamics, and bring it into a dynamic balance. They must adapt their approach to the various facets of the process in such a way that the working capacity of the participants is optimally supported, and the humanistic values and potential of psychodrama are fully utilized.

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Principles of process-oriented work According to this model, process orientation includes the following points and the director is expected to follow them at each point in the group process: • Flexibility in implementing one’s own concept: Process orientation means being able to distance oneself from the planning of goals and the methodical process depending on the situation in question. • Focusing on the needs of the clients: Psychodramatic work is a service—the customer’s wishes are therefore a top priority. The task of the director is to inquire into these wishes and needs consistently and to adapt their course of action accordingly. • Focusing on the relational dynamics and other latent phenomena in the group (“WE”): In a process-oriented approach, the director must also be consciously aware of the level of group dynamics. They must pay attention to the integration of the group, demand adherence to elementary norms and boundaries, and help clarify conflicts. For this, it may be necessary to switch from working on the factual level to clarifying relationships at certain points in the process. The decision on whether and at what time to switch and which methodology to use to process the group relationships depends, among other things, on the field of work, the task of the director and the current status of the group process (Chap. 18). • Focusing on the topic: With all the necessary adaptation to the needs of the individual and the dynamics of the group, one must ensure that the thematic focus defined by the contract is not lost. The art of leadership therefore lies in shaping the work keeping both, the interests of the individual and of the group, in mind, in such a way that it always takes into account the thematic references and enables content-based learning. • Focusing on the plurality in the group: Process-oriented work also involves being considerate of the differences between group participants (e.g. the social, linguistic and cultural backgrounds) and protecting the minority from the open or latent discrimination by the majority. Such tendencies occur very quickly in groups, as the group’s sociometric structures also configure themselves alongside the social distribution of status and power. Further reflections on this aspect can be found in Chap. 20. • Focusing on one’s own attitude and state of mind: The director can only succeed in being highly sensitive if they are always aware of and reflect on their own involvement with the topic, their own relationship dynamics, and their own emotional reactions to the process, and, if necessary, draw conclusions from it for their further course of action.

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Summary

Psychodrama basically starts from a process-consulting model and a humanistic image of man: The task of the director is to use their methodological and psychological competence to activate the self-healing powers of the client, who already has the solution to his own problems but is unaware of them. The content-related goals of the process are determined by the client himself, the director only offers support. This does not exclude the active help and advice offered in finding solutions to the problem. The director’s role and nature of relationship must be adapted to the respective field of work (e.g. psychotherapy, social work) and the working context (e.g. institutional involvement, group versus individual setting). The contract between the director and the client (or contracting authority) forms the basis of the collaborative work and defines the objectives of the process as well as mutual expectations. The contract forms—especially in educational contexts—the basis for the planning of the method, which must however always align with the current process. Process-oriented work is based on the task at hand, the individual participant as well as the role structure and relational dynamics of the group.

References Buer, F. (1997). Zur Dialektik von Format und Verfahren. Oder: Warum eine Theorie der Supervision nur pluralistisch sein kann. OSC Organisationsberatung—Supervision—Clinical Management, 4(4), 381–394. de Shazer, S. (1985). Keys to Solution in Brief Therapy. New York: Norton. de Shazer, S. (1988). Clues: Investigating Solutions in Brief Therapy. New York: Norton. Hutchinson, D. R. (2016b). Great Groups: Creating and Leading Effective Groups. London: Sage. Schlippe, von A. (1995). » Tu was Du willst. « —Eine integrative Perspektive auf die systemische Therapie. Kontext, 26 (1), 19–32. Schneider-Landolf, M., Spielmann, J., & Zitterbarth, W. (2017). Handbook of Theme-Centered Interaction (TCI). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht. Schwehm, H. (1989). Die Scene auf der Bühne. In M. Heide & H. Wünschel (Eds.), Widerstand, Bereitschaft, Zusammenarbeit (pp. 19–57). Saarbrücken: Dadder.

Further Reading Hutchinson, D. R. (2016). Great Groups: Creating and Leading Effective Groups (p. 320). London: Sage (Hutchinson does not refer to psychodrama. Nonetheless, “Great Groups” is a helpful, well written and compact introduction to the planning and execution of group processes, from first contact to final intervention, which is also helpful for psychodramatists. Main topics of the book are the different types of groups, fundamentals of group dynamics and communication).

Chapter 9

The Warming-up Phase

“The therapeutic process in psychodrama can not be understood without a full consideration of warming-up techniques. As is well known in simple exercises, such as running, swimming, or boxing, the ability of the athlete to warm up easily and undisturbed to the task desired has a great deal to do with his form and efficiency (…). In spontaneity work and psychodrama the psychopathology of the warming-up process has, if possible, a still greater importance than in physical culture” (Moreno 1972, p. 223 f).

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Functions of the Warming-up Phase and Tasks of the Director

The warming-up phase serves to create motivation, openness and readiness among the participants for focused collaboration and to find a topic which is suitable for further psychodramatic work. In Lewin‘s (1951) well-known model, which describes the change process as a sequence of the three phases—unfreezing, changing, and refreezing—the warming-up phase serves to unfreeze the structures of the system. The four goals of the warming-up phase are: • Emotional activation of individual group members, • Emotional focus on a largely uniform level of activation of the group (not necessary when working in an individual setting), • Finding and focusing on a topic that appeals to as many group members as possible and is supported by all, • To facilitate meeting and interaction thereby developing cohesion and trust between the group members (see Cohn’s model of topic-centered interaction presented in Sect. 8.2).

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In addition, the warming-up phase helps the director • obtain important diagnostic information and hypotheses about individual participants and/or the dynamics of the group (e.g. with the help on an impromptu play) as well as • warm up himself.

Overview Goals of the warming-up phase • • • •

Individual activation Focusing on activation on the same level Finding and agreeing on a topic Meeting, developing group cohesion.

This first phase is based on the conviction that all participants (group members as well as the director) need to warm up psychologically, socially and physically before they can engage in intensive collaborative work. It is therefore necessary for the director to be aware and attentive and often plan more time than originally thought of, especially in the warming-up phase, so that the later work is not impeded by inhibitions, ambiguities and “resistances” of all sorts (Chap. 17). On the other hand, warming-up exercises do not always break the resistance, but may even call it out: after working with psychodrama for long and more intensively, one easily runs the risk of forgetting that creative work represents an unsafe and frightening territory for many people. It therefore takes some time and great caution to introduce dramatic work to groups unfamiliar with psychodrama. A short demonstration can be helpful, for example the empty chair technique. The term warming-up phase suggests two misconceptions, the effects of which are also often noticeable in practical work with psychodrama: 1. The warming-up phase is regarded as the first phase of psychodramatic work, ending (usually) with the choice of protagonists and a transition to the action phase. If one does not consider that warming-up (a) starts before the warming-up phase and (b) continues during the whole production and beyond, one runs the risk of overlooking that according to Moreno warming-up is a continuous process: the participants are already warmed up to different degrees for different topics at the beginning of a group process. They are often preoccupied with a variety of thoughts, topics and problems from their everyday life; some participants may bring a pressing problem to the session; others may prefer to have stayed at home and are not tuned into doing some emotionally intense work. Hence, warming-up does not happen in a “Tabula rasa” situation, but begins before the psychodrama session and continues during the action phase, after the action phase and even after the end of the session.

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2. The term warming-up is also misleading in another respect: Classical warming-up techniques such as the magic shop or the social atom not only pave the way for the actual intervention, but are also interventions themselves— learning, reflection and therapy does not take place only in the action phase, but already in the warming-up phase. Thus, any session that uses these arrangements (e.g. in individual therapy) is a full-fledged therapy session in which the client gains many insights, experiences emotional empowerment, develops possible solutions, etc. It is for these two reasons that the boundaries between the warming-up and action phases are fluid in practice. It should also be noted that warming-up (in the sense of dynamization and emotionalization) is not always appropriate. In certain circumstances, for example, when working with conflicts or in situations of acute emotional stress, it is necessary to “cool down” to create a distance from the event and strengthen the ego functions. Important The warming-up phase creates an emotional, dynamic and thematic ground for further intensive and collaborative work. This warming-up process begins even before the psychodrama session and extends beyond its end. A gentle approach and enough time are important prerequisites to avoid disruption and resistance in the later stages of the process.

9.2

Designing the Warming-up Phase

The warming-up phase can vary greatly depending on the context, setting and topic. To achieve the mentioned goals, psychodrama uses a variety of specific arrangements, commonly referred to as “warming-up techniques.” We prefer the term “arrangements” (Buer 1999) as it becomes easier to differentiate from the psychodramatic techniques used in the action phase (Chap. 5). Criteria for the Selection of Suitable Arrangements A successful entry into a group process is often »half the battle won« , as adequate warming-up of the participants creates the conditions for cognitively and emotionally intense work. In topic-centered contexts (e.g. adult education), one can choose arrangements with a certain thematic focus, which combine group dynamic exercises with an elegant introduction to the topic. The warming-up should correspond to the further course of the group not only with regards to the content but also the methodology: An exercise that primarily warms up at the cognitive level does not necessarily facilitate an emotional confrontation of the topic in the next step. Warming-up brings participants into contact with their emotions, biographical issues, etc., which can give rise to concerns that need to be intercepted and worked

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on before one can continue working on the topic at the cognitive level. Any approach that does not suit the context as well as the participants can provoke resistance instead of reducing it. The tendency to use “warm-up games” that are completely detached from the rest of the context has a long tradition in working with group dynamics. This can lead to irritation and give away the opportunity to initiate further learning with content-appropriate exercises.

9.3

Arrangements for Use in the Warming-up Phase (“Warming-up Techniques”)

In the context of this book, only some of the numerous arrangements for the warming-up phase can be illustrated; while some are psychodrama-specific, others are adopted from different contexts. In addition, a number of psychodramatic arrangements illustrated in Chap. 4 (such as improvisation, sculpture work or working with imagery) can also be used in the warming-up phase. Pantomime, dance and movement based activities, as well as exercises from theater education etc. are often counted among warming-up techniques. Although these possibilities are undoubtedly suitable for use in the warming-up phase, they are not detailed here. This is because even though they contribute to the overall activation, they usually do not result in warming-up for a topic to be dealt with in the action phase. The following distinction may help to select the appropriate warming-up technique for each context: • Arrangements with a focus on the individual vs. Arrangements focusing on the group: While the latter are only suitable for work in the group, and often emphasize the aspect of interaction and encounter, the former arrangements encourage the warming-up of individual (e.g. biographical) topics and are therefore more related to the individual person. However, they are equally suitable for individual and group settings. • Open versus Thematic arrangements: The open arrangements can of course lead to a topic; however, in contrast to the thematic arrangements, this topic is not dictated by technique. Unlike the thematic arrangements, open arrangements thus create a variety of topics in a group setting, such that it is necessary to combine individual topics into a common group topic. Imagination The director asks the participants, for a few minutes, to silently imagine themselves into a particular image or a situation (e.g., a photo from the family album, a real or fantasized house, an imaginary journey to their choice of destination). The participants’ imaginations are then analyzed: Who is (not) seen in the photo? How do people relate to each other? What does the house look like? Where are they going and how long does the journey take? Do they have any travel companions? etc.

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Working with Creative Media In therapy, creative mediums such as clay, modeling clay, painting equipments etc. can be used for a thematic introduction. The creativity of the clients is not restricted in doing so. In addition to the images and figures that emerge, the clients develop associations that shed light on their subjective reality, similar to a projective test. The meaningfulness of clients’ creative products is then developed in the interview and the dramatic exploration. Working with Puppets, Stuffed Animals, and Toys Puppets and stuffed animals can serve various methodological and therapeutic functions. In working with children, the therapist can use them as auxiliary objects, and relieve themselves, at least in part, of the task of having to be available as an auxiliary ego. They can also serve as a comforter or a conversation partner to confide worries and fears that one does not want to tell the therapist directly. Following are some of the exploratory questions one can use when working with puppets, stuffed animals, and other toys: • • • •

When/by whom was this toy given to me? What do I have to say about the toy? What does the toy have to say about me? What did we both experience together?

Working with Old Photos This is another useful technique in psychodramatic individual therapy. The client is asked to choose an old photo and bring it to the next therapy session. Some of the introductory questions could then be: • • • •

Why was the picture selected? Who is present in the picture, who isn‘t? What was it like with my parents/other participants when the picture was taken? Who do I identify with the most/least? One can then develop a game based on the answers.

Working with the Social Atom This psychodramatic warming-up technique is based on the concept of the social atom, developed by Moreno as part of his theory of social networks. The social atom of a human being represents all the relevant relationships with his attachment figures (relatives, friends, colleagues). For example, a visualization of the social atom may shed some light on one’s social involvement, the quality of his relationships or changes in those relationships across the lifespan. The social atom is an excellent diagnostic technique for individual therapy and can be used in numerous ways. Detailed information on the theoretical foundations of the social atom as well as its implementation and evaluation can be found in Sects. 14.2.3 and 15.5, respectively.

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Introduction from Another Role This technique is a psychodramatically extended variant of the introductory round at the beginning of a group. The participants leave their chairs one after another to take on the role of an attachment figure of their choice (brother, friend, colleague, etc.). They step behind the now empty chair and introduce themselves from the chosen role, such as follows: Example Mr. Davis gets up and introduces himself from the role of his wife: “This is my husband, Andrew Davis. Andrew is 34 years old and works in a research company. He often travels abroad for work—I do not like that very much, especially because we have two small children: Matthew, 2 years, and Sonia, 4 years. Andrew is a good father and likes his children very much (etc.).”

This approach is not only a change from the usual, “trite” introductory rounds, but it also opens the participants to new perspectives on themselves and prepares for further work with psychodrama simultaneously. Leutz (1980) developed a variant called the “psychodramatic-collegial alliance”: the group members are addressed by the therapist in the role of a co-therapist. As a co-therapist, they are expected to tell how their patients (i.e. themselves) are doing, what are they missing, what would be recommended etc. Participants often tell more about themselves through this role play than they would usually do in their own role. Attributions The participants walk around in the room, meet each other and divide themselves into smaller groups based on their imagination of the personality characteristics, hobbies, furnishings or something similar (according to the specifications of the director) others possess. The exercise lasts for a few minutes, after which the director assesses them in groups of two or in the plenary. Often participants discover that many of the attributions are true but associated with discomfort or resistance. In this respect, this warming-up technique requires special skills on the part of the director and sufficient trust within the group. Living Newspaper Moreno used this warming-up technique in the early days of psychodrama. The director brings a newspaper to the group and the group selects a headline for the collaborative creative enactment. One can enact the subject as is presented in the newspaper, or experiment with options and improvise how the situation could develop further. The live newspaper is well suited for topic-centered work in areas such as adult education or political science, social studies or history lessons etc. as it helps participants warm up to confront the enacted topic on a deeper level.

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Locus Nascendi This warming-up technique returns the participants not only to the place of their birth, but also to the familial, historical and relational context of their birth. Many schools of psychology (e.g. psychoanalysis) assume that events from early childhood often extend into later adult life unconsciously and have a significant impact on one’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The “locus nascendi” technique attempts to visualize these influences on stage in the form of dramatic representation. Firstly, participants exchange important aspects of their early life in dyads, e.g. birthplace, historical background, family structure, parent’s social situation and expectations of the newborn child. Following this conversation, participants form small groups, such that partners from a dyad are now in different groups. Now a scene is designed for each participant that traces this person’s birth in the respective spatiotemporal-familial context and highlights the factors that, in the group’s view, could have shaped the protagonist’s adult life. Although the dyad partner is an expert of their own story and thus in charge of directing the “script” of the scene to be designed, it is essential to welcome active and creative ideas and impulses of the other participants. The scene is staged by the group members on stage; the protagonist sits in the audience and watches the scene from the outside (Sect. 4.11). After all the scenes have been acted out, the participants go back into the initial dyads and exchange information about what they have seen. In doing so, the participants can extrapolate the central “messages of life” that were possibly given to them as children. This arrangement is not about recreating the exact situation at birth, simply because the protagonist’s portrayal is not an objective memory but a subjective image of their imagination. In most cases, this subjective image is based on the narrations of parents or other family members. However, in this context, the subjective perception, empathy and interpretation of the group are used to obtain new information and hypotheses, which can often result in supplementing unknown facts.

9.4

Choosing the Method and the Protagonist

Unless the method (protagonist-centered psychodrama, group-centered, theme-centered or sociopolitical sociodrama) is already specified in the contract, the next step is to choose the method best suited to work on the material developed in the warming-up phase: • If one chooses a group-centered psychodrama, one can usually go straight to the action phase; • If one chooses a topic-centered or sociopolitical sociodrama, the concretization phase will follow next. Further details on these group methods can be found in Chap. 7;

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• If one chooses a protagonist-centered psychodrama, the group must decide on one participant’s topic, who then brings the topic onto the stage as a protagonist. In case of a protagonist-centered psychodrama, the director will first ask for requests from the participants. There are two factors to consider when choosing a protagonist: • Warming-up the potential protagonist and • Warming-up the group for the chosen topic According to Kumar and Treadwell (1986), further aspects to be considered are the field and setting of work, type and size of the group, as well as the qualifications of the director. There are several options for choosing a protagonist: If there is only one group member who wants to address an issue on stage, the director checks whether the group accepts the protagonist and his/her subject, thus eliminating other options. If more than a few group members are warmed up to address issues through a protagonist play on stage, the group must together choose one protagonist. This is usually done using sociometry. There are various possibilities to do so: Those willing to explore their issue stand up and summarize their topic (in one sentence) for the group once again. The group members indicate their choice by standing behind the protagonist, whose topic interests them the most. In an attempt to comfort those not chosen, the director should emphasize that group’s choice is not about the person, but about their topic—although personal likes and dislikes also influence the choice of course. If many group members are willing, the “energy thermometer technique” can help with the pre-selection of the protagonist: The director sets up two chairs at the opposite ends of the stage and the distance between these two chairs is thought to be the scale of a thermometer. The participants position themselves on this scale based on how warmed up they feel to address their issue: standing next to (or on) one chair indicates “I really want to address my issue on stage,” standing next to (or on) another chair indicates “I do not want to address my issue on stage,” and standing in the middle indicates “undecided.” Once again the director uses sociometry to facilitate the selection of a protagonist, for the first protagonist play, from among those standing closest to the “warmed-up” chair. Even though the sociometric selection of the protagonist, which is customary in psychodrama, is based on the preference of the majority of the group, it can also provoke conflicts and resentments among those unelected. If there are several requests that cannot be fulfilled in one session, then one must address this conflict situation in a strictly process-oriented format in order to reach a consensus. In the long term, mostly therapeutic groups, the choice of a protagonist can be left to the group, without asking the members for their requests beforehand. Moreno’s practice involved the director in choosing the protagonist, which seems too authoritarian and far from being oriented to the group process to most psychodramatists today. Thus, it is advisable only in exceptional circumstances.

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Once the protagonist is chosen, one can move on to the action phase on stage (Chap. 10). There should be no pause between the warming-up and action phases as this would lead to a break in the warming-up of the protagonist, the director and the group.

9.5

Summary

The warming-up phase helps in • the emotional activation of the individual group members, • the emotional focus of the group and • focusing the group on a topic that empowers clients to engage in intense dramatic work. In doing so, one must also consider if the participants are already warmed up before the actual beginning of the psychodramatic work: warming-up is not an “agenda item” to be completed in one phase, but a process that goes beyond the beginning and the end of the psychodramatic situation. A gentle approach and enough time are important prerequisites to avoid disruption and resistance at later stages of the process. The warming-up phase may lead to a planned intervention, but it may also be open-ended. In that case, one must choose a method, and if the choice is a protagonist-centered psychodrama, then a protagonist must be chosen.

References Buer, F. (1999). Morenos therapeutische Philosophie. Ihre aktuelle Rezeption und Weiterentwicklung. In ders. (Hrsg.), Morenos therapeutische Philosophie. Die Grundideen von Psychodrama und Soziometrie (3. Aufl., pp. 227–258). Opladen: Leske and Budrich. Kumar, V. K., & Treadwell, T. W. (1986). Identifying a protagonist: Techniques and factors. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama and Sociometry, 38(3), 155–164. Leutz, G. A. (1980). Das psychodramatisch-kollegiale Bündnis. Gruppenpsychotherapie und Gruppendynamik, 15, 176–187. Lewin, K. (1951). Field Theory in the Social Sciences. New York: Harper and Row. Moreno, J. L. (1972). Psychodrama (vol. 1) (4th ed.). Beacon: Beacon House.

Chapter 10

The Action Phase

Man plays only when he is in the full sense of the word a man, and he is only wholly man when he is playing (Friedrich Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man).

The actual psychodrama work takes place in the action phase. It is not easy to give a general impression of what is happening in the action phase to those unfamiliar with psychodrama. The enactment of a real event from the life of the protagonist, which we present here, is considered “classic” psychodrama, but it is only one of countless approaches such as role training (Sect. 4.4), installation and sculpture work (Sect. 4.7), work with inner parts (Sect. 14.5) and different variants of work at the group level (Chap. 7). These different methodological designs can lead to very different processes—depending on the field of work, topic, task, process objectives and technical design. We have given an overview of some of these approaches in Chap. 2.

10.1

Functions of the Action Phase

The action phase creates the framework for the actual therapeutic or advisory intervention. The goal is to change the system that has been “unfreezed” during the warming-up phase. To begin with, the director explores the topic and presents the task i.e. the goal to the protagonist. Following which the protagonist is guided through various scenic arrangements, in which her reality is reproduced and transformed. In doing so, the director guides the play on the basis of his hypotheses and the basic working principles of psychodrama, while using specific action techniques (role reversal, doubling, mirroring, etc.) to initiate processes of self-perception and reflection. The action phase ends once the protagonist has reached her goal and the task is fulfilled.

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_10

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In the action phase, the demands placed on the director are very complex: • They must support the protagonist, taking on a basic humanistic attitude. • They must formulate and revise diagnostic hypotheses. • Define objectives and steps which lead to concrete interventions. In addition to psychodramatic concepts, one can use interpretations, praxeologies and methodological elements from other theories and schools, as long as it is justifiable within the framework of a consistent integrative concept. However, according to the highest tenet of process orientation, the director must not cling to preconceived concepts, but rather calibrate his course of action to the protagonist and the group’s situation continually. At the beginning, he must provide the protagonist with a relationship that meets their individual personality and situation, for example: • • • • •

What degree of physical closeness or distance does the protagonist need? What level of verbal proximity or distance does the protagonist need? How anxious or vulnerable is the protagonist? To what extent does the protagonist tend to react to social desirability? Does the protagonist tend to talk or rather act?

In order to answer these questions, one requires insight into human nature, knowledge of the protagonist, diagnostic skills, experience and high sensitivity to the scenic information that becomes apparent in the situation. The director must provide a protective framework for the participants. He must closely monitor the protagonist, the auxiliary egos, the audience, as well as his own reactions to what is happening (e.g. with regards to transference and countertransference phenomena). Finally, he must respect the timeframe and, in parallel to all these requirements, guide the play confidently based on his empathy, the task and psychodramatic principles. Ideally, the psychodramatic play has to be a fitted intervention for the protagonist, their topic, their disorder or pathology (if applicable) and the group context.

10.2

Opening of the Stage

The action phase begins with the opening of the stage. If there is no actual stage, the group creates a space for the stage by setting up chairs in a semicircle. The director and the protagonist enter the stage. The initial change of roles takes place here: The protagonist chosen by the group shifts from the action space of the group into the action space of the psychodramatic interview (Sects. 10.4 and 10.8.1).

10.3

Exploration of the Topic

10.3

137

Exploration of the Topic

The director now begins to explore the topic, which eventually takes the form of an interview: The protagonist describes her topic in a more detailed form as compared to the warming-up phase, talks about the course of the event she wants to process; shares her motives, emotions and reactions in the situation, etc. The director asks and structures the conversation such that the protagonist’s request becomes clear. Functions of exploration Exploration has several functions: • • • •

Building a relationship between the protagonist and the director, Clarifying the task, Warm-up for the protagonist, the group and the director, Acquiring information about the topic at hand in a situational, biographical or social context, • Formulating initial diagnostic hypotheses, • Developing ideas for the methodical process (“central idea”) and • Finding representable introductory scenes. In addition to its diagnostic functions, exploration is considered to be a part of the intervention. Exploration can help the protagonist, for example, • • • • •

To To To To To

structure her thoughts better, discover previously unnoticed emotions, formulate a problem more clearly, devise possible solutions or even, come to a partial re-assessment of the topic during the conversation.

The director should support this process of self-reflection by asking questions and, if necessary, using psychodramatic methods. Sources of information in exploration Basically, there are four different sources of information available to the director, which can tell him more about the topic and the client’s mental state: Objective information. These include, among other information, symptoms, behaviors and peculiarities of the client’s personality, as well as medical, biographical and social facts that the director can gather from the clients’ statements, clinical files, etc. Subjective information. For the purpose of diagnosis as well as planning an intervention, it is important that the director not only seeks the objective “hard facts” of the topic, but also explores the meaning that the protagonist attaches to her narration. The same circumstance (e.g. a conflict with the supervisor) can have different meanings for different protagonists, be associated with very different emotions, cause psychological stress of varying intensities and therefore result in very different requests on the stage. For example, a mother’s statement to her daughter, such as “You are still my dear daughter,” can be a positive expression of

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an intact mother–daughter relationship for one person, or a hassle and distress for another. The psychodramatic action will vary depending on the meaning of the content. Thus, the reconstruction of context, which is the overall aim of psychodramatic work, begins with exploration. Scenic information. A scene is always the starting point of a psychodramatic diagnosis. The scene comprises condensed information on the theme of the protagonist, the specifics of her self and world view, her personality and relationships. A scene is the culmination of the protagonist’s life drama, wherein the problem is expressed metaphorically. The scene, Hutter (2009, p. 193), just as the life situation of the person seeking advice, is over-condensed, i.e. countless, often not even identifiable details flow together to a totality, an “attitude towards life”, a “problem” or just a “life situation”. […] The philosopher Susanne Langer points out that the presented image (for example, a scene or a sculpture) actually contains more complex information than can be communicated in the discourse (in a text or a questionnaire) […]. This added value of presentational versus discursive diagnostics is exhausted by the scenic understanding. (translation S.P.)

The director acquires the scenic information from his interaction with the client not only through her verbal, gestural-mimic, affective and bodily vegetative parts (e.g. inferring the client’s internal state from her posture), but also from his empathy toward and emotional resonance with the protagonist (Moreno spoke of Tele). The director’s own preconscious processes of perception and thought. The reactions of the director during the exploration can be used as an indication of the client’s mental state. Thus, a feeling of aversion to addressing certain issues may indicate a taboo or a need for protection on the part of the client. The director’s empathy is difficult to separate from the transference that relies solely on the director’s own feelings and has no correlation in the client’s mind. Therefore, in this context, the director must pay particular attention to a critical self-distance: It is not objective information, but hypotheses that must be reviewed and, if necessary, abandoned. Developing Content for Exploration The Thomann model (Fig. 10.1, from Schulz von Thun, 2001) is an easy-to-use model for developing the content for exploration. The director should inquire into the four areas of the “house” and, if it is appropriate for the respective field of work, hold onto a piece of paper or a flip chart: 1. What is the systemic context of the topic or the problem? Who all are involved? Under what circumstances does the problem occur? When does it not occur? 2. What are the concrete key situations in which the topic becomes clearly apparent? (Refer to a possible entry-level scene for subsequent psychodramatic processing) 3. How is the protagonist’s inner situation? Which “internal team members”/ “inner voices” exist? (Sect. 14.5); 4. What is the exact request/the exact task? The task should be as concise as possible (Sect. 10.4).

10.3

Exploration of the Topic

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Fig. 10.1 Thomann Schema for a thorough clarification of issues (Schulz von Thun, 2001)

Finally, in order to refocus and narrow down her task as the »roof of the house«, the client should formulate a headline that sums up the essence of her topic. If, for example, the client wishes to work on a conflict situation, the same situation will result in different foci with different “headings”: – “Why did I react like this in this situation?”—clarifying this single situation, – “Why am I reacting like this to this person?”—clarifying the relationship, – “Why do I always react in a similar way in such conflict situations?”—clarifying the background of a behavior pattern. When looking for causes and solutions, it’s helpful to find as many differences as possible that can narrow down the problem area and make resources available. The following questions can help with that: • “When did the problem first appear or when did it become a problem?” • “In which situations does the problem arise, and when is it not a problem?”

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• “What do those situations, in which the problem does (not) occur, have in common?” • “What would be different in your life if the problem were solved?” In many cases, such as when it comes to practicing role behavior, exploration of the client’s inner situation is less of a concern. Methodological design of Exploration There are no binding regulations with regard to the concrete methodological design of exploration. However, the director should conform to the protagonist in his relationship and style of communication. This requirement relates, for example, to language competency, the dimension of proximity versus distance, or the limits of what the protagonist wants to reveal in the respective (group) situation. The interview should take place on stage (not in the group), but whether the protagonist and the director are walking or sitting, for example, depends on the wishes of the protagonist, the intentions of the director, the field of work and the setting. Possibilities of scenic expansion in exploration The basic principle of psychodramatic work is the transformation of psychic and social (that is: intangible) phenomena into a tangible as well as actionable and changeable stage design. This principle can be used in exploration before the actual opening of the psychodrama stage, in order to illustrate and structure the content described by the protagonist. For example, the exploration may provoke different feelings, inner parts, etc., involved in the original problem (e.g. conflict with the supervisor). These can be brought on to the stage by means of empty chairs, scarves or the likes, for example: • Red cloth: anger, • Gray cloth: lack of self-confidence, • Black cloth: general tendency to avoid conflicts. In this way, the protagonist can bring order into the still confused emotional states. These individual aspects may be connected to various questions on the stage, which cannot be processed in a single session: • How can I deal with my anger? • Why am I so self-conscious? • What experiences have I had with conflicts? How can I resolve my behavior patterns acquired over a lifetime? The scenic embodiment of the various thematic aspects can help the protagonist decide on an aspect that she wants to deepen as the play progresses. Exploration can also be used in constellation work (Sect. 4.7), for example, in the clarification of complex family relationships or organizational structures. It should be noted that exploration through scenic expansion heightens the protagonist’s warm-up and may even be an intervention in some situations depending on the intensity of processing and the time requirements.

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Exploration of the Topic

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Important On the one hand, exploration serves to gain information and formulate diagnostic hypotheses as well as to generate ideas for the methodical design of the play. On the other hand, it can offer initial insights and have a therapeutic effect. The prerequisite for this is a structured approach on the part of the director, combined with an attitude of interest and curiosity and a positive relationship.

10.4

Clarification of the Task

Even though general objectives are determined by the contract between the director and the contracting authority (which might be the client herself, but also an organization, e.g. the client’s employer), it is essential to formulate a concrete task at the beginning of each psychodramatic session, specifying which goal should be achieved in the concerned session. This applies in all fields of work, especially if the contracting authority and the clients are not the same people. Example

Organizational Consultation—Clarification of the Task The difference between a contract and a task can be clearly illustrated by using the example of an in-house organizational training: The contract is between the consultant and the human resources department of the contracting company; it refers, for example, to the imparting of skills for constructive conflict resolution. However, the director receives a task from the protagonist; it refers to the goals of the psychodramatic stage (e.g. searching for alternative options to interact with the supervisor).

Criteria for the formulation of the task When formulating a task, one must ensure that the intervention is aligned with the current goals of the protagonist; however, one also has to counter the danger that the chosen topic is too broad, and the goals to be achieved too abstract to achieve any tangible results in the end. The protagonist’s request must therefore be “broken down” accordingly. A phrase like “I want to be able to communicate better” is too vague, especially since the transfer into the protagonist s daily life is already implied (a goal that by definition cannot be achieved within the frame of counseling or therapy). Some of the more appropriate tasks are, for example, “In this session, I want to better understand why I have trouble expressing myself to others in an understandable way” or “In this session, I would like to devise ways of expressing my criticism to my boss more confidently.” During the formulation of the task, the director acts as a moderator, provider of structure and an expert in the psychodramatic process. In his conversation with the protagonist, he must ensure that the task formulated by her is

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• • • • •

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The Action Phase

Easily comprehensible Clear and Consistent as well as Executable within the available time and Executable by those present, i.e. (largely) without the participation of any third parties (Table 10.1). Example Organizational Consultation—Formulation of the Task (Continuation of the case study from Chap. 1) Mr. Gardner: “Well, I think I’ve got a rough idea of what had happened. The next step would be to revive this scene here on stage and see exactly how the conflict occurred. Before we do that, I would like to ask you what exactly you would want to achieve in our work today. Imagine, we’re have been working together here for about an hour – what has to happen in that hour for you to say ‘that was worth it, that answered my questions?’” Mrs. Carlson: “Hmm, what has to happen? I think I would first like to understand what caused the explosion, what led to such a bad mood. And then of course it would be good if it did not happen again.” Mr. Gardner: “So the first question is of understanding: Why did the situation develop in this way? Secondly, you said it would be good if it did not happen again. Obviously, we can not be certain of that. What we can do here is to see what contribution you can make so that such situations do not arise or what you can do to defuse them when they arise. Would that be a question in your interest?”

If one of the above mentioned criteria is not met, this can lead to a disruption in the process. In practice, it is often the case that the client finds it difficult to formulate a concrete task fully. In long-term counseling or therapy processes, the goal of psychodramatic work can then be to formulate a task for the next session at the end of the stage (Table 10.1). The task as an approach for initial methodical warm-up On the one hand, the director is called upon to develop a suitable individual methodical design that exactly fits the question for every task. On the other hand, it can help the director with methodical warm-up to assign one of the following rough categories to the task: • • • • •

Biographical work, Help with decision making, Development of future prospects, Developing ways to deal with a conflict, Role training.

The orientation to these categories is helpful in that it suggests specific possibilities of scenic presentation and goals (Sect. 10.5.2) and thus facilitates the planning of the intervention. In a biographical context, for example, one will work predominantly with scenes from the protagonist’s life, exploring the pros and cons of the available alternatives in the decision-making process and so on.

10.4

Clarification of the Task

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Table 10.1 Criteria for the formulation of task Criterion

Executable task

Unexecutable task

Clarity

“I want to explore what agitated me in my conversation with my boss yesterday” “I would like to confront my biggest fear, even when it will certainly be stressful” “I want to gather aspects of my current job that are bothering me as well as those which I feel are positive”

“I would like to explore the situation with my boss”

Consistency

Executable within the available time frame (e.g. 1 h)

Execution does not wholly depend on a third party

“I would like to know what I can do to improve the work environment in our department”

“I want to confront my biggest fear but the play should not be demanding” “I want to develop three new professional prospects on stage and explore how I am doing in each of these professions in 10 years” “I want the work environment in our department to improve”

10.4.1 Fulfillment of the Task as a Success Criterion? The psychodramatic action ends (ideally) when the task, given at the beginning of the session, is fulfilled (remember that it is the client, not the director, who judges that.) In practice, however, it can be difficult to agree on a task with the protagonist and to pursue it consistently: sometimes the formulated task can lack clarity or change during the course of the play. In these cases, the director and the protagonist must find ways to deal with the situation constructively during and at the end of the play (Sect. 10.9). Important At the end of exploration, the director inquires about the protagonist’s specific task on stage. In contrast to the objectives set out in the contract, which have a longer-term validity for the entire process, this task defines the goal to be achieved in the current session. Clarity, unambiguity, consistency and feasibility in the given context are criteria to be considered when formulating the task.

10.5

Diagnostics and Intervention Planning

Topics like diagnostics and intervention planning, which usually occupy the largest space in the textbooks of other methodologies, are practically untraceable or at best between the lines in the psychodrama literature. This fact has historical reasons: Moreno has spent his life working against pathologizing diagnoses—on the other hand, he definitely conceptualized sociometry as a sociodiagnostic measurement

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tool. As a proponent of spontaneous and creative action, he certainly would not have favored a term like “intervention planning”. On the other hand, diagnostics is not only the classification of “disorders” according to nosological criteria, but more generally the process of gaining information about the condition of the client as well as the background of their experience and behavior (diagnosis in greek = recognize through and through, judge). In this wider sense, the question is no longer whether diagnostic hypotheses should be formulated, but which diagnostic means one uses to decipher the client’s situation. “Intervention planning” refers to those processes that enable the director to choose and make a justifiable decision between two methodological possibilities. Based on this broad understanding of the term, one can argue for a good reason that every professional psychodramatist constantly relies on both processes. The differences exist only in • Which diagnostic means are used, • How one decides on the methodology and • How consciously does this process of diagnosis and intervention planning takes place. In this respect, a supposed choice between “theory-guided” and “free, unbiased” direction is illusory. Moreno’s much quoted statement that psychodrama fathoms the “truth of the soul” must not lead the director to misunderstand his actions as an objective process. This assumption involves the risk of unnoticed manipulation of the clients. In fact, the psychodramatic stage work is a process of co-construction, in which both the client’s reality as well as the director’s interpretation are included: One can describe the activity between the psychodrama director and the client as a piece of shared poetry. It does not reproduce a hitherto hidden reality, a factual truth that has to be unveiled with a detective-like attitude (a mistake that even leading psychodrama theorists commit). Instead, a multi-layered piece of poetry is created during the joint direction and enactment of the play in which the client is the leading actor as well as in the post-production, a pictorial-symbolic representation is found which reflects his experience of the interaction as well as the conflict, his longings and fears, more complete and perhaps more encouraging than the previously dominating images and symbols (Ottomeyer, 1987, p. 88, translation S.P.).

10.5.1 Formulating Diagnostic Hypotheses In order to develop hypotheses about the background of the client’s problem as well as approaches to its elimination, psychodramatists refer to theoretically and conceptually founded interpretational frames (“Interpretationsfolien”, Buer, 1997). While, on the one hand, such interpretational frames contain assumptions about the causal background of the phenomena in question, on the other hand, they suggest derivable target states and possible solutions. Psychodrama can use many such interpretational frames. Moreno himself has contributed a series of interpretation frames based on his therapeutic philosophy, which are certainly of central

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importance to psychodramatists, not least because they correspond closely with the methodological aspects of the psychodrama process. The most important psychodramatic interpretational frames are • The role theory (Sect. 14.3) and • The theory of spontaneity and creativity (Sect. 14.1). However, psychodramatists also refer to psychoanalytic, Gestalt, learning, systemic and other theories as interpretational frames frequently. Furthermore, one can also use personality, developmental and sociopsychological theories, communication models, and models that are specific to the respective field of work (e.g. leadership models, pedagogical or theological theories) and others. An integrative combination of different interpretational frames in accordance with the current problem in a particular case is a promising approach that levels lopsidednesses of the different approaches. Thus, in the case of a client who is distressed by their aggressive reactions in conflict with their partner, • an interpretation in line with depth psychology—the aggression toward the partner could be a result of unconscious identification with the punitive parts of the father, • assumptions based on communication psychology—lack of acceptance of the partner’s perspective, • role theory or sociological explanations—the masculine aggressive role is a socially preformed pattern of behavior—and • many other theories, e.g. lack of awareness of one’s own behavior, do not contradict, but complement each other. It is important that the director maintains a skeptical distance from his diagnostic assumptions—otherwise he runs the risk of the hypotheses taking on a reality of their own and him influencing the client, at least unconsciously, in the direction of these hypotheses. Thus, the director is required to be aware of his ever present implicit or explicit hypotheses.

10.5.2 Developing Process Objectives Diagnostic hypotheses imply assumptions about the cause and occurrence of the problem in question and therefore suggest certain possible solutions: • If one suspects that the client’s aggression toward their partner is a projection, one can implement a treatment approach to uncover and process this projection (e.g. the father–daughter relationship). • If one assumes that the client is behaving aggressively because he lacks empathy and does not notice how much the aggressive behavior hurts the partner, a suitable approach would be to set up the stage in a way that the client gets a feedback on their own behavior or can experience how the partner feels, etc.

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In this way, operationally defined goals (e.g. “developing empathy with the partner”) can be derived from the selected diagnostic hypotheses. These goals specify what needs to be done on the psychodrama stage, in order to achieve the aims defined by the task (e.g. “working out constructive options for behavior when in conflict with the partner”). These goals are known as process objectives. Definition Process objectives are operationally defined goals which, against the backdrop of certain interpretation aids, indicate the processes the client must go through on stage in order to achieve the goal defined by the task. In a goal-means relationship, process objectives refer to the goals defined by the task. They describe the functional steps required to achieve the formulated goals. Furthermore, they differ from the goals defined by the task in the sense that the client would not usually formulate process objectives as a goal per se. This is particularly evident in process objectives relating to defense mechanisms and “resistances” (e.g. “experiencing the damaging effects of one’s own behavior” as a process objective in conflict management). It is impossible to put up an exhaustive catalog of process objectives. Therefore, an exemplary listing of broad categories of process objectives must be sufficient at this point (see Overview). Overview Categories of process objectives Example: Recognising different “inner parts” that are at play in a conflict Strengthening certain parts of the role Example: Strengthening the selfpreserving side of one’s own personality Role extension Example: Developing the unlived aggressive side of one’s own personality Role training Example: Testing a self-confident attitude towards the opponent Developing empathy Example: Changing perspectives with the opponent Assessment Example: Addressing the pros and cons of deciding to deal with the conflict in a certain way Reinterpretation Example: Recognizing that one’s own discomfort in conflicts is a sensitive “measure” of one’s own needs Goal development Development of strategies to achieve the goal

Role Analysis

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Example Therapy—Developing process objectives If we use a role theory interpretational frame for Mrs. Madison’s topic (from our case study in Chap. 2), we can derive the following process objectives: – Mrs. Madison should recognize that her role as a mother needs to be redefined post her daughter’s departure. – Mrs. Madison should realize that her role as a mother is very dominant in her role repertoire and that she must activate her other roles (girlfriend, sister) and make them stronger in order not to be alone. – Mrs. Madison should explore different ways of interacting with her daughter in a new role that adapts to the new situation. – Mrs. Madison should try out one of these ways on stage.

When selecting the process objectives, it is essential to pay attention to the boundaries of the relevant work area and settings. The limits of what can and cannot be addressed are defined by the work area, setting, contract and task. Although the sexual problems of a client may be relevant in the context of a couple therapy, they are certainly not in an elocution training. Even if they were to be relevant according to the trainer, working on such topics is certainly not part of the contract. And even in contexts where addressing sexual difficulties might seem adequate (e.g. in couple’s therapy), the client has explicitly agreed to this task. Ultimately, it is the client who has the authority; she can decide what should and should not be worked on at any point in time.

10.5.3 Developing Process Steps: The “Central Idea” of the Psychodrama Director The selected process objective can be broken down into a sequence of process steps that the protagonist must go through. For example, the process objective “developing ways to redefine the relationship with the sister” in our case study with Mrs. Madison requires the following process steps: Process objective “Redefining relationship with the sister” Step 1 Enacting a scene that is typical of the present role Step 2 Defining the desire for a relationship with the sister Step 3 Developing ways to express these desires Step 4 Role Training: Testing and amending the new behavioral possibilities. Definition Process steps denote the methodological stages that one must go through to achieve the defined objectives. The planning of the sequence of process steps is often referred to as the “central idea” of the director (Fig. 10.2) in psychodrama. This central idea represents the

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methodological framework, a “script” which the director uses as a frame of reference during the play. Especially in moments when there is methodical confusion on stage or the director loses track due to his own involvement, it is helpful to remember the central idea and follow up on it. Important The director’s “central idea” determines the sequence of process steps. According to the psychodramatic basic principle of reconstructing and reshaping the client’s subjective reality, he outlines the dramaturgy for the external process which helps guide the protagonist’s inner process. The director must not forget that the definition of process goals, steps, arrangements and central idea is based entirely on his diagnostic hypotheses. If these hypotheses prove to be unacceptable, the play must be changed accordingly. Therefore, the director must recheck continuously whether a given hypothesis proves to be a viable basis for further progress or not. The director must take into account the available time frame, when developing the central idea. It is better to play a long and intense scene than a plethora of hectic scenes that offer the protagonist too little experience. Process models for the action phase The central idea must be individually designed for each game. It must be tailored to the setting, the task, director’s diagnostic hypotheses and process goals, time available and so on. Generally, psychodrama process models facilitate intervention planning, but narrow the possibilities of adapting differently to the specific requirements of the respective stage. In Moreno’s classic psychodrama theory, the protagonist’s (and the group’s) emotions and arousal continue to increase until they finally reach a peak in the moment of catharsis. Hollander (1969) formulated this ideal-typical course in a known process model as a guideline for the director (Fig. 10.3). Even this model can claim only limited validity because a cathartic course is not favorable for every problem. Moreover, the protagonist can gain new insights into her behavior, gain access to her emotions or discover new behavioral possibilities even without an emotional “light bulb moment” (the concept of catharsis and its criticism will be discussed in detail in Sect. 14.2.2). The spiral model developed by Goldman and Morrison (1984) assumes, in the context of depth psychology, that unresolved problems and conflicts in the present represent unconscious continuation of a pattern created in childhood. In this model, psychodrama aims to gradually return the protagonist from the present to the original childhood scene, to enable a cathartic experience there and then develop and practice new processing methods for the present and the future. This concept can be a good structural aid when working with depth psychology as a theoretical framework—however, the psychodramatic spiral is not suitable as a general model because the inevitable path to regression and catharsis—”anger,

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Fig. 10.2 Central idea of the psychodrama director

Fig. 10.3 Hollander psychodrama curve (Hollander, 1969)

tears, primal scream”—is not appropriate for all topics, protagonists and work areas, as suggested by Goldman and Morrison. Holmes (1992) distinguishes between a horizontal and a vertical level of process planning: – On the horizontal level, one works purely on topics relevant to the present time such as clarifying current issues and conflicts. In our case study, this could mean clarifying the mutual role expectations between Mrs. Carlson and her bosses. – On the vertical level, however, one considers and works on the etiology of these issues and conflicts in the context of the client’s biography. The vertical level comes into play, for example, as soon as the conflict with the boss reveals an unresolved conflict with the father.

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Important According to the principle “from the periphery to the center,” one should approach anxiety-laden scenes carefully; it is also often useful to begin in the present and progress from there into the past when working on biographical issues with an orientation toward depth psychology.

10.5.4 Selection of Suitable Scenic Arrangements In the next step, a suitable methodological implementation must be found for particular steps in the process. The scenic, action-oriented and experiential approach is characteristic of psychodrama—however, it is not necessary to choose a psychodramatic arrangement for every step in the process. The concrete implementation of the principle of scenic work can look very different: In addition to the re-enactment of real events from the past, which is often considered to be the ultimate for any psychodramatic work, a number of different arrangements such as impromptu, role-playing, sculpture work and much more can be used (Chap. 4). According to the principle of surplus reality, the goal is to “replicate” the protagonist’s (intangible) reality in a (tangible) scenic arrangement. This is not about transforming it into a “realistic” reproduction of all emotions, relationships, etc., but about the symbolic consolidation of the significance of the protagonist’s subjective reality. In the scenic enactment of real-life situations, there is often a suitable entry scene—as in our example of organizational consultation—right from the point of inquiry: The protagonist wants to analyze the argument with her boss. In many cases, however, a possible entry scene will not be so obvious, and the director, together with the protagonist, has to look for a meaningful entry-level scene that best expresses the problem to be dealt with. During exploration, the director can explicitly inquire about the scene which is best suited (e.g. “When did you become aware of your feelings of anxiety for the first time?”). Often the protagonist can name the »key scenes« about her own conflict. If the protagonist offers several scenes, as is the case occasionally, the director must hear “between the lines” to see what is most relevant, by paying attention to • Which scene is being described first, • Which scene does the protagonist speaks about the longest or • In which scene does the protagonist express the strongest emotional reaction. The protagonist can join in deciding which scene should be played. According to the psychodramatic principle “from the periphery to the center”, the play should not begin with a traumatic scene, as this would lead to defensive reactions. Therefore, if the director knows or can assess whether a negative event is being touched upon in the play, he should choose an entry scene that is further away from the negative event.

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If the process objective is to test a new course of action (role training) or to explore the consequences of a particular decision (future projection), scenes from the future can be enacted in a similar way. One can even enact completely fictional scenes while role-playing, for example, in training seminars. In all cases, however, it is about a largely realistic representation of what has happened, is still happening or could happen. In surreal arrangements, on the other hand, the reality is abandoned. The experience of the protagonist/group here is not a reflection of a real situation, but a purely metaphorical one. Such a metaphorical experience is expanded, for example, with the court technique already used by Moreno: A “court hearing” with judges, witnesses, prosecutors and defense attorneys is enacted on a psychodrama stage, embodying the guilt-ridden inner parts of the “accused” protagonist. The setting on stage is—in terms of external criteria—completely unrealistic, since such a negotiation could never come about. In its surreality, however, it represents a striking metaphorical image of the protagonist’s inner reality, which is reinforced by the echoes of the symbolism of the Last Judgment. Thus, the surreal arrangements do not aim to depict a real or fictional situation of everyday life, but to translate the “inner reality” of the protagonist into a scenic metaphor which, like a dream image, contains the invisible building blocks of meaning that lie at the basis of they experience as reality. The development of coherent surreal arrangements places high demands on the director’s creativity and spontaneity. In exploration, he must follow the feelings and images that arise in him during the protagonist’s play. He must demonstrate high accuracy in the selection of the image to be enacted, since the protagonist can easily “fall out of the scene” if it is not connected to her experience. Another difficulty lies in choosing arrangements and techniques that are suitable and productive for the specific requirements of the particular protagonist and her topic. Finally, the director must succeed in establishing a reference back to the reality of the protagonist at the end of the scene in question. Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980) “Metaphors we live by” can provide important suggestions for the “translation” of everyday language into metaphors. Important The decision for a suitable scenic arrangement is made after exploration and clarification of the task. This may include, for example, the depiction of a process, the scenic reproduction of structures with the help of constellation work, “surreal” arrangements, or working on a fictional or a real situation from the protagonist’s life. In the latter case, one must find a representable entry scene.

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Setting up the Stage

After exploration, the director opens the stage with the arrangement that he has selected for the entry scene (here, we assume that a specific scene has been decided upon for the psychodrama work, alternative processes are outlined in Chap. 2). The protagonist sets up the entry scene with the help of the director, whereby, for example, when reconstructing an office, one must pay more attention toward creating an atmosphere that gives the protagonist, the director and the group a coherent image of the “gestalt” of the space than the completeness of the entire facility. To begin with, the director will ask about the orientation of the room, e.g. the location of doors and windows. Then, he will ask about other relevant features of the room e.g.: “What’s important in your office?” or “What else shall we put on stage so that you feel like you are in your office?” Usually, the protagonist will name items of furniture such as table, chairs and cupboards. These are to be structured in such a way that their orientation on stage corresponds to the real situation. The group must have an unobstructed view into the scene. For example, if the audience is unable to see the face of the protagonist because she is sitting at her desk with her back to the group, then the entire office that is recreated on stage must be rotated 180°. Usually, one can create a dense, realistic atmosphere with just a few pieces of furniture. If one wants to fill the scene with even more life, they can ask the protagonist about the color of the walls, whether things are scattered on the floor or on the table, if the room looks rather light or dark, etc. One can verify whether the protagonist experiences the scene as realistic, by asking “Is your office complete or is something missing?” The group can be very helpful in creating the necessary atmosphere. For example, the right mood and background noise for a scene in the pub can be generated by all the group members taking the role of pub visitors and talking aloud, raising toasts, etc. The atmosphere created while setting up the scene is a determining factor of the extent of emotional depth attainable in this scene. The director should be aware of this fact in order to “facilitate” an emotional experience in certain topics or for specific protagonists by placing more contextual stimuli; on the contrary, an intense emotional experience may not be desirable in other situations. In any case, when setting up the stage, one must ensure that the props do not pose any danger to the participants. Important In psychodrama, one can create an atmosphere with fewer means—a table, some chairs and other furnishings—such that the participants experience it to be quite realistic. The setting up of the stage is thus a means of design for the director, which should be used sensibly, depending on the chosen objective to achieve or avoid an intense emotional experience.

10.7

10.7

Casting the Auxiliary Ego Roles

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Casting the Auxiliary Ego Roles

If the protagonist’s interaction partners appear in the entry scene, then the auxiliary ego roles required at the beginning of the scene are filled. The protagonist chooses those who seem suitable for the respective roles from among the present participants. There are, however, several reasons for deviating from this rule occasionally: Sociometric considerations The choice of roles is influenced by personal factors—from sympathy to the projection of negative attributes—and the choice of the role of the protagonist is also attributed by the elected persons as a sociometric decision. This can appear to be disruptive in cases where negative roles or roles associated with eroticism and sexuality are to be occupied. Here, the protagonist fears that her choice will burden her relationship with the concerned group member even beyond the end of the play. In these cases, the director may ask for volunteers to fill the role. Protection against negative emotions Another problem is the casting of roles that are associated with heavy negative emotions (e.g. aggression, hatred, fear). Playing such roles can be damaging to the auxiliary ego. It may therefore be useful to cast the role with two auxiliary egos instead to distribute the strain. On the other hand, casting one role with two auxiliaries can maximize the experience for the protagonist, which is not helpful in all situations. Particularly problematic, negative and conflicting roles can be taken over by a co-director, represented by a chair (empty chair) or in extreme cases left unoccupied. Therapeutic considerations The director may, for therapeutic reasons, select specific group members for a role, for example, if he hopes that a shy participant will benefit from playing the role of the seducer. The auxiliaries should not be called onto the stage until they are needed so as not to interfere with the warm-up of the participants through prolonged inactivity before the action begins. It is usually advisable for the protagonist to equip roles with characteristic attributes: These may be pieces of clothing or objects (e.g. a file folder); different colored scarves are also useful, although not in every setting. These role attributes make it easier for the auxiliary egos to identify with the role. The fact that warming-up to the role is partially tied to external attributes also makes it easier to discard them with those attributes at the end of the play. Nevertheless, equipping roles with characteristic attributes should not become the general rule, as this quickly degenerates into a meaningless exercise. Here again, technical decisions are made for content-related and not ideological reasons. The role attributes are also exchanged between the protagonist and the auxiliary ego during a role change, and the protagonist introduces the auxiliary ego from his role. The director may ask questions such as “What is your name?”, “How old are you?”, “How do you look?”, etc., to guide the exploration. When the director, the group and the auxiliary ego have got an impression of the role, the protagonist returns to her role.

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Choosing a stand-in for the protagonist Some psychodramatists work with a permanent stand-in for the role of the protagonist. After the auxiliary ego roles are cast, the protagonist chooses a group member who takes over her role for the entire duration of the scene. The protagonist remains at the interview level during the play and takes on her own role only in those passages where she has to interact directly with one of the other roles. This method is particularly recommended when the protagonist does not need to warm up too much for the topic at hand, for example, when playing anxiety-laden scenes. A direct role change with the antagonist is avoided. In general, looking at events from a constant distance (mirror position) opens up different perspectives and offers insights when compared to remaining in the role. Other psychodramatists use the stand-in only selectively and let the protagonist usually act in her role in surplus reality. The advantages here are complementary to the above-described method: It is more experiential and the protagonist is more involved. Both ways of working have their own specific advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the decision to use the stand-in (beyond individual preference and style of direction) should be handled flexibly on a case-by-case basis depending on the indications. We will continue to describe the psychodramatic work without a permanent stand-in subsequently, in particular because of the simpler presentation. Important After setting up the stage, the roles required at the beginning of the scene are occupied by auxiliary egos. Usually, the protagonist selects the other participants, but the roles can also be played by volunteers, taken over by the co-director or occupied with auxiliary objects (e.g. chairs). The latter is especially recommended for anxiety-laden or aggressive roles, as playing those could overwhelm the auxiliary egos as they would the protagonist. If one wishes to work with a permanent stand-in, the protagonist must choose a group member for this function before the psychodramatic action begins.

10.8

The Psychodramatic Action

10.8.1 Entry into Psychodramatic Surplus Reality and the Psychodramatic Interview At this point in the play, the setting up of the stage and the casting of auxiliary ego roles have already created an experiential space in psychodramatic surplus reality. As the protagonist takes her place in the scene, for example, by sitting down at the table that embodies her writing desk, she leaves the psychodramatic interview space and plunges into the surplus reality of the play. In surplus reality, the protagonist is to

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experience all the scenes as if they were happening in the here and now. The purpose is not only to re-enact the scenes, but also to relive them in line with the goal of the psychodrama. There is another change of roles and levels that takes place: Role reversal: Mrs. Carlson is now no longer in the role of a participant in the conflict management seminar (reality) on the psychodrama stage, but in the role of an employee of her boss (surplus reality) Change of location: The action takes place in the office (surplus reality), the seminar room (reality) moves into the background Change of time: Mrs. Carlson is taken back from the reality of the seminar to the point of conflict with her boss in psychodramatic surplus reality The action levels of psychodrama shown in Fig. 10.4 correspond to the three levels of Moreno’s historical stage in Beacon (Chap. 3, Fig. 3.1). In order to help all participants undergo this spatiotemporal change and build empathy with the scene, the director should “highlight” the new situation. The following are some options for doing this: • Changing the location considerably from the place of exploration, to the action venue, • Inquiring into the context of the situation (e.g., “What day is it today?”, “What time is it?”, “How has your working day been so far?”, “How are you feeling?”), • Addressing the protagonist as if she was no longer in the seminar room but in her office (“What are your tasks here in the company? How long have you worked here? How do you relate to your colleagues?” etc.). One can expect the protagonist and the auxiliaries to “drop out of their role” over the course of the play, i.e. they may formally be present in a specific role at a certain psychodramatic level of action, but may act as if in a different role or level of action. There are several ways to deal with this situation: 1. If it’s just a brief “lapse,” the director can bring the protagonist back into her role by re-engaging her in that role. 2. If the protagonist clearly has difficulty being in her role, the internal role reversal should be re-enacted externally, i.e. the protagonist moves from the level of surplus reality back to the level of the psychodramatic interview (e.g. “I would like to ask you to step out of the role again - how is it for you to play this role?”).

Important The change in the protagonist role is connected with a change in situation and thus with a change to another spatial and temporal level. This change in level should be accomplished on the psychodrama stage by a corresponding change in location; the director should no longer address the protagonist as a seminar participant, but in the role she holds in the concerned situation.

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Fig. 10.4 Action levels of the psychodramatic process

The scene is now played until the first interaction with an auxiliary ego takes place. The dialogue is developed in a role reversal, in that the protagonist takes on the auxiliary ego role and contributes the share of the conversation from this position (Sect. 4.3). In this way, the entire action can be reconstructed in a constant role reversal.

10.8.2 Selection of Action Techniques Depending on the objectives of the process, the director will use various psychodramatic techniques during the action phase: • Promoting understanding of the roles of interaction partners: role reversal, • Expansion of the protagonist’s self-perception: double, • Feedback about the protagonist’s own behavior: mirror. We have discussed the details on indications and contraindications as well as hints for the use of the different action techniques in Chap. 5. However, the director is not bound by a fixed canon of techniques; rather, he is encouraged to be creative in adapting to the requirements of the situation while observing the basic rules listed in Sect. 10.8.3. Figure 10.5 gives an overview of the entire process from order to diagnostics to the derivation of action techniques.

10.8

The Psychodramatic Action

Fig. 10.5 The process in the deductive strategy of psychodrama direction

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We have selected two sequences from our case study to illustrate how one can gain insights by working with psychodrama. Example Organizational Consultation—Selection of action techniques Role Change Mrs. Carlson: “Hello, Mr. Mason. I would like to take a leave of absence next week. Is that possible?” Role change, Mrs. Carlson is now in the role of supervisor; Auxiliary ego repeats the question. Mr. Gardner: “Excuse me, Mr. Mason. Before you answer, I would like to ask you something. What are your thoughts on Mrs. Carlson asking you if she can take leave? “ Mrs. Carlson (as boss): “Well, it is a bit unexpected. I am somewhat caught by surprise. I think I find it to be quite outrageous, simply the way Mrs. Carlson asked the question.” Mr. Gardner: “Why do you find the question to be outrageous?” Mrs. Carlson (as boss): “I don’t know. Perhaps it’s the urgent tone of voice. And certainly because I don’t even know what it’s all about, why Mrs. Carlson wants to take a leave of absence.” Mr. Gardner: “Mrs. Carlson has also arrived half an hour late to work today - did you notice that?” Mrs. Carlson (as boss): “Hmm … yes, she met me in the hall, at half past nine.” Role change back Mr. Gardner: “We will now step out of the scene for a bit - your boss has perceived the situation quite differently than you?” Mrs. Carlson: “Yeah, I did not realize it in the situation that he might have felt a bit offended.” Mr. Gardner: “What could that mean for the future when you have a similar conversation with your boss?” Mrs. Carlson: “I should think about how I start the conversation. I think if I had said at the beginning that my son is ill and needs surgery, the conversation would have been very different.” Mirroring Boss (played by Mr. Ray): “I do not need a secretary tell me how to run the company!” Mrs. Carlson: “Sorry, I don’t mean to sound like I’m dictating to you… Well, I surely will cope with it if I don t get a leave of absence, it just would have been personally important to me.” Mr. Gardner: “Ms. Prota, I would like to ask you to step out of the scene and select someone from the group who can represent you in this scene for a moment; you can then look at the whole interaction from the outside.” Choice of a stand-in, the director and the protagonist go to the edge of the stage. Stand-in and auxiliary ego enact the scene again. Mr. Gardner: “When I look at the situation from the outside, I can see you are really struggling.” Mrs. Carlson: “Yes, that’s so typical of me, that if someone bothers me in a conflict, I am backing away.” Mr. Gardner: “Do you remember the conflict resolution strategies that we discussed yesterday?” Mrs. Carlson: “Yes, the “flight” strategy. I just realized that I gave up and retreated in that moment.”

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General information on role reversal and the mirror technique can be found in Sect. 5.3 and 5.5, respectively.

10.8.3 Basic Rules for the Psychodrama Director Safety first! Psychodrama is an experiential method that can trigger strong emotions in the protagonists, auxiliaries and spectators, at worst until their ego becomes unstable. As experts in psychodrama, we often tend to underestimate the impact of our interventions on clients less familiar with psychodrama. It is therefore all the more important to consider the impact of a particular intervention in advance. The director must pay careful attention to the boundaries of the setting, the contract, the group process, the time available and, most importantly, their own methodological and psychological competence. This requires training and practice under constant supervision. Embrace your responsibility for all involved! Even though the director’s responsibility toward the protagonist is of paramount importance during the game, they must do justice to their responsibility toward all participants. This starts with little things: Auxiliaries who have been standing for a considerable amount of time should be offered a chair to sit; the director must ensure that the protagonist does not have their back to the group for a long time and if necessary repeats the spoken passages louder for the group (unless it involves confidential information), so that the audience can see and hear what is happening on stage. Above all, the director must pay attention to not only the protagonist’s state of mind, but also the participants: For example, if a spectator or an auxiliary ego appears to have a strong emotional reaction during the play, they should address that person and try to stabilize them soon, without interrupting the play drastically. The presence of a co-director, who can take care of the group member in a one-to-one conversation while the play continues, turns out to be extremely helpful in such situations. The ability to sense the group’s psychological state (attention, fatigue, aggression, silliness) is an important diagnostic tool that is often not used enough by less experienced directors. For example, if the director has senses that the group is emotionally very involved, they can proactively invite participants to double. The director can also use the warm-up and empathy of the group by calling for intermediate sharing and feedback. Be impartial and protect minorities! The director is expected to protect the minorities in the group without being partial. The term “minority” refers to those group members who are particularly affected by discrimination or are at risk in that respect. Each group tends to establish power structures, power imbalance and repressive norms as conditions for power and

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discrimination through sociometric choices. Those members, who are victims of discrimination even outside the group (Chap. 20), due to • Their geographical and cultural origin, • Their gender or religious affiliation or • Due to language barriers or other factors are particularly vulnerable. Give action the priority! Psychodrama is a highly action-oriented method, especially when compared to other methods which lay emphasis on verbal communication. After exploring the topic, one must not (only) talk, but also act. The protagonist can gain insights by enacting (Greek “drama”) his inner world (Greek “psyche”), which would otherwise remain undiscovered through mere verbalization. A short psychodramatic enactment can make problems and possible solutions more succinct and obvious as compared to a lengthy verbal analysis. The rigid application of this rule, however, entails the risk of sliding into superficial “over-acting.” It is not possible to gain an intense experience or a different perspective of one’s own emotions in a restless, action-packed game. In case of protagonists who find it difficult to get in touch with their own emotions, the director should use the slow-motion technique and allow them to stay in the present moment for longer. Be non-directive! In psychodrama, the protagonist is the author and director of their play. Their reality, and not the way the director or the group perceive it, is brought on to the stage, and they are the sole authority for what happens on stage. The only function of the director is to help the protagonist shape their subjective reality on stage. The director should follow the protagonist’s instructions and offer his methodology as a suggestion and an offer, not as a rigid prescription. The protagonist always has the right to cancel or change a scene. Foster spontaneity! Firstly, the protagonist and ultimately all participants are not supposed to reproduce predefined “role-conserves” (as in a prefabricated screenplay), but follow their own action impulses spontaneously and creatively. The director’s task is to create the necessary conditions for a free development of the participant’s spontaneity. This also means adopting a sensitive approach to “resistance” to change. While the resistance on the part of the participants must be respected and the protagonist “is permitted to be as unspontaneous or inexpressive as he is in that moment” (Moreno, 1965, p. 76), the director must also enable the fearless processing of topics filled with resistance (for further information see Chap. 17). Act in the ‘here and now’! In psychodrama, all participants must experience the scene as an ongoing reality, regardless of whether an event of the past, the future or a fantasy scene is being enacted. The director should ensure that all participants speak in the present and out

10.8

The Psychodramatic Action

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of the role they hold at the moment. One can expect the protagonist to “fall out of the role” repeatedly during the play, i.e. they start speaking from their role as a seminar participant instead of the situation in which the processed event took place, e.g.: Director: “What is going through your mind now that you are entering the church?” Protagonist: “I don’t remember exactly what was going through my mind back then.” In such a situation, the director should ask the protagonist to step out of the scene. Make it tangible! The director should stage the play in such a way that it corresponds to the protagonist’s inner world as far as possible. They should bring the protagonist’s thoughts, feelings, inner images and voices on to the stage as vividly and tangibly as possible. One way to implement this principle is to use the technique of personification of feelings (Sect. 4.7). Be with your protagonist! The director should constantly offer the protagonist their attention, emotional affinity and support during the play as well as the integration phase. They should always be attentive to the protagonist’s thoughts and emotions and steer the play according to the protagonist’s needs. Move from the periphery to the center! In order to avoid resistance and stress responses in case of strong negative topics (e.g. re-enacting a traffic accident), the director should select an entry scene located in the periphery of the problem (e.g. waking up on that day). The director then has to lead slowly and carefully toward the “central scene” (i.e. the accident itself). Restore the ego function at the end of the play! In the therapeutic processing of biographical topics, the client is purposely brought into a state of regression and intense emotional experience, which leads to catharsis. The client must not be discharged in this state of regression and destabilization. Instead, the director must implement ego-strengthening interventions, suspension of regression, cognitive integration, interventions for assuring transfer and stabilization of the defense toward the end of the play. The return to the here and now is usually ensured by the integration phase, but should possibly be initiated during the play in some situations, for example, by a short final scene from the present or the recent past (see the “psychodramatic spiral” model, Sect. 10.5.3). Include all group members! A protagonist-centered psychodrama is not only for a single person but ultimately also a play for the group. The director, protagonist, auxiliaries and spectators must always be in close contact with one another. The director should not only involve the group out of a sense of necessity, but use it as an important diagnostic and therapeutic tool that facilitates their work. In practice, these “co-therapeutic” resources of the group are often left unused.

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Be transparent! The director should be as transparent as possible in their approach to the group; the process analysis serves this specific purpose. The dynamics within the group and on stage should also be disclosed and if necessary, processed, for example, in the case of any disturbance, unless this exceeds the boundaries of the contract. Further rules for the frame of psychodramatic work Discretion is another important rule for working in groups, which should be explicitly agreed upon in the first session. However, in practice, it is of course unavoidable that group members carry personal information about the protagonist outside the group. In long-term working groups, it is also important that most participants come for all sessions, as repeated absence of individual participants disturbs the group process. Finally, we want to elucidate Kanfer’s “11 Laws of Therapy” (Kanfer, undated), which are also valid when working with psychodrama in therapeutic and non-therapeutic settings: Kanfer’s “11 Laws of Therapy” 1. Never ask your clients to act against their own interests! 2. Work with an orientation toward the future, look for concrete solutions and pay attention to your clients’ strengths! 3. Do not play “God” by taking responsibility for the lives of your clients! 4. Do not cut off the branch that your clients are sitting on, before you have helped them build a ladder! 5. The client is always right! 6. You do not know what it’s all about, until you see the problematic behavior clearly! 7. You can only work with clients who are present! 8. Take small, practical steps on a week-to-week basis and beware of utopian long-term goals! 9. Remember: Everyone’s information processing capacity is limited! 10. If you work harder than your clients in the therapy session, you are doing something wrong! 11. Do not hold back your appreciation for the progress of your clients!

10.8.3.1

Ending and Changing the Scene

When the scene or an arrangement seems to have reached its fullest potential, the protagonist returns to the action space of the psychodramatic interview. This is followed by a reflection and cognitive integration of the experience and insights

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gained in the process thus far. If the process needs to be continued, the director leads the protagonist to the next arrangement—Kipper (1986) describes these phases of the psychodramatic interview as “connecting scenes” between the “core scenes”; Leveton (1991) refers to them as “bridges.” The goal of the game is considered to be achieved and the task fulfilled, once the protagonist has gained an insight. But it can also be followed by a repetition of the scene in which the protagonist tests and practices new ways of dealing with the situation. Important Indications for ending and changing a scene: • • • •

Objective of the process is achieved, In-depth exploration of an aspect in another scene, The play reaches a “dead end” and needs a new stimulus, Suspending regression (as it occurs, for example, in a childhood scene) by changing into the action space of the psychodramatic interview or to a second scene on another temporal level (into the present), • Processing resistance: The protagonist must confront the topics that she averts by repressing/denying in the first scene, again in a second scene (Krüger, 1997, p. 201; as well the following remarks on “working with parallel stages”), • Reaching the time limit. In all cases, especially when a scene is ended due to lack of time, it is important to ensure a clean ending: The stage should be dismantled, the auxiliaries discharged from their roles, and the props “de-roled” (“… if a table has been used as a pedestal for the coffin in a morgue, it might be difficult to sit down to have dinner on it in the next scene”, Casson, 1998, p. 80). The protagonist should be able to complete the scene not only externally, but also “internally,” for example, by addressing negative experiences in the scene and strengthening inner resources. Working with parallel stages In certain situations, the director may decide to open a second stage without dismantling the first scene. The stage of the first scene is merely moved to the side so that there is space for the second scene on the stage. The second stage is used to enact an aspect of the theme associated with the first scene, but with a different objective, before the play changes back to the first stage. Both stages should be clearly demarcated with a rope, chairs, etc.

10.9

Closing

Lastly, the director ends the play after assuring that the protagonist considers the task fulfilled. The protagonist discharges the auxiliaries from her roles, the scene is dismantled, the stage is closed and the integration phase begins. The activity level

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of the participants must now be reduced back to an “everyday resting level” (also Fig. 10.3). The aim is to initiate a “reverse” warm-up process that allows the protagonist, the auxiliaries and, to some extent, even the spectators to “wind down” after the warm-up and action phase, just as an actor does by removing makeup and stepping out of his role at the end of the play. Therefore, the process of discharging roles must be executed with care and in no case may it be forgotten. It is often recommended that the protagonist dismantles the stage herself. It is also important that the auxiliaries discard the role attributes (such as garments and props) assigned to them by the protagonist at the beginning of the play. While the ritual of discharging oneself from the roles itself makes sense, one has to decide on a case-by-case basis which form is appropriate in the respective context. Ideally the protagonist (as well as the director) should be satisfied with the course of the play and consider the task fulfilled. But this does not always occur. It so happens that • • • • •

The complexity of the topic, The lack of time, Lack of energy on the part of all those involved, The protagonist’s “resistance,” Inadequacy and lack of inspiration on the part of the director

or other factors make it impossible to achieve a satisfactory ending in accordance with the original task. The protagonist possibly has more questions at the end of the game than before. Although, theoretically, this does not indicate a poor performance, it is not always easy to deal with such a situation in practice: One way or another, the stage has to be brought to an end, and the participants (the protagonist, the group and the director) have to cope with dissatisfaction, feelings of failure and often also mutual aggression. In such a situation, the following possibilities exist: – The protagonist, the director and the group agree on an extension of time. – The protagonist and the director agree to work on the unaddressed questions at a later meeting (possibly also in an individual setting). – The director encourages the protagonist to further pursue the same topic in a different context (e.g. talking to friends, counseling or therapy). – The remaining time is used to reflect why the task could not be fulfilled, on the meta-level. The remaining time is used to develop an “immediate program” that allows the protagonist to get a grip on at least the most urgent problems temporarily (Sect. 16.4). – The remaining time is used for a final ritual (e.g. the protagonist finds a sentence for each inner part on the stage, which makes it easier for her to finish the play for the time being).

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Closing

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Important The stage is closed when the protagonist’s task is fulfilled. It is not possible to have a satisfactory conclusion in all situations—at the end of such a play, one can secure what has been achieved, collect thoughts and questions for clarification later, reflect on the process on the meta-level or have a short crisis intervention to stabilize the protagonist. At the end of the play, the auxiliaries are discharged from their roles and the stage is dismantled. Even when the protagonist’s “problem” has been solved and everyone is exhausted, care must be taken to diminish the warm-up from the roles in the end.

10.10

Summary

In the action phase, the protagonist’s or the group’s chosen theme is presented and processed in a scenic manner. The action phase can be very different depending on the field of work, the setting and the method. In the case of the protagonist-centered plays described here, the director opens the stage at the beginning of the action phase, explores the topic and clarifies the task for the following stage work. While the task is formulated by the protagonist in terms of a goal, it is the director’s job to design objectives of the process and steps on the basis of the task and his diagnostic hypotheses, which can help achieve the protagonist’s goal. The director selects—in consultation with the protagonist—an arrangement that transforms the topic at hand in a scenic manner. The actual action begins in psychodramatic surplus reality, once the stage is set up and the auxiliary ego roles are cast. The director controls the course of the play on the basis of his “central idea,” his diagnostic hypotheses as well as his spontaneity and empathy. He uses action techniques that direct the dynamics of the play in the desired direction. When the specified goal defined by the task is achieved, the auxiliaries are discharged, the stage is closed and the integration phase begins.

References Buer, F. (1997). Zur Dialektik von Format und Verfahren. Oder: Warum eine Theorie der Supervision nur pluralistisch sein kann. OSC Organisationsberatung – Supervision – Clinical Management, 4(4), 381–394. Casson, J. (1998). The stage – the theatre of psychodrama. In M. Karp, P. Holmes, & K. B. Tauvon (Eds.), The Handbook of Psychodrama (pp. 69–88). London: Routledge. Goldman, E. E. & Morrison, D. S. (1984). Psychodrama: Experience and Process. Phoenix: Eldemar. Hollander, C. E. (1969). A process for psychodrama training: The hollander psychodrama curve. Denver: Snow Lion Press.

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Holmes, P. (1992). The inner world outside: Object relations theory and psychodrama. London: Routledge. Hutter, C. (2009). Szenische Diagnostik in der Beratungsarbeit. In P. Pantucek & D. Röh (Hrsg.), Perspektiven Sozialer Diagnostik. Über den Stand der Entwicklung von Verfahren und Standards (S. 189–202). Münster: Lit. Kanfer, F. H. (undated). Kanfer’s Eleven Laws of Psychotherapy. Unpublished manuscript, Psychological Services Center, Champaign, Illinois. Kipper, D. A. (1986). Psychotherapy through clinical role playing. New York: Brunner/Mazel. Krüger, R. T. (1997). Kreative Interaktion. Tiefenpsychologische Theorie und Methoden des klassischen Psychodramas. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Leveton, E. (1991). A clinician’s guide to psychodrama. New York: Springer. Moreno, Z. T. (1965). Psychodramatic rules, techniques and adjunctive methods. Group Psychotherapy, 18(1–2), 73–86. Ottomeyer, K. (1987). Lebensdrama und Gesellschaft. Szenisch-materialistische Psychologie für soziale Arbeit und politische Kultur. Wien: Deuticke. Schulz von Thun, F. (2001). Praxisberatung in Gruppen. Weinheim: Beltz.

Chapter 11

The Integration Phase

“Give truth and receive truth; give love to the group and it will return love to you; give spontaneity and spontaneity will return.” (Moreno 1953, p. 114).

11.1

Functions of the Integration Phase and Tasks of the Director

The integration phase involves gradually bringing all the participants back from surplus reality to everyday reality. This return begins with the discharge of auxiliary egos from their roles and the dismantling of the stage in the final phase of the play (Sect. 10.8.3). After completion of the intensive phase, the situation is as follows: • The whole group participated in the play to varying degrees and in different roles—as a protagonist, as an auxiliary ego or as a spectator—the participants have had different experiences in these different roles. The integration of these experiences into the group process is still pending. • The auxiliary egos are still occupied with the experience of their role—they may have been angry at the behavior of the protagonist, wanting to distance themselves from the unpopular aspects of their role, etc. • The protagonist has been at the center of the group for quite a while—she may be ashamed of the weaknesses she has shown, or is afraid of having bored the group with her problems. To address this situation, psychodrama has developed two tools, which are the key elements in the integration phase: sharing and role feedback. Here, the feedback to the protagonist is of importance. Thus, justifications and discussions as well as a “relapse into the action phase” should be avoided. The director, in this phase, has to monitor compliance with the rules of sharing and feedback as described below. His responsibility to the protagonist is not yet finished. He must therefore continue to show the presence by sitting next to the protagonist and following her reactions closely. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_11

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11.2

The Integration Phase

Sharing

The protagonist reveals intimate aspects of her personality during the play. She feels she has exposed her weaknesses, helplessness, fears and wounds to the group. She now needs acceptance, support and validation from other participants. This is the purpose of sharing, the first part of the integration phase. Sharing (in the sense of participate in, share with) takes place in a closed circle. The participants begin by sharing with the protagonist their own feelings, which arose during the play as well as similar experiences from their own life story (example). This makes the protagonist feel completely understood. Important The director must ensure that no evaluations are mixed in the feedback from the participants during sharing, especially in groups that are unfamiliar with psychodrama—the sharing should • Represent a personal statement in the first person, • Neither be judgmental nor interpretive and • Not include any advice for the protagonist,

even if implicit evaluations, interpretations and advice always play out intentionally or unintentionally. Example Appropriate Sharing • “I can relate to the strategy of avoiding conflicts through flight. I was previously employed by another company, where I did not get along with my colleague. But I never mentioned that and eventually quit.” • “I can understand how stressed you have been due to your son’s illness. I think it would have been hard for me to have a peaceful conversation with my boss in such a situation. If there is a difficult situation concerning my family, then I can’t concentrate in the office that day.” Inappropriate Sharing • “Do you know this book from… it is about a conflict in a company…” (No personal statement) • “While watching the play, I thought to myself: Why does she not discuss the issue with a colleague first? I imagine that would be a very good strategy.” (Advice) • “I don‘t like the fact that you are running away from the conflict. One should face the circumstances, nothing else helps.” (Evaluation)

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Sharing

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• “I think your insecurity with respect to the boss is due to an unresolved conflict with your father.” (Interpretation, no personal statement).

If a participant violates the rules of sharing, the director should point this out and explain why their contribution is rejected. The feedback during sharing must be “selectively authentic,” i.e. one who cannot or does not want to give feedback does not have to do so. The director can also share, depending on the setting and their comfort. It is important to ensure that the director’s contributions do not highlight their weaknesses to the extent that it would jeopardize their authority in the group.

11.3

Role Feedback

In the role feedback following the sharing, the auxiliary egos give feedback on how they experienced their roles. The protagonist gains insight into the dynamics of her relationships with fellow human beings through role feedback—beyond what she learned during the action phase (e.g. through role reversal); she learns how she and her behavior affect her relationship partners. The role feedback can thus be an important factor in aligning one’s self-image with the external image. Even the role feedback must be a personal statement without too much analysis. However, it is a bit different than sharing: • A role feedback can certainly be a piece of advice, provided that it is given out of the role of the auxiliary ego and not as a group member (following example) and • The discussion around biographical references should be reduced to a level appropriate to the play and relevant to the protagonist in the framework of a feedback. Example Appropriate Role feedback • As the boss: “As a boss, I could not assert myself in a different way, other than being aggressive. I did not have anything against you as a colleague, but I had the feeling that if I simply approve your leave, I would lose my authority as a leader.” • As the colleague: “I admired you when you spoke openly with the boss – as a colleague, I did not have the courage to do that.”

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• As the boss: “I feel that you could have achieved more, if you did not attack me with such conversations, but made an appointment.” (Advice given in the form of a feedback from the role of the auxiliary ego). Inappropriate Role feedback • As the boss: “My role was a classic example of a Type X supervisor following Meyer and Schulze’s leadership theory…” (No personal statement) • “In my role, I noticed some references to my own life. Here is a brief outline of my biography: I was born on 17.04.1973 in Chicago. The time was marked by…”. (Too dissolute, no apparent connection to the theme of the protagonist).

The role feedback is beneficial not only to the protagonist, but also to the participants. They were all emotionally involved during the play. In this respect, the director must ensure that all participants have ample opportunity to discuss their own involvement in order to reduce any impending tensions, etc. The need for clarification may extend beyond the affordability of the role feedback (the focus remains on the protagonist) and require a subsequent discussion or even lead to a warming-up for another protagonist play. In practice, however, the restrictions of the time frame will often allow a relatively shorter clarification. Considerations for the Sequence of Sharing and Role feedback Some psychodramatists suggest swapping the order of sharing and role feedback, i.e. to begin with role feedback immediately after the play, and then follow up the sharing. They argue that the auxiliary egos will continue to remain warmed up if their role has not been completely discarded. Immediate role feedback allows them to share their experience in the role and, if necessary, discard it. Binswanger (1980) uses a psychoanalytic position to argue against allowing role feedback directly after the play: The protagonist is still in regression, she is not fully aware and her ability to understand is not yet fully present. Due to the still existing transference, she does not experience the role feedback as feedback from the auxiliary ego, but rather … from her Introjects (…). However, this can not be understood by the protagonists who are still in regression. The words of the auxiliary ego thus carry significant weight in role feedback and undoubtedly enhance the power of the protagonist’s introjects, with the danger of shielding the character and “perfecting” the neurosis. (Binswanger 1980, p. 234).

By upstream sharing, the protagonist regains her ego functions and critical faculties, thereby avoiding the potentially damaging effects of role feedback. We believe that the decision to choose one of the two variants can be made by the director depending on the situation and the course of the play:

11.3

Role Feedback

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• If the protagonist has regressed deeply, or brought a theme concerning shame onto the stage, it might be more appropriate to start with sharing, • If many of the auxiliary egos are warmed up, one can start with the role feedback.

11.4

Identification Feedback

The fact that the play triggers emotions in the participants is not limited to those who act directly on stage. Beyond the identification of the audience with the protagonist and the auxiliary egos with their roles, there are often strong identifications with one or more of the displayed roles. An identification feedback helps participants express these feelings (e.g. “If I put myself in the role of your boss, then I think …” or “I can imagine that as a colleague I would have a problem with that …”). An identification feedback can help recognize those participants who are warmed up, as well as provide the protagonist with further information about the motives of their interaction partners. Many psychodramatists usually omit the identification feedback. At this point, the process can be interrupted for the first time for a longer break.

11.5

Summary

The integration phase helps • • • •

Gradually bring the participants back from surplus reality into everyday reality, Put together and expand the experience gained in the action phase, Reduce excessive warming-up and, where appropriate, Bring the group together again.

In sharing, the group members (or the director) tell the protagonist which aspects of the enactment they can relate to from their own lives. In role feedback, the auxiliary egos (or, in monodrama, the director) provide feedback on how they felt in their role and their experience of interacting with the protagonist in that role. If individual participants have identified themselves with roles that they did not play in the game, they can share that in the identification feedback.

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References Binswanger, R. (1980). Widerstand und Übertragung im Psychodrama. Gruppenpsychotherapie und Gruppendynamik, 15(3/4), 222–242. Moreno, J. L. (1953). Who shall survive? Foundations of Sociometry, Group Psychotherapy and Sociodrama. New York: Beacon.

Chapter 12

The Appraisal and Integration Phase

Moreno described Psychodrama as the chance to dream again. Some would argue that the act of processing detracts from the richness and the magic of the experience. They fear that in processing a session something is lost or taken away. Contrary to this fear I feel that the act of processing can be likened to to a hall of mirrors, reflecting back the observed phenomena to all concerned, thus adding another dimension rather than detracting from the experience. I have known it to be viewed as supportive, enlightening, and helpful. (Jefferies, 1998, p. 190)

The appraisal and integration phase isn´t usually considered a part of the actual psychodramatic process. But of course, the protagonist’s development does not end with the closing of the stage. The psychodramatic work is usually embedded in a longer process in which insights from psychodrama are organized and processed with other methods.

12.1

Functions of the Appraisal and Integration Phase and Tasks of the Director

After the end of the action phase, the protagonist and the group have gone through an intense experience which needs to be verbally processed and cognitively integrated in order to “make sense” of it completely. At this stage, there isn’t enough clarity on the significance of the psychodramatic surplus reality on the reality level and it’s consequences on the participants’ lives. The function of the analytic and integration phase is therefore to interpret the psychodramatic experience and draw conclusions. It has to be adapted to the field of work, setting, task and time budget. However, the director can consciously decide against such a reflective process if they consider it (as in Gestalt psychology) more productive to deliberately keep the process open and more closely related to the experiential level.

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_12

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Processing

In processing, the play and its dynamics can once again be reflected on from a “higher point of view.” At this stage, the emotional and accepting atmosphere of the play recedes as a more cognitive and normative component comes to the fore. Thus, processing must begin only after a reasonable break, in order to allow all participants to distance themselves from the previous events. To begin with, the director can explain his hypotheses, methodology and decisions during the play, before he responds to participants’ questions and criticisms. Processing helps make the play transparent for the group. It “demystifies” the play and opens it up to alternative interpretive possibilities. Thus, in the view of constructivism, psychodrama is not a reflection of reality, but a construction that would also be possible otherwise. Processing is about contrasting the outcome of the play with these other possible realities. The following are some of the possible questions for analysis: • The causal assumptions about the occurrence of the problem (e.g., can the protagonist’s lack of assertiveness in the play be a consequence of hierarchical dependencies?); • The way in which the persons involved were represented (e.g., to what extent did sexist stereotypes influence the portrayal of female roles?), • The group dynamics prevalent in the play (to what extent have we as a group influenced the outcome of the play to our convenience, e.g. by doubling?). In psychodrama training groups, processing has an obvious learning value for the participants. But it is also useful in certain other fields when adapted to the specific context. In many cases, for example, when working with children’s groups, one will let go of the processing. Further thoughts on this application can be found in Jefferies (1998) and Kellermann (1992); the latter includes a detailed catalog of key questions for processing.

12.3

Analysis and Integration

In learning groups (e.g. in in-company and external training, in school settings), processing can be supplemented or replaced by a cognitive phase which is not included in classical psychodrama. The psychodramatic element is embedded in the context of a seminar or a teaching session. In such a phase, the protagonist’s conflict could, for example, be analyzed again using the conflict model developed in the seminar. At the same time, care must be taken to ensure that the protagonist experiences these further reflections as enriching and not disparaging of her personal weaknesses and deficits. One must also ensure that one doesn’t stir up emotions which have already been processed in the course of the integration phase.

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It is possible to go further beyond this cognitive embedding of the play and introduce as well as practice conflict management techniques in small groups. The cognitive phase would thus correspond to an intensified analysis of a role-play unit.

12.4

Summary

As part of processing, participants and director discuss the course of the play in the light of several possible alternatives. After all, one can always continue working on the content of the play and build on the respective topic, in the sense of theoretical expansion.

References Jefferies, J. (1998). The processing. In M. Karp, P. Holmes & K. Bradshaw Tauvon (Eds.), The Handbook of Psychodrama (pp. 189–201). London: Routledge. Kellermann, P. F. (1992). Processing in psychodrama. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama and Sociometry, 45(2), 3–73.

Part III

Theoretical Foundations of Psychodrama

Introduction Psychodrama is not only a multifaceted method of therapy and counseling, but also a method with an independent theoretical foundation. These central building blocks of this theoretical foundation are described in Chap. 14: spontaneity and creativity, tele, encounter theory, social networks’ theory, as well as role theory. Moreno was undoubtedly the first person to develop a solid concept for the professional use of dramatic play; however, the roots of psychodrama go further back: The use of dramatic play for the purpose of psychological and social reformation already features in the rituals of the primitive man. Dramatic elements such as the enactment of hallucinations and delusions were used in medicine intensively as early as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Moreno continued this long tradition with psychodrama and, for the first time, developed a concept that methodically opens up possibilities of dramatic play in psychotherapy, counseling and other fields of work. In addition to psychodrama and group psychotherapy, Moreno’s “triadic system” includes sociometry. An understanding of sociometry is critically important when working with psychodrama. Moreno was never focused solely on the individual, but always on the individual as part of a social network. He was convinced that a change in the individual is never possible without a change in the community. In his opinion, every interaction is characterized by latent relational (e.g. tele) and group dynamics, which influence the process of social integration and thus affect the mental state of the individual. In order to explain and understand these relationships, Moreno developed assumptions and tools that allow a description, measurement and change of group structures and dynamics. An entire chapter is dedicated to sociometry (Chap. 15).

Chapter 13

The Life of J. L. Moreno and the Origin of Psychodrama

Moreno often made reference to the year 2000, claiming that although his ideas might be premature for the twentieth century, the next century would belong to him. (…) The future of Morenean ideas will be enhanced by the rediscovery of Moreno ‘as a whole’, as a philosopher who rooted his philosophy in the concrete existence of every human being. The big challenge ahead, it seems to me, (…) to build and rebuild on Moreno’s foundations in a coherent, systematic, and all-encompassing way. However, it is still difficult to grasp all the facets and contradictions of the man himself (…). (Marineau, 1989, p. 153)

Jacob Levy Moreno (1889–1974), the founder of psychodrama, has played many roles in his eventful life: a therapist, a doctor, a poet and a revolutionary of theatre and society as a whole. Moreno was an ingenious pioneer of many psychological and sociological concepts that are taken for granted today, but also a controversial eccentric. Therefore, some of the reservations about psychodrama are probably less directed toward the method than toward its creator. Whatever one may think about Moreno as a person, his life, his role diversity, his philosophy and his visions have left a lasting impact on psychodrama. The multifaceted nature of the psychodramatic approach is really only to be understood against the background of his life history. Therefore, this chapter should also be recommended to those readers who otherwise skip the obligatory historical overview in textbooks. 1889: Birth of a myth—the myth of a birth Jacob Levy Moreno was born on 18th May in the year 1889 in Bucharest under the name Jacov Moreno Levy. The fact that he later changes his original surname Levy to his father’s first name, Moreno Nissim Levy, is an expression of his intense but also ambivalent relationship with his father, who is often absent as he was a traveling merchant. His father and mother, Paulina Iancu, come from a family of Sephardic Jews, who were expelled from Spain in 1492 by Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon and finally arrived in Romania over several generations via Turkey.

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Moreno himself stated May 20, 1892, as his date of birth—a detail that was later disproved based on the birth register of the city of Bucharest. He describes a version of the circumstances of his birth in his autobiography, which causes confusion and contributes to the “Myth of Moreno” till date: I was born [May 18, 1889] on a stormy night on a ship sailing the Black Sea from the Bosporus to Constanta in Romania. (…) No one knew the identity of the ship’s flag. Was she a Greek, a Turkish, a Romanian, or a Spanish ship? (…) When World War I broke out in 1914, no one knew whether I was a Turk, a Greek, a Romanian, an Italian, or a Spaniard because I had no birth certificate. (…) I was born a citizen of the world, a sailor moving from sea to sea, from country to country, destined to land one day in New York harbour (Moreno, 2011, p. 22)

The creation of this myth may be considered as Moreno’s attempt to compensate for the feeling of being uprooted, which originates from his family history and perhaps also the unavailability of his father, by giving it a new meaning; Moreno’s date of birth “20th May 1892” (as stated by him) refers to the date of the discovery of America and the year of the expulsion of the Sephardic Jews from Spain. Using the self-created myth, Moreno distances himself from his uncertain familial and national roots and defines himself as a “citizen of the world” who chooses the entire universe as his new home—an idea that will be encountered several times in the course of Moreno’s further life story. Even though his account of events is not historically accurate, it brings us closer to Moreno’s personal, subjectively perceived “truth” (as he admits elsewhere)—Moreno speaks of “psychodramatic and poetic exactness” (Moreno, Moreno & Moreno, 1964, p. 7). 1890—1894: Moreno’s childhood in Bucharest and the role reversal with God Moreno spends the first five years of his life in Bucharest. At age 4, he attends the Sephardic Bible School, where he is taught about God. He re-enacts what he heard there with the children in his neighborhood: a table with several rows of chairs stacked on top of each other in a makeshift manner acts as a sky, and Jacob takes his place in the role of God on top. The angels circling beneath him ask him whether would also like to fly, and Jacob spreads his arms … a little later he lands on the floor and breaks his arm. This incident was, as Moreno writes in his autobiography (Moreno, 2011), the first psychodrama session he ever conducted. The idea of making a “role reversal with God” (and thus connecting with the creative forces of the universe he feels in himself and in his environment) accompanies Moreno through his life and flows into the development of psychodrama. 1895—1909: The vision in Chemnitz and the birth of Moreno’s therapeutic philosophy The family moves from Romania to Vienna around 1895 and from there to Chemnitz via Berlin around 1905. It is, at this time, that the failure of parental marriage begins to emerge. The arguments and family tensions have an adverse impact on Jacob. Plagued by frustration and self-doubt, he seeks for answers to his questions about the meaning of life and his existence in the writings of Nietzsche

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and Kierkegaard, in the Bible and the books of the saints (Paulina Iancu visited a Catholic school and passed her enthusiasm for Jesus Christ on to the Son). In front of a statue of Christ in a park in Chemnitz, he experiences a vision that changes his life. It also presents as the initial inspiration for the later development of his therapeutic philosophy and psychodrama: In the intensity of this strange moment I tried with all my will to have that statue come alive, to speak to me. (…) Then it seemed to me that the statue was about to speak and I listened intently. (…) This was the moment of my decision. The question was, how would I choose: was my identity the universe, or was it with the particular family or clan from which I had sprung? I decided for the universe (…), because I wanted to live on behalf of the larger setting to which every member of my family belonged (…). My decision meant that all men and women were my brothers and sisters, that all mothers and fathers were my mothers and fathers, that all children, whoever their parents, were my children, and that all women were my wives, that all the property in the world was my property, and, in reverse, that all my property was the property of the world. (…) From that time on there was a new surplus of meaning in everything I did, and in everything which was done around me. There was an excess of feeling, of joy or depression, or love or of anger. It was the way lovers feel in their first excitement at finding one another. The sun, the stars, the sky, the trees seemed bigger. Colors seemed brighter. All events seemed more dynamic to me than they seemed to other people. If a child was born, if a man died, if a fire broke out, if a stranger came in the door, it all seemed so deeply significant, bursting with riddles and questions, and a challenge to my most interior sense of values. (Moreno, quoted by Marineau, 1989, p. 24)

Jacob stays in Germany only for a short time and returns to Vienna at the age of 16, where he lives with some family friends. From then on, he lives without his parents, who separate a little later. 1910—1914: Encounters in Vienna and the birth of Group Psychotherapy Moreno begins studying medicine at the University of Vienna in 1910, after taking courses in philosophy. He earns his living by working as a private tutor for the children of wealthy families. At this time, there is a spirit of the “Fin de Siècle” in Vienna. The imperial and royal era is coming to an end, and on the contrary, the First World War casts its dark shadow ahead. Social structures, science, art, religion and technology are undergoing a transition. The waning of the old is replaced by the yearning for a new world experience and new self-expression—it is the beginning of the era of Expressionism. It is characterized by • Innovations in music (e.g. Mahler, Schönberg), • The social reform movements (e.g. Garden City Movement, Life Reform Movement, Naturism), • The acceleration of life through the invention of automobile, railway and telephone, • New developments in the literature (e.g. Storm, Rilke, Kafka, Mann), philosophy (e.g. Nietzsche, Kierkegaard) and art (e.g. Kokoschka, Beckmann, Munch).

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A large part of these movements, which believed in creativity, the removal of conventions and the existence of the creative power of God in human beings, begins in Vienna, and so it is not surprising that even the young Moreno is captured by this wave of expressionist “Zeitgeist.” Many aspects of Moreno’s life and work, which seems odd today, are easier to understand in the context of these historical landmarks. The experience in Chemnitz and the mood at the time encourages Moreno to take on the role of a prophet. With a flowing, reddish blond “Christ beard” and a long green coat, which he wears quite regularly and which becomes his trademark, he makes an appearance that certainly causes a sensation in the bourgeois environment of Vienna (Fig. 13.1). Moreno gathers a circle of like-minded people to discuss philosophical and theological ideas and puts them into practice consequently. The focus is on ideals such as authenticity, encounter and charity. In order to put personal vanities behind their common values, this group of friends would appear anonymously in the public: We were all committed to the sharing of anonymity, of loving and giving, living a direct and concrete life in the community with all we met. We left our homes and families and took to the streets. We were nameless but were easily recognised by our beards and our warm, human, and gay approach to all comers. (Moreno, 2011, p. 51)

The group rents a house where everyone is welcome and could stay without paying rent. There are colorful inscriptions on the walls with the following proclamation: “Come to us from all nations. We want to give you shelter” (Moreno, 2011, p. 52). What begins as a forerunner of the Encounter Group is growing into Fig. 13.1 Moreno as a young man. All pictures are reprinted with friendly permission of Zerka Moreno

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an asylum for refugees of the impending World War I. Moreno and his friends help the refugees to find work and organize medical care for them. In this spirit of encounter and social-revolutionary engagement, Moreno, together with a doctor and a journalist, builds a group for prostitutes at Spittelberg. One could perhaps call it the first self-help group in history: Moreno organizes regular meetings where women would meet to discuss issues around discrimination, diseases and other problems; he provides them with medical and legal aid, as well as sets up a relief fund. The women pay into the fund themselves. This is the first cornerstone for the development of group psychotherapy (Sect. 14.4.2). Moreno’s work with the prostitutes at Spittelberg is inspired by the Marxist ideas that are present “in the air” at the time. It is at the same time that Moreno turns against the purely economic orientation of Marxism and is of the opinion that conditions need to improve starting right from the smallest unit of society, the interpersonal relationship. The idea of encounter continues to inspire Moreno even during his frequent walks through the parks and gardens of Vienna, especially the “Augarten” north of the city center. Here, he enthusiastically observes children’s spontaneity and playfulness, begins to tell them fairy tales and enacts spontaneous plays that attract children (and adults) in large numbers: It seemed to me that they were bodily removed from their drabsurroundings and brought into a fairy land. It was not so much what I told them, the tales themselves, but it was the act, the atmosphere of mystery, the paradox, the becoming real of the unreal. (Moreno, 2011, p. 46)

The idea of the psychodramatic surplus reality and the nucleus for the further development of the theatre of spontaneity are born just as the first sociometric experiment in actu: Moreno asks the children to search for “new parents” who would fulfill their wishes. To their parents’ horror, the children actually start the search. By evening, all the children had chosen their own parents so that they all could be as happy as their parents and go home with well-established family ties. Moreno’s work with the children ends when the police and school authorities stop what they perceive to be suspicious activities. In 1914, Moreno summarizes his philosophy (Moreno also speaks of “religion”) of the encounter in three little books that are published as “Invitation to an Encounter” under the name “Jacob Levy”; the philosopher Martin Buber, who is considered to be the founder of the concept of encounter today, published his work “Me and You” only 9 years later. In addition to action research, the role concept and many other concepts, Moreno claims the authorship for this as well. The fact that Buber is influenced by Moreno’s work is also likely given the contact between them later. 1915—1916: Moreno’s work in Mitterndorf and the birth of Sociometry What began as the first spark of sociometric thinking in Vienna’s Augarten is then expanded by Moreno during his work as a medical assistant in the refugee camp in Mitterndorf near Vienna. He notes that many social problems in the camp stem from conflicts (between different nationalities and political attitudes, men and women or between refugees and personnel) and visualizes himself writing to the government suggesting to reorganize the camp on the basis of sociometric criteria.

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On the basis of the results of a survey, residential and working groups should be formed by bringing together those residents who feel sympathy for each other. Even despite the difficult living conditions, he was convinced that the sociometric reorganization could alleviate some of the problems in the camp. 1917—1920: The Cafe Museum and the birth of Psychodrama While working in Mittendorf, Moreno spends a large part of his free time in Viennese coffee houses, especially in the Cafe Museum and Cafe Herrenhof. Both coffee houses were popular among artists and intellectuals in the city. This is where Moreno comes in contact with Martin Buber, Robert Musil, Arthur Schnitzler and others. In 1918, he launches a journal for existential philosophy called “The Daimon,” renamed “The New Daimon” in 1919 and “The Companions” in 1920. The journal was published by a cooperative publisher, which was supported by some of the important personalities of the Viennese intellectual life: Alfred Adler, Albert Ehrenstein, Fritz Lampl, Hugo Sonnenschein and Franz Werfel—Franz is one of Moreno’s closest friends at the time. Moreno himself is the senior editor and writes numerous articles. In addition to the cooperative members, Martin Buber, Max Brod, Alfred Döblin, Oskar Kokoschka, Heinrich Mann and many others published in the new journal. In October 1919, Moreno takes up a job as a community doctor of the city of Bad Vöslau. At the same time, he works as a company doctor at the resident’s worsted yarn factory. Being substantially secured by the double salary, Moreno decides—in the spirit of the former House of Encounters in Vienna—to practice anonymously and free of charge for the patients: “I went to the farthest extreme with the idea of anonymity. In Vöslau I was just known as the Doctor. I had no shingle on my door, nor did I have prescription blanks” (Moreno, 2011, p. 91). A young woman from Vöslau Marianne Lörnitzo becomes his assistant, lover and muse. It is through her that Moreno finds his way back to the mission he embarked upon after the experience in front of the statue of the Christ in Chemnitz: I suddenly felt reborn, I began to hear voices, not as a mental patient does, but as one who feels that he can hear a voice that reaches all beings and speaks to all beings in the same language, a language that is understood by all men, gives us hope, gives us direction, gives our cosmos direction and meaning. The universe is (…) infinite creativity. And this infinite creativity (…) ties us together. We are all bound to one another by responsibility for all things. There is no limited, no partial responsibility. And our responsibility makes us, automatically co-creators of the world (…) (Moreno, quoted by Marineau, 1989, p. 62)

In this mood of ultimate inspiration (Marineau, 1989), Moreno experiences a second vision: one night he writes the message that the voices whisper to him, with a red pen on the walls of his house in Vöslau. This results in a long expressionist poem, the “Testament of the Father,” published in 1920, which Moreno considers as his most important work and which anticipates many concepts in a poetic form that become meaningful for psychodrama many years later: • Surplus reality, • Spontaneity,

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• Shared responsibility and • Common creation, • Encounter (Marineau, 1989). Moreno conducts his first psychodramatic therapy session in Vöslau with a patient who wants to commit suicide. For weeks they talked about planning death: the man wrote his last will, discussed at length different ways of killing himself, ate with renewed appetite knowing it might well be his last meal, and acted out different scenarios. He did this with the help of Moreno and Marianne; she was then what came to be called in psychodrama an ego auxiliary. The patient was the protagonist, and Moreno the director. Moreno talked about this patient as his first ‘residential patient’. (…) The patient spent many weeks in Vöslau, living in a local hotel. (Marineau, 1989, p. 68)

The success of the treatment validates Moreno’s action-oriented approach, which is contradictory to the common psychoanalytic doctrine of his time which states that the “acting out” of symptoms has a neurotic character and is harmful to the patient. However, these approaches developed into the method of psychodrama only years later. 1921—1924: Theater of Spontaneity in Maysedergasse and the birth of Sociodrama In addition to his work as a community doctor in Vöslau and his work as a publisher, engaging with theater and its renewal is also at the focus of Moreno’s interest. Engaging with theater helps understand psychodrama, because it is the impromptu play-not psychotherapy-that stands at the beginning of its methodological development historically. Moreno was convinced that free play, as he had experienced with the children in Vienna’s Augarten, can unleash one’s creative potential and lead one back to freedom and creativity. Stereotypical patterns of behavior, on the other hand, must be broken through and expanded through authentic self-expression by the release of spontaneity. In the context of this philosophy, it is not surprising that Moreno rejects traditional theater with its fixed roles that forces the actor into an inauthentic corset. On several occasions, he and his friends stormed the stage during a performance to denounce the rigidity of conventional theater. In his autobiography, Moreno reports about a performance of “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”: It was our notion to awaken the actors and the spectators from their “histrionic sleep.” (…) My companion posed as the real Zarathustra, sitting in the audience, aghast at the violence done to his character by the actor and the playwright. The “real” Zarathustra ordered the actor to play himself, not Zarathustra. After my friend confronted the actor and the playwright, I went up on the stage and presented my radical philosophy. I called for the tearing down of the institution of the theater in order to create a new theater which would not just “mirror the sufferings of foreign things…but play our own woe.” I wanted to create a theater of genius, of total imagination, the theater of spontaneity, in line with the work I was doing with the children in the parks of Vienna. (Moreno, 2011, pp. 80–81)

To translate his vision into reality, Moreno rents the comedy house on April 1, 1921. When the curtain rises in front of more than 1000 spectators, the stage is empty,

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and there are no actors and no script, just a throne, a crown and a purple cloak. Moreno’s goal in the post war situation of political disorientation is the search “… of the king of the world, of that king, who cannot be chosen, but who must be recognized because he exists as an idea and has his true habitat in the heart of mankind” (Moreno, 2011, p. 82). His invitation to those present to take on this role, however, does not lead to a satisfactory result: “… the test must have been too difficult. No one passed it. When the show was over, no one was judged worthy of being a king. The world remained leaderless” (Moreno, 2011, p. 82). This attempt to “turn the public into actors, actors in their own collective drama, the collective drama of social conflicts in which they were daily involved …” (Moreno, 1995, p. 80, translation S.P.) forms the blueprint for the later elaborated concept of the sociodrama. Frustrated by the negative reactions to his provocative public experiments, Moreno founds a theatrical troupe called the “Stegreiftheater” (impromptu play) in Vienna’s Maysedergasse (a lane on the backside of the famous Hotel Sacher) in 1922. In addition to enacting skits, the group of actors enact the current events chosen by the audience; the topics are taken from newspaper articles (origin of the technique of the living newspaper Sect. 9.3). Subsequently, the audience could follow the development of the stage sets by fast painters and the makeup of the actors. When there are conflicts between two married actors, Moreno decides to play out the domestic strife on stage. This is another step toward the development of psychodramatic methods. The elements of psychodrama (protagonist, director, stage, spectator, auxiliary egos, cf. Chap. 3) are just as recognizable as early forms of role reversal and the double. In 1923, Moreno summarizes his experiences in “DasStegreiftheater.” He proposes four forms of revolutionary theater: 1. The Theater of Conflict, based on the incident in the performance of “Thus spoke Zarathustra,” 2. The Theater of Spontaneity, based on the spontaneous plays in Augarten and Maysedergasse, 3. The Therapeutic Theater or Theater of Reciproque, a form of family therapy in situ: Family members enact a conflict in order to gain some perspective and distance, 4. The Theater of the Creator, based on the life of Jesus of Nazareth. This book, says Marineau (1989, p. 81), “contains most of the ingredients of Moreno’s philosophy. It still lacks unity, but the basis of sociometry, group psychotherapy, and psychodrama is there.” 1925—1934: Moreno’s work in New York and the development of Sociometry Moreno leaves Vienna on 21.12.1925 to emigrate to America. One can only speculate on the real reasons for this decision: • Perhaps it is the hopes in his invention, the “automatic magneto-electric loudspeaker”, a design of a sound recording and playback device, • Perhaps the self-made scandals that make life in Vienna increasingly difficult,

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• Perhaps even the anti-Semitic enmities or • His self-reproaches after the suicide of a member of the theater group. Moreno’s claims that he had entered into a contract with the “General Phonograph Corporation” were refuted by Marineau (1989, p. 180, note 3). In any case, the first few years in New York constitute a difficult phase in Moreno’s life. Although he forms a theater group and offers lectures in schools and universities, he is still denied success and recognition. In order to obtain a residence permit in the USA, he enters into a pro forma marriage, which is to be dissolved at the earliest. He breaks his relationship with Marianne, who stayed behind in Vöslau. It is only in 1932 that Moreno seems to have gained a foothold again. He gives a lecture at the annual meeting of the “American Psychiatric Association,” where he presents his concept of Group Psychotherapy—a new term and a hitherto unknown form of therapy which took shape in the early years in Vienna and “officially” saw the light of the day in the USA. Moreno is commissioned to conduct an investigation into the relationships between inmates at Sing Sing Prison to help improve the rehabilitation process. The “New York State School for Girls” in Hudson becomes aware of Moreno through this study and appoints him as the Research Director. Moreno then asks all the 10,000 or so school girls with whom would they like to live and work together the most and translates the results graphically into sociograms. However, research alone is not enough: The school community is actually redesigned according to the identified sociometric preferences; in addition, Moreno also conducts role plays and psychodramas to change the students’ attitudes and social behavior and train them. This is an early example of the action research method developed by Moreno and merely popularized by Lewin. The newly developed sociometric method is described in “Who Shall Survive?” (1934), a book that has attracted great international attention. Furthermore, Moreno also found two journals, “Sociometric Review” and “Sociometry,” before shifting his interest to psychodrama. However, his work in Hudson does not only pay off in terms of his professional life: Florence Bridge, a student who did an internship at the girls’ school, becomes his wife and the mother of their daughter Regina in the following years. 1935—1974: Moreno’s work in Beacon and the development of Psychodrama In 1935, Moreno buys a house in Beacon, New York, about 100 km north of Manhattan near the Hudson River. The “Beacon Hill Sanatorium” is opened the following year (Fig. 13.2). The house of the anonymous circle in Vienna and the stage of the theatre of spontaneity in Maysedergasse had become a recognizable model for Beacon and its therapeutic concept: Patients and staff, including the families of the patients, live together on the premises and share everyday life. A three-level stage specially designed for psychodramatic purposes (Fig. 13.3) is the center of all activities. The philosophy of the sanatorium is focused on creativity and encounter, not professional distance and cool efficient thinking. However, Beacon was not just a therapeutic clinic for Moreno, but also

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Fig. 13.2 a, b Moreno gesticulating. All pictures are reprinted with friendly permission of Zerka Moreno

Fig. 13.3 Stage situation. All pictures are reprinted with friendly permission of Zerka Moreno

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… a laboratory to test his hypotheses about mental health, his theory of the dyad creativity/ encounter, the numerous techniques of psychodrama, and the limits of group psychotherapy. Gradually, the term psychodrama came into general use, the role of the director, the auxiliary egos, and the protagonist were clarified, and techniques were refined: it was at Beacon that the birth of psychodrama really took place. (Marineau, 1989, p. 134)

Beacon is also the place of another birth: In the summer of 1941, Moreno begins a relationship with Celine Zerka Toeman, who took his ex-wife Florence’s place. He forms a deep spiritual connection with Zerka. She becomes his new muse, his second wife and gives birth to Jonathan in 1953. Zerka Toeman Moreno has had a significant influence on the development of psychodrama, which is reflected in numerous joint publications and continues even today. In addition to his work as a therapist in Beacon, Moreno begins to impart his knowledge to interested experts as a lecturer and trainer. He found the Society for Psychodrama and Group Psychotherapy as well as two training academies in Beacon and New York. The British government develops great interest in Moreno’s work during World War II. A one-month residency by a British Major in Beacon brings sociometry, psychodrama and group psychotherapy to the British Army’s selection process, training and rehabilitation. In 1944, Moreno presents his ideas at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, 12 years after his first lecture on group psychotherapy. But in 1944, there were still people at the meeting who were unaware of the importance of group therapy. A symposium on group psychotherapy was scheduled for the convention and assigned to a small room holding only seventy people. So many people signed up for that symposium though, that it had to be transferred to the largest meeting room at the hotel. (Moreno, 2011, p. 134)

In 1946, “Psychodrama, Volume 1” is published in Moreno’s own “Beacon House.” It is the first independent book on psychodrama, although it is a partly enigmatic collection of various philosophical-literary writings—starting with Moreno’s “Invitation to an Encounter” of 1914—than a systematic introduction to the method. A year later, a new journal was founded: “Sociatry,” renamed several times later and now published as “The International Journal of Action MethodsPsychodrama, Skill Training, and Role Playing.” “Sociometry, Experimental Method and the Science of Society” is published in 1951. The second volume of “Psychodrama”—an exploration of other forms of psychotherapy and discussion forum for critics and advocates of the psychodramatic method—followed in 1959. Two years later, the “World Academy of Psychodrama, Group Psychotherapy and Sociometry” was established to coordinate the international dissemination of Moreno’s approach to teaching and application. Moreno is occupied with education, scientific activities and lecture tours to such an extent that the clinic in Beacon had to be closed in 1967. From then on, he devotes himself entirely to training programs and publications. In 1969, the third volume of “Psychodrama” is published which is dedicated to the description of various psychodrama techniques.

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Fig. 13.4 Moreno as an old man with his wife Zerka. All pictures are reprinted with friendly permission of Zerka Moreno

Moreno suffers several minor strokes in 1974. Although he continues to experience residual symptoms of paralysis, he does not want to resign. After all, he has lived all his life filled with agility and activity (Fig. 13.4). He puts an end to his life by refusing to eat; Moreno dies on May 14, 1974. In 1993, Moreno’s remains were returned to the Vienna Central Cemetery and buried there. The inscription on his gravestone reads: “Jacob Levy Moreno—The man who brought joy and laughter to psychiatry.” A few years before his death, Moreno received two honorary doctorates from the Universities of Vienna and Barcelona. Moreno must have been particularly happy about this recognition as it concluded the symbolic journey that led back, via Vienna and the New World, to the place of his ancestors’ expulsion in 1492, and that was also the birthplace of “Myth of Moreno” for him.

References

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References Marineau, R. F. (1989). Jacob Levy Moreno, 1889–1974. Father of Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy. London: Tavistock. Moreno, J. L. (1923). Das Stegreiftheater. Potsdam: Kiepenheuer. Moreno, J. L. (1995). Auszüge aus der Autobiographie. Köln: inScenario. Moreno, J. L., Moreno, Z. T., & Moreno, J. D. (1964). The first Psychodramatic family. Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L. (2011). The Autobiography of J. L. Moreno M. D. www.lulu.com.

Further Reading Moreno, J. L. (2019). Autobiography of a Genius. www.lulu.com (466 pages) (A fascinating, moving and at times bizarre insight into the life of Moreno and the development of psychodrama). Ameln, F. v., & Wieser, M. (Ed.). (2014). Jacob Levy Moreno Revisited (273 pages). Wiesbaden: Springer VS. (Special issue dedicated to Moreno’s 125th birthday with reflections on Moreno’s contributions to science and practice, but also moving “birthday greetings” by friends and companions like Zerka, Regina and Joseph Moreno, Grete Leutz and John Nolte).

Chapter 14

Basic Theoretical Concepts of Psychodrama

Moreno valued experience more than books, action more than words, and had an antipathy towards what he termed cultural conserves; that he wrote at all is only another contradiction that we have to deal with. (Marineau, 1989, pp. 44–45).

Jacob Levy Moreno was a creative spirit who initiated many developments in the field of group psychotherapy and research—developments that were often adopted and continued by others later. The name Moreno itself is found in psychological textbooks, on the contrary, only as a side note. The reason for this lack of scientific recognition is probably because Moreno directed his creativity—just like his attitude toward life and philosophy—more into experimental work than in the structuring and validation of his theoretical concepts. Moreno’s works are characterized by a style that testifies to the creative genius of their author, but appears rather strange out of the context of contemporary history. Not so long ago, psychodrama literature was often characterized by old-fashioned semantics, extravagant case descriptions and unremarkable conceptual phrases—”a hodgepodge of unrelated thoughts, unintegrated by any one systematic framework”, as Kellermann (1991, p. 19), one of the most important psychodramatists of the present day, spitefully writes. In recent years, however, much has been done to systematize and develop Moreno’s work, especially in the German-speaking countries. The task of today’s and future generations of psychodramatists is not to consider Moreno’s concepts as a cultural conserve, but to develop them further and demonstrate their connections to the current social and humanistic discourse. These connections are undoubtedly present: Moreno’s ideas are highly topical at their very core. Many of the theoretical approaches he developed have been taken up and continued by other field of research, including action research, and role theory or sociometry, to name a few. Therefore, psychodramatists should not shy away from taking on the role of the “interpreter” between psychodrama semantics and contemporary discourse, because “… if psychodrama is not ultimately to be dismembered by other theoretical orientations and recalled merely as a curiosity by intellectual history, it is crucial that it

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proves its continuing worth as an ongoing source of stimulating new ideas and possibilities” (Moreno, 1996, p. 8). This chapter addresses the assumptions about human nature, psychological health and aberrations that form the theoretical basis of psychodramatic work. We will particularly discuss the concepts that Moreno himself described as the main principles of psychodrama: – – – – – – – – –

Creativity, Spontaneity, Encounter, Tele, Conscious and unconscious, Role, Role versus ego, The principle of warming-up and Role reversal (Greenberg, 1974, S. 122).

14.1

Man as a Cosmic Being: Spontaneity and Creativity

Moreno’s holistic understanding of the world is the starting point to understand the psychodramatic image of man. Moreno (1969, p. 19) sees “a larger world beyond the psychodynamics and sociodynamics of human society—‘cosmodynamics’.” Man is always to be seen in his connection with the cosmos, and creativity is its most important component for Moreno: “If there is a supreme creative, nuclear structure of the universe, be it ’x’,’God‘or anything else, we suspect that it is nothing but pure creativity” (Moreno, 1991, p. 20, translation S.P.). Creativity is the “arch substance” (Moreno, 1953, p. 40) that underlies all the creative processes in the universe. Spontaneity is required to harness this creative potential of the cosmos. Spontaneity acts as a catalyst that sets the creativity of the universe in motion (Moreno, 1953, p. 40). According to Moreno, spontaneity and creativity are also inherent in man, as he is a microcosmic image of the universe and its active forces. Children, just as the protagonist on the impromptu stage, exemplify the ideal of the spontaneous and creative human being. However, the one who is alienated not only from himself but also from the universe can lose contact with these forces, thereby leading to psychological and social aberrations. One’s access to these cosmic forces of creativity and spontaneity can be blocked if they remain stuck in deeply entrenched patterns (also known as “role conserves”). Both these forces are not constructive per se, but need to be constructively transformed by the individual. Moreno therefore attributes the crises of his time to misguided spontaneity, among other reasons.

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The “Creative Circle” The “creative circle,” also referred to as the “canon of creativity” by Moreno, describes the process of spontaneous and creative action along with its prerequisites and implications (⊙ Fig. 14.1). It begins with a specific situation, which is almost always influenced by culture. For example, when two people meet in a train compartment, part of their communication is governed by existing social standards of communication. However, another part of the communication demands an arrangement that is appropriate for the situation. This requires the activation of spontaneity. Both parties go through the process of warm-up, which brings them— at least according to Moreno’s ideal image—into an impromptu situation. The impromptu situation activates creativity which enables a new role behavior and establishes relationships between the participants. In the above example, the two train passengers might discover that they live in the same city and have common interests. The new roles and behaviors consolidate (e.g. in the form of a friendship) and eventually crystallize into cultural conserves (e.g. ritualized ways of interacting with one’s friends). These are in turn the basis for renewed activation of spontaneity as well as a new way to go through the circle: “Creativity is the universe itself, spontaneity is the key to its door and conserves are the furniture, the equipment which fills it” (Moreno, 1956b, p 130). Critique Spontaneity and creativity are among the most important but also the weakest of Moreno’s theories. These two terms are not only inadequately explained in Moreno’s writings but also used contradictorily. This “hodgepodge of unrelated thoughts” (Kellermann, 1991, p. 19) is in the foreground of the critique of these two concepts.

Fig. 14.1 Cycle of spontaneity/creativity (own design)

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On the other hand, various psychodramatists, such as Blatner (1988, p. 73 ff.), Kipper (2007) and Krüger (in print), have described the benefits of these two concepts for therapeutic work in general and psychodrama in particular. Waldow (2001) has worked on further developing the concept of spontaneity and making it relevant to current discourses of scientific psychology. Similar to Moreno, he considers spontaneity as an antonym to the concept of automated actions. This is not limited to the narrower conceptual use of general psychology, but also extends to transference in psychoanalysis or “standard reactions” in behavioral therapy. Based on his analysis, the following psychological mechanisms oppose spontaneous action: – – – – – –

Early rational analytical assessment, Show-off and pretentious techniques, High self-awareness, Fear of a finished gestalt, Fear of self-disclosure and Fear of losing self-control.

The scientific self-organization theory can also be related to Moreno’s concept of spontaneity (e.g. Sabelli and Kauffman refer to Moreno in their article “The biotic logic of quantum processes and quantum computation” written in 2013). According to that, each system forms stable structures to maintain its own structure, and deviations from this stable state are absorbed by attenuation. Spontaneity is manifested when the fluctuations (i.e. deviations from a steady state) in a system increase and eventually reach a bifurcation point where the system can switch to a new stable state. There are parallels even between Moreno’s conception of spontaneity and Goleman’s (2005) widespread concept of emotional intelligence, which describes the superior ability to think, plan, act and solve problems adequately within the context of a given situation (e.g. Bustos, 2006, p. 94). Kipper’s (2007) evaluation of his own studies along with others leads to the consensus that spontaneity correlates with psychological characteristics such as well-being, intrinsic motivation and perceived self-efficacy. In light of this research, he concludes that spontaneity should not be conceptualized as a form of energy, as proposed by Moreno, but rather as a personality trait (for a validation of these assumptions and further discussions on the measurement of spontaneity, see Testoni et al., 2016). Kipper and Hundal (2005) note that pathological spontaneity is not an “excess” of spontaneity, but should be viewed as a separate dimension. Accordingly, people can have a low or a high degree of healthy spontaneity, which differs in content from the spontaneity of the “spontaneous madman” described by Moreno, with his behavior that appears to be highly spontaneous but is not appropriate to the situation. Significance in Psychodramatic Practice The natural flow of the creative circle is interrupted if spontaneity is suppressed and blocked. It can then lead to the formation of “creativity neuroses,” which further results in the solidification of dysfunctional patterns in individuals and the society.

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Man as a Cosmic Being: Spontaneity and Creativity

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Nevertheless, working with psychodrama is not about an arbitrary release of spontaneity, but about harnessing the potential of spontaneity for a creative, i.e. constructive creative creation: Spontaneity and creativity are not identical or similar processes. They are different categories, although strategically linked. In the case of Man his s may be diametrically opposite to his c; an individual may have a high degree of spontaneity but be entirely uncreative, a spontaneous idiot. Another individual may have a high degree of creativity but be entirely without spontaneity, a creator “without arms”. God is an exceptional case because in God all spontaneity has become creativity. He is one case in which spontaneity and creativity are identical (Moreno, 1953, p. 11).

According to Moreno, constructive interaction with spontaneity and creativity is ultimately the key to meet the requirements of one’s environment through “creative adaptation” and thus a matter of life and death—this is also reflected in the title of his work “Who Shall Survive?” (Moreno, 1953). Important Psychodrama aims to dissolve individual and social rigidities in order to develop new (spontaneous) and context-appropriate (creative) reactions to given problems. “Psychodrama aims to activate and integrate spontaneity and creativity. Constructive spontaneous action takes place when the protagonist finds a new and appropriate response to a new or familiar situation” (Moreno, 1959, p. 34, translation S.P.). Following the model of the participant in an impromptu play as a spontaneous and creative person, a psychodrama protagonist is supposed to go through a warm-up process which then brings him into an impromptu situation. Once he is free from the conventions of the cultural conserve, he becomes capable of ultimate innovation. The impromptu play can help expand this healing potential. The effects of psychodrama, however, go beyond the moment, because the psychodrama stage is a place where spontaneity is trained: …the idea being that if you can mobilize spontaneity adequately in an imaginary situation and more and more in a near-life like situation that you will gradually learn how to make it available at all times, especially in the unrehearsed moments of living. (Moreno, 1951, p. 196)

The implications of Moreno’s concept of spontaneity and creativity for psychodramatic work go far beyond what can be described in the context of this theory chapter. Nolte (2014) presents the two concepts in more detail and subjects them to critical evaluation and reinterpretation. Krüger (in print) explains the psychodrama techniques with reference to Moreno’s theory of personality.

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Man as a Social Being: Tele, Encounter and the Theory of Social Networks

Just as a person cannot be considered detached from his connection with the cosmos, he/she is always part of a social system. The idea of encounter has always been an important guideline for Moreno, in both his own life and his therapeutic and scientific work. He has therefore been particularly interested in the forces that establish the social bond between a person and his fellow human beings.

14.2.1 Tele, Empathy and Transference For Moreno, man is a cosmic, but also a fundamentally social being. Both dimensions interact with each other, because according to his assumption, “cosmic forces” of attraction and repulsion, which belong to the physiological and social “basic configuration” of man, exist between individuals. All interpersonal emotions such as hatred, love, jealousy, sympathy, antipathy and friendly feelings are mere manifestations of these elementary cosmic forces for him: Important This “common denominator,” the basis of all interpersonal relationships, is what Moreno calls tele. Since this term is not part of mainstream psychotherapy literature, the simplest approach would be to use the more familiar terms such as “empathy” and “transference,” which Moreno describes as incomplete subforms of tele. Moreno touches upon the concept of empathy only marginally because it seems too one-sided to him. He highlights the reciprocity of the process: If A can empathize with B, there is usually empathy in B for A as well. This mutual empathy is what constitutes the tele process. Complete and positive tele, which is not reduced to one-sided empathy, “is based on the feeling and the knowledge of the other person’s real situation” (Moreno, 1959, p. 29, translation S.P.); however, it also includes a cognitive component in the form of a holistic conception of fellow beings. The concept of tele goes beyond a simple “duplication” of empathy, because positive tele also includes – A motivational component, as one might say in terms of psychology, as well as – Loving acceptance of other people (or even inanimate objects) at the very fundamental level.

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In that sense, tele is … an elementary relationship (…) that can exist between individuals as well as between individuals and objects, gradually developing a sense of interpersonal relationships in the human being from right birth. Tele can therefore be regarded as the basis of all healthy interpersonal relationships (…) (Moreno, 1959, p. 29, translation S.P.).

Tele is responsible for the more frequent interaction between individuals as well as for processes of group cohesion. It can be measured by sociometric tests. Moreno distinguishes between – Simple tele—A is attracted to B, and B is also attracted to A. – Simple congruent tele—A and B choose each other first in the sociometric test. – Simple incongruent tele—A chooses B with high preference, and B responds with lower preference. – Symbolic tele—A feels attracted to B only in a certain role. – Infratele—A is attracted to B, but the attraction is not reciprocated (see Moreno, 1953, pp. 643 f.). Infratele is identical to empathy. While these different forms of tele are based on A’s attraction to “B’s real ego” (ibid., p. 643) or a role that B completes, in the process of transference A it is attracted to a role that B does not hold at all. Accordingly, Moreno (1959, p. 30) describes transference as “psychopathological” and empathy as “psychological variant” of the elementary tele principle. The underlying structure, which connects the psyche of those involved in the teleprocess and in doing so shows its “material” basis, is termed as “a co-unconscious” by Moreno. With this concept, he distances himself from Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious (which he critizices as too far apart from the individual) as well as from Freud’s theory of the individual unconscious (which in his eyes is too simple and unable to illuminate the complex interpersonal phenomena related to tele). Significance in Psychodramatic Practice Tele, as a mechanism that supports all social relationships, permeates the entire psychodramatic action, opines Moreno: Complete tele is responsible for a successful therapeutic relationship, whereas disturbed tele is responsible for its failure. Tele enables role reversal as the most important psychodramatic intervention and influences the selection of appropriate auxiliaries (the miraculous empathy of most auxiliaries in their role is a phenomenon familiar to every psychodrama director). Tele is based on relationships that can be “measured” by means of sociometric methods and transformed by means of psychodrama and group psychotherapy. Tele is therefore important not only for its diagnostic purposes, but also as guidance in therapeutic and advisory action. Moreno uses the term “twofold” to refer to complete tele, as empathy and transference are incomplete forms of tele. Tele is not only used (e.g. for the double technique) in psychodrama, but also encouraged (e.g. by the role reversal).

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Piu-Abreu and Villares Oliveira (2016) have developed a method for measuring telic sensitivity by comparing the perception of group members with the actual choices in a sociometric test. For a more detailed discussion on the concept of tele, refer to Kellermann (1996, p. 96 ff.). Important For Moreno, tele is the elementary basis for all interpersonal relationships, and all forms of attraction and repulsion between persons or roles are based on it.

14.2.2 Encounter The term encounter is closely related to the concept of tele. Both these terms have been used synonymously in some of Moreno’s writings as well as in parts of the secondary literature. The most plausible assumption is that Moreno conceived the concept of encounter to describe an interaction in a concrete situation and the concept of tele to describe the force that underlies this interaction. According to Moreno, the connotations attached to the concept of encounter are not limited to the mere physical meeting of people, but extend far into the existential-philosophical and cosmic dimension: Encounter means meeting, contact of bodies, confronting each other, facing each other, countering and battling, seeing and perceiving, touching and entering into each other, sharing and loving, communicating with each other in a primary, intuitive manner by speech or gesture, by kiss and embrace, becoming one – una cum uno (…). It is not only an emotional rapport like the professional meeting of a physician or therapist and patient, or an intellectual rapport, like teacher and student, or a scientific rapport, like a participant observer with his subject. It is a meeting on the most intensive level of communication (…). It is an intuitive reversal of roles, a realization of the self through the other; it is identity, the rare, unforgotten experience of total reciprocity. (Moreno, 1956a, p. 27)

Significance in Psychodramatic Practice The concept of encounter has undeniable importance in psychodrama. This is apparent in the fact that Moreno (1956a, p. 28) describes psychodrama as “essence of the encounter.” The psychodrama stage creates a space for encounter between the protagonist and their interaction partners—represented by the auxiliaries. The role reversal represents a consistent methodical implementation of this concept. On the one hand, it enables the “intuitive reversal of roles” (Moreno, 1956a, p. 28) between individuals meeting one another in the encounter; on the other hand, it makes the encounter possible by promoting complete tele. Encounters should also take place between group members, e.g. in the warm-up phase and in sharing.

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Man as a Social Being: Tele, Encounter and the Theory …

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Finally, the concept of encounter also describes the ideal nature of relationship between group members and the director. The culture of psychodrama therefore lays the foundation for a closer relationship between the director and participants as compared to other methods, especially the rule of abstinence in psychoanalysis or group dynamics. However, Moreno’s concept of encounter, which has close ties to Buber’s I– Thou concept (see Buber, 1970; Cohen, 2020), not only functions as a guiding principle in psychodrama, but has also become the basis of the entire encounter movement and continues to influence the practice of working with groups of all kinds. Kristoffersen (2014) examines the encounter concept in more detail, while Yaniv (2011, 2014) explores links with neuropsychology. Treadwell (2014) explores connections between Moreno and the group encounter movement and argues that Moreno can be regarded a the forerunner of our web-based social network media in virtual communities. Critique The terms “tele” and “encounter” are not any less important to psychodrama, but unfortunately also not any more precise than the concepts of “spontaneity” and “creativity.” The connections and demarcations between the two terms are quite problematic. One aspect that hinders scientific discourse is the metaphysical echoes of the concept of tele. Moreno (1924, p. 57) writes: “There are players who are connected by a secret correspondence. They have the sensitivity for the mutual inner processes; one gesture is enough and often they do not need to look at each other. They are clairvoyant. They have a spirit of understanding.” Even if psychodramatists grant this phenomenon a visual validity, the explanation of “secret correspondences” is problematic today. In addition, they obscure the view of a critical, sociopsychologically sound analysis of the tele, which also takes into account the influence of social judgment, social desirability, the role of the therapist, etc., on the client’s thoughts, feelings and actions. Important According to Moreno, the encounter, experience of the “intuitive role reversal” and “complete reciprocity” between two people, brings complete and positive tele into realization. The concept of encounter is the most important guideline principle in the formation of a therapeutic relationship.

14.2.3 The Social Atom and Theory of Social Networks Moreno uses the concepts of tele and encounter to conceptualize man as a social being, who is connected to his fellow beings through fundamental tele processes and common unconscious states, and therefore not separate from his sociality. Every individual is engaged in a “nucleus of relationships” at all time. Moreno

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refers to this as a “social atom.” The social atom of an individual comprises all the relationships that are relevant in a particular situation or phase of life—usually the nuclear family, life partner, close friends and colleagues: “The social atom is the nucleus of all individuals towards whom a person is related in a significant manner or who are related to him at the same time; the relationship may be emotional, social, or cultural” (Moreno, 1960a, p. 52). Depending on the intensity of these relationships, one can imagine the social atom as a multilayer model (Chap. 13.2). It is not the extent of the actual interaction, but the psychological relevance of the relationships that holds significance. Thus, the social atom of a person also includes those people with whom one desires a relationship: We can say that the moment that I wish a certain acquaintance - an individual whom I have just met or whom I may have known for some time – to become closer to me, to enter into a relationship with me, more or less permanent in respect to some criterion, work, love, or whatever, this person has passed the social threshold of my social atom. (Moreno, 1951, p. 59)

For the same reason, even distant people, former partners or deceased persons can be part of an individual’s social atom (Fig. 14.2). Since the tele processes that underlie the social atom are always bound to a certain criterion, each individual also has different criteria-dependent social atoms —for example, a different set of people are relevant in a person’s professional social atom as compared to the same person’s recreational social atom. The social atom contains positive (attraction) as well as negative (repulsions) and neutral tele relations. According to Moreno, the social atom, not the individual, is the smallest analytical unit in psychology and sociology: From the point of view of surface experience sociologists accepted tacitly a scale starting with the individual and ending with the entire universe. We sociometrists challenged this view. The social atom is the smallest social unit, not the individual. (Moreno, 1951, p. 65)

Its composition changes over time through new friendships and partnerships, changes in workplaces, birth, death, etc. This is why the social atom, as it can be understood at a given time, is always only a snapshot. On the other hand, the social atom has a relatively high degree of structural constancy. Its size is determined by the degree of emotional contact, which in turn is limited by the range of personal tele (Moreno, 1959). It is capable of regeneration, but usually diminishes in terms of age or during times of personal crisis. The individual is then threatened by “social death.” The social atoms in a group or society are linked together. The social unit resulting from all these connections is termed as the social network, and the collection of all social networks the social universe (Moreno, 1951). These networks are again based on the interpersonal tele relations such as attraction or repulsion. Each psychodrama group also represents a network, which can be visualized in a topic- or group-centered sociodrama. Moreno’s conception of social networks should not be confused with digital social networks like Facebook or

14.2

Man as a Social Being: Tele, Encounter and the Theory …

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Fig. 14.2 The Social Atom. With kind permission from: Moreno (1951), p. 61

LinkedIn—although Daniel (2016) points at the continuities between Moreno and today’s digital networks. Significance in Psychodramatic Practice Since psychodrama works with social relationships at a fundamental level, it is always working with the social atom. The social atom also functions as a diagnostic technique (Sect. 15.5) that helps gather information regarding one’s interpersonal relationships. There are a number of characteristics that allow one to generate hypotheses about the individual’s deficient or conflictual relationships. A resource-oriented approach with the social atom, for example, one that sensitizes the client to the role of significant caregivers, is therapeutically valuable particularly after breaks in the client’s social network (e.g. death of the partner, divorce, relocation) as well as when working with the elderly. Generally, the social atom can also draw attention to ambivalences, conflicts and other disturbances in the social relations of the client and provide impulses for the clarification of relationships. You can refer to Sect. 15.5 for more detailed suggestions on the use of the social atom. Important The social atom of an individual contains the core of his relevant relationships. For Moreno, the social atom represents the smallest unit in which a man can survive and the smallest unit of analysis in psychology and sociology. The social atom can help uncover and process deficits and disturbances in the client’s network of relationships as well as strengthen the available resources. Critique In recent years, a systemic view has become increasingly prevalent in therapy, counseling, social work and other fields, and this is not limited to the actual

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systemic methods. Moreno’s theory of social networks appears to be an early draft of such a consistently systemic view. Compernolle (1981), Gershoni (2003) and others are in agreement as they cite Moreno as one of the pioneers of systemic thinking. In 1937, Moreno was an early representative of systemic thinking when writing about the therapy of a woman which later included her husband and lover: “The more I went on with the work, the more I realized that I was not treating one person or the other, but an ‘inter-personal’ relationship, or what one may call an ‘inter-personal neurosis’” (Moreno, 1937, p. 14). In an article entitled “Interpersonal Therapy and the Psychopathology of Interpersonal Relations,” Moreno continues this idea with reference to the same case (Ms. A): The larger the chain of individuals whose balance of interrelation is disturbed, the more difficult becomes the task of the psychiatrist whom they have employed for treatment (…). In some cases, however, the sensitivity of the patient for the controversial flow of the tele through the persons of the network is great, and the anxieties of the patient are due to network “shock”. To such a network numerous people may belong (…). It means that the work of the auxiliary ego has to be enlarged farther than in the case of the A’s, although it consists essentially in the same procedure – the alternate shifting of the psychiatrist from one person of the network to another for the purpose of reconstructing their relationship with the patient. The healing influence comes here from the networks, the source of the disturbance, a network catharsis. (…) The situation may be that the class of individuals interrelated shows difficulties of such a range and character that to treat their networks would mean to treat the community as a whole. (Moreno, 1937, p. 18 f.)

Today, there is a return to Moreno’s fundamental relationship and communityoriented view, for example, in social constructionism: “If the fundamental atom of society is the bounded self, how are we to understand relationships? If the self is the ‘natural’ unit of being, then relationships are ‘artificial’. […] If we see relationships as secondary and artificial, we will seek them out primarily when they are required for our personal use or satisfaction […]. The moral atom in Western culture is fundamentally the individual. And in this way, the tradition of moral worth creates a separation—me standing here, and you over there” (Gergen, 2009, p. 17; 355).

Moreno describes the social atom as largely independent of individuals and thus approaches newer systemic perspectives: “when one individual member moves out, another individual fulfilling a similar role takes his place. (…) Social repair seems to take place almost automatically” (Moreno, 1951, p. 66). This systemic orientation of Moreno’s therapeutic philosophy is reflected particularly during his time in Vienna as well as in his sociometric work, for example, in Hudson, where he always sought to treat the entire system, not just the individual (Chap. 13). This social foundation positions the psychodramatic image of man and thus also the practical psychodramatic work on an original systemic basis.

14.3

14.3

Man as a Role Player: Moreno’s Role Theory

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Man as a Role Player: Moreno’s Role Theory

Moreno is one of the founders and pioneers of sociological and social psychological role theory. His work was developed simultaneously alongside Mead’s role theory and was quite distinct in nature. However, Mead’s role theory overshadows his pioneering work in public perception today. Moreno’s role theory is of central importance to psychodrama, since all psychodramatic action is tied to roles. Secondly, the theory of role development lays the theoretical foundation for central psychodramatic action techniques (double, role reversal, mirror). Finally, it is an important interpretive aid for psychodramatic diagnosis. Accordingly, this section occupies a lot of space within the complete works of Moreno. Similar to the concepts of interaction and spontaneity/creativity described before, Moreno’s concept of role also has a variety of partly disparate semantic facets and usage contexts, which combine to form a consistent overall picture. We have to keep the description relatively short and concise due to limited space in this text. However, there is an in-depth literature available for a thorough study of Moreno’s role theory (e.g. Blatner, 1988, p. 150 ff, Clayton, 1994, Daniel, 2004, 2007). Roles as Collective Sociocultural Stereotypes From a sociological perspective, roles are symbolic representations and normalized expectation patterns that produce a society or a culture. Sociology defines roles as social (collective) bundles of expectations from persons assuming the role, who then express themselves in behavior patterns that follow these expectations. According to this sociologically oriented concept, roles are standardized by sociocultural norms and remain independent of persons and situations, such as professional roles. One expects a certain behavior from a mayor or a firefighter, regardless of the person holding the office. Moreno is in agreement that roles are comprised of standardized norms, and he calls them the collective norms. The theater role is an exception, as it prescribes not only a vaguely defined behavior pattern but also a script. Moreno defines these standardized roles as “role conserves” (see Moreno, 1972, p. 157). Role Behavior Between Cultural Imprint and Individual Creation A person’s behavior is never determined solely by the collective part of the role, but is the expression of their interpretation of this role at any given time. Every social role implies the necessity and freedom of individual embodiment: Not all mothers, policemen or psychodrama directors behave the same way. One is never “the father” or “the supervisor” par excellence, but definitely a unique father or supervisor (see Moreno, 1972). Roles also have a personal component: While the collective part determined by social expectations conveys certainties of conduct, the personal part of the role broadens the scope for creative development. Concrete role behavior emerges from the interplay of collective and personal parts of the roles: Roles are, as already mentioned, “a fusion of private and collective elements” (Moreno, 1972, p. 351). The way in which one fulfills the role of

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a father, for example, is not only a norm-conforming reaction to a collectively predetermined pattern of behavior, but also the result of all the experiences that one has gained as a father (and as a son!). Role behavior is the expression of a private interpretation and a biographical transformation of socially and culturally predetermined elements. Moreno explains this with the image of an onion: The center is a collective core which is surrounded by grouped layers of a varying number of biographical or situationally characterized private roles. Important Role behavior is always at the intersection of tension between culturally predetermined and individually designed parts of the respective role. By the end of the 1930s, Moreno assumed that there was tension between the collective and private roles in the form of the primary role–person conflict. Moreno develops this assumption from his criticism of the conventional theater: The actor who acts as Hamlet has to suppress his private personality in order to fulfill the given role (Moreno, 1972, pp. 153–160). This assumption is made obsolete by the later postulate that the self develops entirely from roles. Nonetheless, everyday role-playing is always a challenge. On the one hand, one has to live up to the social expectations associated with a role and, on the other hand, integrate the role with other subroles within oneself. In this context, Moreno distinguishes between the following: – Role assumption: assuming a completely predetermined role without any individual freedom for variation (“role taking,” see Moreno, 1960b; or “role enactment,” see Moreno, 1972), – Role play: enacting a given role by taking a certain amount of liberty in composing the role (“role-playing,” see Moreno, 1960b, 1975), – Role creation: the spontaneous creation of new role behaviors with a high degree of creative freedom, as would be the case in impromptu play, for example (“role-creating,” see Moreno, 1960b). The integration of this tension between socially adequate roles on the one hand and authentic implementation of roles on the other hand is highly relevant to therapy, counseling, coaching, social work and other contexts. Some of the usual concerns in doing so are as follows: – A client is trapped in traditional role conserves that are no longer adequate for the current needs (e.g. she has been appointed as an executive in her company, but still acts as a co-worker). – A client has to learn a new role (e.g. the doctor’s role), but has no adequate role repertoire at her disposal. – The requirements of the role have changed (e.g. agile instead of classical leadership), but the client still acts on the basis on his old role templates. – The client can “enact” an expected role behavior (such as that of the lover), but feels uncomfortable and looks for ways to fill the role suitably.

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Man as a Role Player: Moreno’s Role Theory

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Role Behavior as Interaction The concept of role is not an individualistic, but a fundamentally social concept. Roles are the units of analysis of an interconnected interaction context. When an individual comes into contact with others, it always happens through a role that has been adapted to that situation. The counterpart must then take on a complementary role so that a meaningful interaction can come about. A person at a ticket counter acts as a customer buying a ticket, while the person behind the counter takes on the role of the seller. If one of the participants in this structure were to assume a non-complementary role such as a doctor, it would give rise to some confusion as the traveler does not need a blood pressure measurement, but a ticket. On the other hand, a doctor would certainly be irritated if his patient demanded a train timetable instead of behaving as a patient. Corresponding pairings of roles and complementary roles can be found in a wide variety of contexts: Mother–child, Teacher–student, Manager–subordinate, Perpetrator–victim, Superior–inferior, etc. Moreno defines role as “the functioning form the individual assumes in […] a specific situation in which other persons or objects are involved” (Moreno, 1961, p. 519). Adequate social behavior thus requires the knowledge and mastery of the relevant roles and complementary roles: “Every individual, just as he is the focus of numerous attractions and repulsions appears, also, as the focus of numerous rôles which are related to the rôles of other individuals. Every individual, just as he has at all times a set of friends and a set of enemies, also has a range of rôles and faces, a range of counter-rôles” (Moreno, 1940, p. 20). Important Interaction is an interplay of roles and complementary roles. The cultural atom and the evolution of the self from the roles While the term social atom describes the totality of the meaningful tele relationships of an individual, the cultural atom embraces the entirety of his role relationships. Every individual is (…) the focus point of numerous rôles which are related to the rôles of other individuals. Every individual has (…) a range of rôles and faces. They are in various stages of development. The tangible aspects of what is known as “ego” are the rôles in which he operates. The pattern of rôles - relations around an individual as their focus, is called his cultural atom. (Moreno, 1972, p. 345).

The cultural atom ultimately contributes to an individual’s identity: The various roles that a person plays (mayor, father, brother, chairman of the rowing club) come together to form their own sense of self. For Moreno, the social nature of man is a constitutive element of his existence. His essence and actions must therefore be described primarily in social, rather than in individual psychological categories:

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“Roles do not emerge from the self, but the self may emerge from roles” (Moreno, 1972, p.157). This role-based attachment of the self implies a clear demarcation from Freud’s psychoanalytic structure model of the human psyche, as is made clear in the following quote: The tangible crystallization points of what we call the ‘ego’ are the roles in which it manifests. Roles and the relationships between them are the most important phenomena within a particular culture. It is methodologically easier to speak of a person’s ‘roles’ than his self or ‘ego’; Ego has mysterious, metapsychological connotations associated with it. (Moreno, 1959, p. 33)

The graphs in Fig. 14.3 give a good and compact illustration of the possibilities of analysis introduced by the cultural atom. As in the case of the social atom, the individual cannot be detached from his cultural atom, and since social and cultural atoms are manifestations of one and the same social reality, one could say: “Man is a sociocultural atom.” Working with the cultural atom is useful, for example, in intra- and interpersonal role conflicts or when the client’s interests, abilities and needs are not satisfactorily realized. The cultural atom is suitable, for example, in gaining an overview of the client’s life situation and the areas of tension involved within the framework of a case history. Roles, Spontaneity and Tele The relationship between role theory, theory of spontaneity and the concept of tele is of significance for the concept of holistic health in psychodrama. In Moreno’s view, a healthy, “role-mighty” person fits the following criteria in a particular social situation: • Activates a situation-specific role from his cultural atom or • Spontaneously creates a new appropriate role. The prerequisite for this is the ability to establish a tele relationship with the concerned interaction partner or, more precisely, a role from his role repertoire that adapts to the situation. Psychodrama provides an experimental framework which • Allows for an analysis of the interaction of roles and complementary roles, • Enables the creation and training of new roles and • Promotes the tele required for the appropriate role behavior. Important The aim of psychodrama is to enable people, as actors in a social situation, to understand the role structure in relationship with the interaction partners and to be able to react with spontaneous, adequate role behavior. Role Categories Moreno (1961) distinguishes between three categories of roles which help one realize his nature as a physical, thinking and feeling as well as a social being:

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Fig. 14.3 Development of the cultural atom in the example of interplay of roles in their marriage (From Moreno, 1972, p. 344 f.)

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• The psychosomatic roles, for example, the role of the eater, the sleeper or the respirator, • The psychodramatic roles that build on the psychosomatic roles, for example, the role of the eater now joins the role of the relisher, • The sociodramatic roles based on the common sociological concept of roles, for example, the socially predetermined role of the son, the brother, etc., which is detached from the respective individual enacting the role. These role categories play an important role in Moreno’s theory of role development which is presented in the next section. Bustos (1994) speaks of three role clusters: • Cluster 1: the earliest, passive-dependent and inherent roles, particularly related to the mother, • Cluster 2: active roles related to work, self-confidence and the exercise of power, especially related to the father, • Cluster 3: roles that are particularly related to siblings (e.g. playing, competing, sharing, drawing boundaries, defending oneself). Clayton (1994) differentiates between • A system of fragmented and dysfunctional roles, • A system of coping roles used in situations where the organism feels threatened and • A progressive and functional system of roles. These and other similar classifications may be used for diagnostic purposes in order to determine which parts of a client’s role system are in need of development and which are useful as therapeutic resources. Moreno’s Theory of Role Development Moreno, for whom a human being’s personality is composed of roles, conceptualizes his developmental theory of personality as a theory of role development over four stages ( refer to Moreno, 1972, pp. 47–151, Moreno & Moreno, 1944, Leutz, 1982; Bustos, 2014 for a more detailed description). Unfortunately, Moreno has worked out his theory of role development only in parts, and the English-speaking psychodrama community has not (unlike the German-speaking) continued to build on this aspect of the psychodramatic theory in a systematic manner but instead compared it with the current state of knowledge in developmental psychology (which partly contradicts Moreno’s assumptions). During the first three years of life, the “first psychic universe,” the child primarily lives in psychosomatic roles that are shaped on the basis of a symbiotic relationship with the mother, but are not yet consciously experienced by him. The interaction between the mother and the child gives these roles an individual character, which may possibly be maintained throughout life. The first psychic universe includes two stages of development:

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• In the “period of all-identity” that is before and immediately after birth (step 1 of role development), the child does not yet differentiate between self and the other, self and the world around, inanimate objects and living persons, but exists exclusively in the present. According to Moreno, the close relationship between a mother and her child is the basis of social development, which is crucial for an individual’s self-confidence and self-awareness. The mother acts as an auxiliary ego and a double for the child (externally, for example, this is displayed by reflecting the child’s facial expressions and vocalizations). This “natural setting of the mother-child relationship is comparable to the auxiliary ego-subject relation of the psychodramatic situation” (Moreno & Moreno, 1944, p. 101). In the context of psychodrama, the double technique reproduces this early experience (Moreno, 1954, p. 291). • This is followed by the “period of all-reality” (also “differentiated all-identity,” step 2 of the role development). Although the child can still not distinguish between the real and the imagined, it begins to experience a difference between himself and his environment. “Gradually the sense for nearness and distance develops and the infant begins to be drawn towards persons and objects or to withdraw from them. This is the first social reflex – indicating the emergence of the tele-factor, and is the nucleus of the later attraction-repulsion patterns and specialized emotions…gradually a tele for objects separates itself from a tele for persons” (Moreno & Moreno, 1944, p. 110). The period of all-reality corresponds to the psychodramatic mirror technique: “We are all familiar with the constant amazement of children when they see themselves in a mirror. In the beginning the child is unaware that they see their own picture in the mirror […]. When they realize that the image in the mirror is their own, they enter a turning point in their own growth, an important step forward in understanding themselves” (Moreno, 1959, p. 87, translation S.P.). The “second psychic universe” begins as soon as the child is able to differentiate between self and others (at about three years of age). The child now begins to realize that the mother has a separate existence which is independent of him (“role perception”/“role recognition,” step 3 of role development). It is at this time that the psychodramatic roles begin to develop and the child becomes capable of role play. The next step (step 4 of role development) brings in another significant new development: The child can now actively put himself in his mother’s position (role taking) and enact it (role-playing) (step 4 of role development). When the child is able to perform a complete role reversal with the mother, it also enables self-reflexivity in the sense of becoming aware of one’s own roles (step 5 of role development). The reference to the psychodramatic technique of role change or role reversal is apparent. Passing through these cognitive, emotional and social developmental steps is a prerequisite for the evolution of a healthy sense of self-realization, the capacity to form relationships and to grow into strong roles in adulthood: “These five stages represent the psychological bases for all role processes and for such phenomena as imitation, identification, projection and transference” (Moreno & Moreno, 1944,

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p. 104). From this perspective, psychotherapy is a way to catch up on learning the mentalization skills that could not develop fully in the course of a disrupted role development. Thus, psychodrama techniques are based on the specific needs of all the different developmental phases (Krüger, in print). Leutz (1974) developed a model of role-bound psychopathology based on Moreno’s thoughts on role development. She assumes that disruptions in the development of roles can result in mental disorders in three ways: “… (1) by skipping over certain developmental possibilities with no change in the direction of development, (2) due to some blocks in development, (3) through regression i.e. by partial or complete retraction of the already developed roles” (p. 155, translation S.P.). Important Moreno considers child development as the evolutionary development of different categories of roles: The “first psychic universe,” in which the child lives in a symbiotic relationship with the mother, is characterized by psychosomatic roles (e.g. the sleeping child and the sucking child), which are later supplemented by social/sociodramatic roles (son, brother, etc.) and psychodramatic roles (e.g. the explorer of the environment). Disruptions in this developmental process can contribute to the development of mental disorders. Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity and Role Overload Different roles can conflict with each other. Leutz (1974) has particularly worked out this aspect for psychodrama. There are various forms of conflicts associated with roles: – “Intrasender conflict”: The same person makes contradictory demands on the role holder. – “Intersender conflict”: Two different people place inconsistent expectations on the role holder. – “Inter-role conflict”: Contradictions between two different roles occupied by an individual (e.g. “I as a leader” vs. “I as a father “). – “Person–role conflict”: Contradictions between the self and the role expectations. – “Role ambiguity”: Imprecise or ambiguous role expectations. – “Role overload”: Contradictory role expectations overburden the role holder. The implications of using this model in working with psychodrama are discussed below. Significance in Psychodramatic Practice In psychodrama, roles are the elementary unit for the analysis and change of personality. “Roles do not emerge from the self, but the self may emerge from roles,” says (Moreno, 1972, p. 157). Thus, the self develops through the development of an individual role repertoire, and every interpersonal interaction is formed by intertwining role behaviors of the interaction partners.

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Expansion of the Role Repertoire In the course of one’s life, humans are confronted with a variety of social requirements. Whenever we encounter a new situation (e.g. new partnership, new job, fatherhood), we are required to step into a new role. We must include these in our cultural atom and react to the new situation appropriately. These new roles can be developed (role creation), tested and finally practiced in role training on the psychodrama stage. The criterion, however, includes not only the quantity of available roles, but also the quality of the experience associated with a specific role, i.e. the intensity with which the role in question is enacted and the satisfaction that results from it. This criterion may well be in a conflict with the expansion of the role repertoire. Elasticity of Role Behavior On the one hand, roles are collectively preformed, but on the other hand they offer some room for individual design. This flexibility in configuring a role personally can be constricted if its collective part solidifies into a role conserve. In these cases, psychodrama can help create more scope for shaping the role in question, thereby increasing the elasticity of role behavior. In doing so, one can also remove fixations that arise when certain roles (e.g. the helpless child) have been imprinted and dominate the personality without being appropriate in the given situation. On the other hand, many forms of limited experience are characterized by the fact that certain roles are no longer being actively experienced and used. Loss of roles occurs when certain roles from the role repertoire are no longer accessible and therefore cannot be used. Such a loss of role can be observed in both neurotic (e.g. obsessive-compulsive disorder and hysterical forms) and narcissistic disorders (e.g. borderline) as well as in psychotic disorders. Role Conflict When dealing with role conflicts, psychodrama can help make the individual aware of the conflicting role requirements by “separating” the individual subroles and embodying each of those through an auxiliary ego (or an empty chair). The protagonist can then formulate the requirements of the subroles separately in the role reversal, which can also be supported by multiple doubles (Sect. 5.4.10). After gaining some insights, the protagonist can then reorganize the individual subroles by changing the arrangement of the auxiliary egos or chairs in the room or by engaging in a verbal confrontation with the embodied role aspects. In this way, one could, for example, weave a dialogue between the two roles—“I as a leader” and “I as a father”—wherein one looks for a balance between the two requirements. Critique Although G.H. Mead is considered to be the founder of role theory today, Moreno’s work on the role concept “… can be considered as the earliest approach to a consistent role theory…” (Petzold, 1982, p. 122, translation S.P.), even though it is —as is usual with Moreno—often vague and terminologically blurred. Petzold (1982) points out that Moreno’s preoccupation with the genesis and development of roles represents an exceptional phenomenon within role theory and that he opened

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up perspectives for a psychology of the life span quite early on but they did not begin to develop until the mid-1960s. Overall, Petzold views Moreno’s role theory as a medium-range theory whose significance is to be acknowledged, but it is also gaining theoretical and practical potential through its association with symbolic interactionism and other sociological work.

14.3.1 Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy—A “Triadic System” The preceding paragraphs have made it clear that, in Moreno’s view, man is not an isolated, independent entity but an integral part of his social world. An individual’s health and pathology are always precipitated by the health or pathology of their relationships. Thus, according to Moreno, the task of understanding the human being and contributing to the growth of the individual cannot stop with the individual but must aim at healing his entire social network. Based on this ecosystemic perspective, Moreno has formulated a vision of a social revolution which is not just an abstract agenda, but has shaped his life tangibly during his time in Vienna. In this context, psychodrama is part of a system of instruments aimed at the actualization of a social utopia. Moreno coined the term “sociatry” (ineptly translated as “healing of social relations”) to refer to this system which includes impromptu play, role play, sociodrama and other methods. For Moreno, science plays a central role in improving social conditions. In order to change social systems, one must be able to understand and grasp their structures and processes. Moreno uses the term sociodynamics to describe the science which deals with the theoretical description of social structures and processes. Some of the established sciences working on this goal include social psychology, sociology and anthropology. Moreno developed sociometry for the empirical measurement of these social structures and processes. Sociometry is “the science of measuring interpersonal relationships” (Moreno, 1959, p. 19, translation S.P.—Latin for “socius” = partner and Greek for “metrein” = measure). Sociometry deals with the mathematical study of psychological properties of populations, the experimental technique of and the results obtained by applications of quantitative methods. This is undertaken through methods which inquire into the evolution and organization of groups and the position of individuals within them. One of its special concerns is to ascertain the quantity and expansion of the psychological currents as they pervade populations. (Moreno, 1953, p. 51)

According to Moreno, every group—from the family to society as a whole—has a “deep structure” that is not identical with the formal structures of that group (such as the hierarchical relationships within a company). This does not simply refer to the usual distinction between formal and informal group structures in psychology. In fact, this underlying structure is created by the emotional dynamics between the members of the group:

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Important The sociometric structure of a group is precipitated by the forces of attraction and repulsion between the members of the group. The forces of attraction and repulsion operate between individuals of all communities and tend to influence them usually without their awareness. This mechanism, which Moreno refers to as “social gravitation,” functions not only within a group but also between groups. These forces are represented in the form of selection or rejection in the field of interpersonal relationships. A series of methods have been developed in the context of sociometry to capture these choices and reflect them back to the group. Important The sociometric test is a classic method for gathering and analyzing sociometric choices (Sect. 15.2). The theoretical background of sociometry as well as the work with sociometric methods is described in further detail in Chap. 15. Today, group psychotherapy is a widely used concept. However, the fact that this significant achievement of modern psychotherapy was founded by Moreno is little known. Moreno was the first pioneer of group psychotherapy, the first one to introduce the term “group psychotherapy” into the discussion—at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in 1932 and in a publication from the same year—as well as the first one to develop concrete group psychotherapeutic concepts and techniques. Previously, psychotherapy was not conceivable in situations other than the psychoanalytic individual setting. Group psychotherapy is closely connected with sociometry and psychodrama as the third pillar of Moreno’s “triadic system.” However, it can neither be equated with psychodrama nor should it be considered superordinate or subordinate to psychodrama. The difference lies in the fact that “… in group psychotherapy, the relationships between the members are processed through discussions and their analysis” (Moreno, 1959, p. 70, translation S.P.), while in psychodrama the focus is on action versus discussion. The participants sit in a circle, and it is this circle that forms the therapeutic medium, not the psychodrama stage (see Moreno, 1959, p. 63, translation S.P.). The participants engage in a free interaction which is an equivalent of the psychoanalytic principle of free association; i.e. they behave freely, as they wish, without any constraints. This creates dynamics that replicate the structures and processes of the family as well as the society. Moreno is therefore of the opinion that the therapeutic group functions as “… a) a miniature family, b) a miniature society…” (Moreno, 1959, p. 56, translation S.P.). The goal of the therapist is to analyze and transform the sociometric structure of the group. The therapeutic effects are a result of – The increase in group cohesion achieved by this transformation, – The altered sociometric position of the participants and – The principle of encounter (Sect. 14.2.2).

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These principles were established by Moreno and are still valid in the current concepts of group psychotherapy, for example, Yalom and Leszcz (2005). The group therapeutic transformation of the community, based on sociometric data and realized with the aid of psychodrama, thus presents itself as a five-step process (Moreno 1932): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The sociometric test, Construction and analysis of the sociogram, The sociometric interview, Psychodrama, Sociometric reconstruction of the community.

14.4

Surplus Reality as the Basic Principle of Psychodramatic Work

Definition The basic principle of psychodrama is to create a symbolic experiential space that reflects the essential elements of the protagonist’s subjective reality. This experiential space is referred to as surplus reality.

Moreno and his successors have only vaguely elaborated on the concept of surplus reality. Nevertheless, it is this central methodological concept that distinguishes psychodrama from other methods. Moreno criticized the common psychotherapeutic methods of his time for ignoring important dimensions of reality by limiting them to the verbal level. This was the starting point for the development of surplus reality and psychodrama: “Whatever is happening to the patient, for example, a suicidal idea or a plan to run away, is not a phase of direct actualization and confrontation but remains on the level of imagining, thinking, feeling, fearing, and so forth” (Moreno, 1969, p. 15). Moreno therefore spoke of “reduced reality” or “infra-reality” (ibid.) in the context of the psychoanalytic treatment. His goal was to develop a therapy method that involves the protagonist’s reality—in situ—that takes into account all those influencing factors that play a role in the situational dynamics and are responsible for the creation and maintenance of a particular dysfunctional behavior. While this is at least partially possible in an outreach social work approach, usually in therapy or counseling the client is confronted with problem situations that have occurred (or are yet to be) elsewhere and at another time. In order to solve this problem, he conceived of psychodrama as a method that —where it cannot access the reality of the client—creates a “pseudo-world” (Sader, 1991, p. 49) that recreates the reality of the client. Moreno describes this principle

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as a surplus reality: “‘Surplus reality’ (…) means (…), that there are certain invisible dimensions in the reality of living, not fully experienced [sic] or expressed, and that is why we have to use surplus operations and surplus instruments to bring them out in our therapeutic settings” (Moreno, 1969, p. 16). It is so central to psychodrama that it gave the method its name: – Psyche = soul, – Drama = action, – Psychodrama = active engagement with one’s own psychic reality. The immaterial factors that make up our inner reality (e.g. perceptions, evaluations, inner representations, projections and fantasies), in Moreno’s words, the “intangible, invisible dimensions of intra- and extra-psychic life” (Moreno, 1969, p. 15), are made concrete by means of a material stage design so that they become tangible, perceptible, comprehensible and changeable for the client. “With the help of auxiliaries, the psychodramatic stage offers an extraordinarily powerful vehicle for the externalization of such internalized mental images; there, they are summoned to life and made to appear in a three-dimensional space” (Kellermann, 1996, p. 98). Thus, psychodrama happens at the intersection between internal and external realities—Winnicott (2010) described this intersection as an “intermediary domain” in his work on play. Surplus reality can not only depict the reality of the client (systems), but also show possible futures and experiment with possible realities, for example, by using the technique of future projection. Thus, psychodrama is not only an instrument for the reconstruction of reality, but also a space in which reality can be reconstructed and the “sense of possibility” (Musil) can be developed. Many psychodramatists understand surplus reality as a representation of fantasies, dreams, etc. If one were to follow this understanding of the term, it would mean that surplus reality involves future projections, but not plays that bring no fantasized, dreamed, imagined or hallucinated events on stage, such as the frequent updates on actual experience of conflict situations. Moreno, however, has defined the concept of surplus reality in a much broader sense: At no point does Moreno argue that psychodrama can take place in reality, neither does he equate surplus reality with “fantasies and dreams, imaginations, hallucinations and dejà vu experiences.” Moreno’s list of psychodramatic “surplus techniques” also shows that these are not just techniques for representing fantasies, but that all psychodramatic elements are ultimately based on the principle of surplus reality. Some of these techniques are as follows: – – – – – –

Role reversal, Auxiliary ego, Empty chair and future projection (Moreno, 1969, p. 19) as well as Double(ing), Mirror(ing) and Soliloquy (Moreno, 1953).

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Moreno himself comments on the universal character of surplus reality as follows: Psychodrama consists not merely of the enactment of episodes, past, present and future, which are experienced and conceivable within the framework of reality—a frequent misunderstanding. There is in psychodrama a mode of experience which goes beyond reality, which “provides the subject with a new and more extensive experience of reality, a surplus reality”. (Moreno, 1965, p. 212; accentuated by the authors)

Sader (1991) describes this mode of experience as “semireality,” as the “agreed illusory world” that is created in every psychodramatic work. On the other hand, he locates dreams (including daydreams), fantasies and imaginations at a “surreal” level. Surreality refers to a level of thinking that is seen as being beyond reality even in semireality A car made up of four chairs is unreal, but to some extent ‘real’ in psychodrama; a sorcerer, a suddenly-appearing god, or Moreno himself, are surreal. (Sader, 1991, p. 50, translation S.P.)

Thus, according to Sader (1991), surplus reality is an umbrella term for surreality. Psychodrama work can be but does not have to be surreal, for example, when a deceased person is embodied on the stage; however, it is semireal in any case, regardless of the content displayed. Definition Surplus reality is the mode of experiencing reality that is characteristic of every psychodramatic presentation and the constitutive basic principle of psychodramatic representation per se.

Thus, the stage reflects the protagonist’s own personality and the psychodramatic enactment reflects their “inner drama.” Psychodrama originates from a pluralistic concept of self. The conviction that the self is not a monolithic entity, but contains a multitude of different and sometimes contradictory parts, has now permeated the modern, constructivist research on self-concept (see Gergen, 1971, Markus and Litter, 1987). This image of a multidimensional and partially incoherent self is also compatible with psychoanalytic ideas. Thus, the “inner world” of an individual, which influences his thoughts, feelings and actions, presents itself as a conflict between different roles, impulses, motives, goals, demands and fears. The role of each of these individual parts is determined by the context. The references to the psychodrama stage as well as to role theory are particularly clear here. Psychodrama can bring these inner parts onto the stage in the form of auxiliaries, lend them a voice and let them interact to initiate a process of clarification: The individual parts are personified; they get a name and a message.

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The externalization of psychic content in surplus reality offers the clients an opportunity to deal with and disassociate themselves from the unwanted parts as well as to strengthen the positive parts in order to reconstruct their own roles. The principle of externalization is also used in systemic-constructivist therapy. However, while in systemic therapy externalization takes place in the client’s imagination, psychodrama derives its particular intensity and effect from scenic externalization in surplus reality. The concept of surplus reality offers starting points for a constructivist and symbolic model of psychodrama. From the constructivist perspective (e.g. Fosnot, 2005), our reality does not present itself as a precipitate of passively recorded sensual data, but as an active construction. However, we construct not only our environment but also ourselves. It seems to be a basic human need to construct one’s reality in such a way that it makes sense to him, and this applies to his self-image to an even greater extent than to his perception of his environment. Our self-image consists of our personality traits, values and ideals, experiences, beliefs, etc. We tend to assemble these elements of our self-image in such a way that, in our view, they provide a coherent whole, a consistent context, and a perceptible identity. We develop a strong attachment with this image of our identity. When challenged by internal or external events, we fit these events as much as possible into our existing self-image. If this fails, we feel uncomfortable or even experience an “identity crisis.” For example, people experiencing depressive disorders may even be more inclined to cling to a negative self-image than question it. While identity concepts are very individual in nature, their relation to the supra-individual systems of meaning and purpose is often of crucial importance: People make sense of their lives by referring to ethical principles, cultural traditions and religious belief systems, defining themselves as members of social groups, etc. Important Thus, identity consists of meaningful references within an individual’s personality, but also references which connect the individual with the “larger,” supra-individual contexts of meaning. However, this process of constructing meaning must not be misinterpreted as a purely cognitive process. On the contrary, in surplus reality, the principle of scenic work takes into account the fact that it requires active, emotional and physical processes for the purpose of experiential learning—Artist von Schlippe (1995), one of the most prominent representatives of systemic approaches in Germany, writes: In a broader sense, all forms of therapy attempt to change the descriptions of the experienced reality. Therapy is (…) a joint struggle for defining reality. All psychological measures, when successful, change the way in which (…) problems, mental disorders, illness and related options are talked about. It changes the (…) structure of meaning in the context of a particular system. And thus in addition to new cognitive concepts, it also needs new experiences. It is not only the head that has to invent a new story, but the body also has to experience it anew. Walter Kempler once said that ‘change is forged in the fires of emotions’ (p. 23 f., translation S.P.).

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Summary

Psychodrama can only be understood and applied professionally on the basis of a sound knowledge of Moreno’s basic theoretical concepts. Psychodrama is based on a humanistic concept of man: Spontaneity and creativity have always existed in humans as keys to the full realization of one’s own potential and only require activation and support in order to be able to solve individual and interpersonal problems. This activation of spontaneity and creativity is one of the main goals of psychodrama. Concepts such as tele and role shape the understanding of social relationships, whereas the concept of encounter functions as a guiding principle of psychodramatic work: “When we think on psychodynamics as part of a relationship, when we see the individual as a potential genius, when we as therapists are able to share our experiences, when we can take emotion as a leading and central guidance, we are psychodramatists” (Bustos, 2014, p. 39). It is not the isolated individual, but man as part of social relationships that forms the smallest unit of psychodrama. Moreno created psychodrama not only as psychotherapy, but as part of a sociotherapeutic system that includes sociometry and group psychotherapy. The basic methodological principle of psychodrama is to translate the subjective reality of individuals and groups into a scenic stage arrangement within the surplus reality.

References Buber, M. (1970). I and Thou. New York: Scribner. Bustos, D. (1994). Wings and roots. In P. Holmes, M. Karp, & M. Watson (Eds.), Psychodrama since Moreno: Innovation in theory and practice (pp. 63–75). London: Routledge. Bustos, D. (2006). The clusters theory. In Z. Figusch (Ed.), Sambadrama: The arena of Brazilian psychodrama (pp. 90–121). London: Kingsley. Bustos, D. (2014). Revisiting Moreno’s concepts of the theory of interpersonal relations. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 13(Supplement 1), 29–39. https://doi.org/10. 1007/s11620-014-0224-2. Clayton, M. (1994). Role theory and its application in clinical practice. In P. Holmes, M. Karp, & M. Watson (Eds.), Psychodrama since Moreno: Innovation in theory and practice (pp. 121– 144). London: Routledge. Cohen, T. (2020). Between Tele relation and I-Thou meeting: The therapeutic value of the psychodramatic concept of Tele from a Buberian approach. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 68, 101647. Compernolle, T. (1981). J. L. Moreno: An unrecognized pioneer of family therapy. Family Process, 20, 331–335. Daniel, S. (2004). Through the mirror: Role theory expanded. Journal of the British Psychodrama Association, 19, 23–31. Daniel, S. (2007). Psychodrama, role theory and the cultural atom: New developments in role theory. In C. Baim, J. Burmeister, & M. Maciel (Eds.), Psychodrama: Advances in theory and practice (pp. 67–82). Howe: Routledge. Daniel, S. (2016). The social collective and the social and cultural atom in the age of the social network. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 15(2), 213–229.

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Fosnot, C. T. (2005). Constructivism: Theory, perspectives, and practice (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press. Gergen, K. J. (1971). The concept of the self. New York: Wiley. Gergen, K. J. (2009). Relational being: Beyond self and community. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gershoni, J. (2003). The use of structural family therapy and psychodrama: A new model for a children´s group. In ders. (Ed.), Psychodrama in the 21st Century: Clinical and educational applications (pp. 49–61). New York: Springer. Goleman, D. (2005). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York: Bantam. Greenberg, I. (1974). Psychodrama theory and therapy. New York: Behavioural Publications. Kellermann, P. F. (1991). An essay on the metascience of psychodrama. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 44(1), 19–32. Kellermann, P. F. (1996). Focus on psychodrama. The therapeutic aspects of psychodrama (2nd ed.). London: Kingsley. Kipper, D. A. (2007). The canon of spontaneity—Creativity revisited: The effect of empirical findings. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 59, 117–125. Kipper, D. A., & Hundal, J. (2005). The Spontaneity Assessment Inventory (SAI) and the relationship between spontaneity and non-spontaneity. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama and Sociometry, 58, 119–129. Kristoffersen, B. (2014). Jacob Levy Moreno’s encounter term: A part of a social drama. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 13(Supplement 1), 59–71. https://doi.org/10. 1007/s11620-014-0222-4. Krüger, R. T. (in print). # New book by Springer. Leutz, G. A. (1974). Das klassische Psychodrama nach J. L. Moreno. Berlin: Springer. Leutz, G. (1982). Correspondences between the psychodramatic theory of child development and the processes and therapeutic goals of psychodrama. In M. Pines & L. Rafaelsen (Eds.), The individual and the group. Boston: Springer. Marineau, R. F. (1989). Jacob Levy Moreno, 1889–1974. Father of psychodrama, sociometry, and group psychotherapy. London: Tavistock. Markus, H., & Wurf, E. (1987). The dynamic self-concept: A social psychological perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 38, 299–337. Moreno, J. D. (1996). Foreword. In P. F. Kellermann (Ed.), Focus on psychodrama. The therapeutic aspects of psychodrama (2nd edn., pp. 7–9). London: Kingsley. Moreno, J. L. (1924). Das Stegreiftheater. Potsdam: Kiepenheuer. Moreno, J. L. (1932). The first book of group psychotherapy. Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L. (1937). Inter-personal therapy and the psychopathology of inter-personal relations. Sociometry, 1, 9–37. Moreno, J. L. (1940). Psychodramatic treatment of marriage problems. Sociometry, 1, 1–23. Moreno, J. L. (1951). Sociometry, experimental method and the science of society: An approach to a new political orientation. Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L. (1953). Who shall survive? Foundations of sociometry, group psychotherapy and psychodrama. Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L. (1956a). Philosophy of the third psychiatric revolution, with special emphasis on group psychotherapy and psychodrama. In F. Fromm-Reichmann & J. L. Moreno (Eds.), Progress in psychotherapy (Vol. 1, pp. 24–53). New York: Grune & Stratton. Moreno, J. L. (1956b). System of spontaneity-creativity-conserve. Sociometry, 18(4), 382–392. Moreno, J. L. (1959). Gruppenpsychotherapie und psychodrama. Einleitung in die Theorie und Praxis. Stuttgart: Thieme. Moreno, J. L. (1960a). The social atom: A definition. In J. L. Moreno (Ed.), The sociometry reader (pp. 52–54). Glencoe: Free Press. Moreno, J. L. (1960b). Role. In J. L. Moreno (Ed.), The sociometry reader (pp. 80–85). Glencoe: Free Press. Moreno, J. L. (1961). The role concept: A bridge between psychiatry and sociology. American Journal of Psychiatry, 118, 518–523.

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Moreno, J. L. (1965). Therapeutic vehicles and the concept of surplus reality. Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, 18, 211–216. Moreno, J. L. (1969). Psychodrama (Vol. 3). Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L. (1972). Psychodrama (Vol. 1, 4th edn.). Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L. (1975). Psychodrama (Vol. 2, 2nd edn.). Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L. (1991). Globale Psychotherapie und Aussichten einer therapeutischen Weltordnung. In F. Buer (Ed.), Jahrbuch für Psychodrama, psychosoziale Praxis & Gesellschaftspolitik 1991 (pp. 11–44). Opladen: Leske & Budrich. Moreno, J. L., & Moreno, F. B. (1944). Sponaneity theory of child development. Sociometry, 7(2), 89–128. Moreno, Z. T. (1954). Psychodrama in the crib. Group Psychotherapy, 7(3/4), 291–302. Nolte, J. (2014). The philosophy, theory and methods of J. L. Moreno: The man who tried to become god. New York: Routledge. Petzold, H. (1982). Die sozialpsychiatrische Rollentheorie J. L. Morenos und seiner Schule. In H. Petzold & U. Mathias (Hrsg.), Rollenentwicklung und Identität. Von den Anfängen der Rollentheorie zum sozialpsychiatrischen Rollenkonzept Morenos (13–189). Paderborn: Junfermann. Pio-Abreu, J. L., & Villares Oliveira, C. (2016). On measuring tele. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 15(Supplement 1), 41–55. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11620-015-0310-0. Sabelli, H., & Kauffman, L. H. (2013). The biotic logic of quantum processes and quantum computation. In F. Orsucci & N. Sala (Eds.), Complexity science, living systems, and reflexing interfaces (pp. 112–183). Hershey: Information Science Reference. Sader, M. (1991). Realität, Semi-Realität und Surrealität im Psychodrama. In M. Vorwerg & T. Alberg (Eds.), Psychodrama (pp. 44–63). Heidelberg: Barth. von Schlippe, A. (1995). »Tu was Du willst « – Eine integrative Perspektive auf die systemische Therapie. Kontext, 26(1), 19–32. Testoni, I., Wieser, M., Armenti, A., Ronconi, L., Guglielmin, M. S., Cottone, P., et al. (2016). Spontaneity as predictive factor for well-being. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 15(Supplement 1), 11–23. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11620-015-0307-8. Treadwell, T. (2014). J. L. Moreno: the pioneer of the group encounter movement and the forerunner of web-based social media revolution. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 13(1), 95–105. Waldow, M. (2001). Zur grundlagentheoretischen Kategorie der Spontaneität von J. L. Moreno. Gruppenpsychotherapie und Gruppendynamik, 37, 1–28. Winnicott, D. W. (2010). Playing and reality. London: Routledge. Yalom, I. D., & Leszcz, M. (2005). Theory and practice of group psychotherapy (5th ed.). New York: Basic Books. Yaniv, D. (2011). Revisiting Morenian psychodramatic encounter in light of contemporary neuroscience: Relationship between empathy and creativity. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 38(1), 52–58. Yaniv, D. (2014). Tele and the social atom. The oeuvre of J. L. Moreno from the perspective of neuropsychology. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 13(Supplement 1), 107–120. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11620-014-0225-1.

Further Reading Blatner, A. (1988). Foundations of psychodrama. History, theory and practice. New York: Springer (206 pages) (The strength of Blatner’s book lies in the systematic explanation of psychodrama’s mode of action with reference to the basic concepts of the method as well as the current psychological models). Holmes, P., Karp, M., & Watson, M. (Eds.). (1994). Psychodrama since Moreno (328 pages). London: Routledge (This book includes various articles on spontaneity/creativity, role theory,

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role reversal, sociometry and surplus reality. It is exciting that the book focuses on the spiritual and philosophical foundations of psychodrama. Cosmos, Religion and a contribution on Ethics by Moreno’s son Jonathan). Karp, M., Holmes, P., & Bradshaw-Tauvon, K. (Eds.). (1998). Handbook of psychodrama (305 pages). London: Routledge (In addition to an introduction to the history and principles of psychodrama, the chapters on the instruments (stage, protagonist, auxiliary ego, and director) are especially helpful). Krüger, R. (in print). Disorder-specific psychodrama therapy in theory and practice. Singapore: Springer (will be published in 2021, Krüger systematically explains the working principles of the psychodrama techniques with reference to the theory of role development and with a strong connection to the concept of mentalization).

Chapter 15

Sociometry

Probably the most important influence which sociometry exercises upon the social sciences is the urgency and the violence with which it pushes the scholars from the writing desk into actual situations, urging them to move into real communities and to deal with real people; urging them to move in personally and directly, with a warm and courageous heart […], urging them to begin with their science now and here, action research, not writing for the millennium of the library shelves. (Moreno, 1951, p. 5).

The ability to work with a group is influenced and limited by sociometric distortions, be it a therapy group, a school class or a work team. Latent conflicts, competing subgroups or dynamics of inclusion and exclusion can destroy the task at hand and cause lasting damage not only to the outcome but also to those involved. In many cases, the collective reflection and change of such sociometric dynamics are the director’s responsibility. Sociometry, psychodrama and sociodrama offer a comprehensive catalog of analysis and intervention possibilities for this purpose. Today, sociometrically inspired methods are used, for example, in team development (Jones, 2001), in schools (Jennings, 1973; Lee, 1991; Zachariha & Moreno, 2006) or in training groups. Sociometric work can also be done in individual settings, for example, the use of the social atom (Sect. 14.5) and the social network inventory (Sect. 14.6) in psychotherapy or working with perceptual sociograms in coaching. An instinct for and knowledge of sociometric phenomena, as well as basic methods of dealing with sociometric dynamics, are therefore among the basic qualifications of each group leader, including those who do not intend to change the group’s relationship structure. For example, if the task of the group in an organization development workshop is to evaluate the current situation of the organization, groups which are formed based on the participants’ preference will produce significantly different results than those in which the sociometric choice is excluded by randomization (e.g. counting).

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_15

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Given Votes A B C D E F G H Positive votes received Negative votes received Positive match Negative match

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Fig. 15.1 Sociomatrix (refer to the corresponding sociogram in Fig. 15.3)

Fig. 15.2 Symbols for creating the sociogram

Moreno (1959) distinguished between 1. Sociodynamics as a system for studying the structures and functions of groups, 2. Sociometry as “the science of measuring interpersonal relationships” (Moreno, 1959, p. 19; from Latin “socius” = partner and Greek “metrein” = measure) and 3. Sociatry as a system for changing social relationships, and summarized it under the concept of socionomy as the science of social relationships. Since these distinctions (as already noted by Moreno) are not selective,

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Sociometry

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Fig. 15.3 Example for a target sociogram (from Höhn & Seidel, 1969, p. 381, information taken from the sociomatrix in Fig. 15.1, regardless of the rankings)

we use the term sociometry—in accordance with the general usage in psychodrama —as a collective term for both the theoretical description (Sect. 14.1) and the measurement of relationships (Sects. 14.2–14.6). Since group research was still in its infancy in Moreno’s time, his work in this area represented significant theoretical and methodological progress (although Moreno could refer to a number of achievements since the end of the nineteenth century, see Bjerstedt, 1956). Sociometry—one of the three pillars of Moreno’s triadic system of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy—is one of the core components of psychodramatic thinking that has emerged at the scientific level in social psychology small group and networking research (Wasserman & Faust, 1995). Sociometry is quite vast in its theoretical as well as practical dimensions and cannot be fully dealt with in a textbook chapter. A large part of Moreno’s work deals with this topic (e.g. Moreno, 1951, 1953; Fox, 1987). You can find some good introductory texts in Hale (1985), Nolte (2014) and Treadwell et al. (1998).

15.1

Theoretical Assumptions of Sociometry

The difference between a formal group structure (as it manifests itself, for example, in the hierarchical structures within an organization or the formal roles in a family) and an informal level that lies behind this formal structure has become common sense in group research by now. Moreno was one of the first to attempt to describe this phenomenon. He distinguished surface structure from the underlying deep structure, the “sociometric matrix” of the group which is formed by the affective relationships between the group members. The surface structure and the sociometric matrix are usually not congruent, which can further give rise to conflicts. The interaction between these two levels and the conflicts that arise have a significant impact on our social reality (Moreno, 1951, pp. 127–133).

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Processes of emotional attraction or repulsion in relation to a person or group define the underlying relationship dynamics in a group. Moreno has termed these processes as elections. They form the basis for creating and sustaining all relationships and groups—right from the formation of small groups within a seminar group to the choice of a life partner. According to Moreno, the basis for these elections, which we carry out permanently and usually unconsciously in social situations, is the mechanism of tele which is effective in all interpersonal relationships (Sect. 14.2.1). The more positive the tele between the members of a group, the higher the cohesion of this group, says Moreno. The relationship network of attraction and repulsion in a group differs, depending on whether it is about erotic or intellectual attractiveness, for example. The preference structures in groups to be unveiled by sociometric investigations therefore differ based on the criteria underlying the elections of group members. The number of criteria that determine the relationship structures in our social networks is immeasurable, and it is the specific needs (or their intersection) of the people that enable us to come together in different group constellations with different elective criteria. According to the sociodynamic law formulated by Moreno, the number of elections in a group is unevenly distributed: Certain individuals have a higher “sociometric status”—they rank higher than others on the popularity scale. Research has shown that the sociometric status of individuals is quite stable. Furthermore, according to Moreno’s sociogenetic law, groups develop more complex structures as their development progresses, and their internal cohesion increases. He also postulates a law of social gravitation, according to which group members coordinate or move away in direct proportion to each other’s positive or negative elections. Moreno is convinced that deviations between formal and sociometric group structures are stressful for group members and lead to conflicts, tensions, diminished group performance and so on. Therefore, according to Moreno (1953), given the choice, people would come together in groups according to their own sociometric preferences. Sociometric and sociatrical research therefore aims at real transformation of groups—and ultimately of society as a whole—on the basis of their sociometric depth structures. Moreno actively pursued this utopian idea of creating sociometrically harmonious communities, especially in the early stages of his work. The origins of sociometry can already be found in his experiment in the Augarten in Vienna, where he asked the children to choose their “true” parents (all children decided on their real parents after a highly emotional search, see Chap. 13 ). Later, Moreno used sociometric criteria to redesign the refugee camp in Mitterndorf; as far as possible, the inhabitants were assigned to residential and working groups based on their mutual liking for one another. This was followed by other sociometric projects. Sing Sing Prison and the New York State Training School for Girls in Hudson, NY, were two such projects where the groups were rebuilt according to sociometric criteria.

15.1

Theoretical Assumptions of Sociometry

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Ultimately, sociometry aims “…to rebuild the groups, if necessary, so that the official surface structure is as near as possible to the depth structure” (Moreno, 1951, p. 37). Moreno always sought ways of reorganizing society through his theoretical and practical work: “The aim of sociometry is to help in the formation of a world in which every individual whatever his intelligence, race, creed, religion or ideological affiliation, is given an equal opportunity to survive and to apply his spontaneity and creativity within it” (Moreno, 1956, p. 19). Many have described Moreno’s utopian project as presumptuous and socially romantic. For example, Merleau-Ponty (2010, p. 112) suggests, “There is something naïve about this idea that social problems can be resolved by small sociometric revolutions in the given structure of society.” On the other hand, Moreno’s ideas are still relevant today—not only because they represent the basis of small group and network research (unfortunately largely forgotten), but because the significance of the quality of relationships for social integration is becoming increasingly explosive. Kristoffersen (2018) points out that sociometric thinking is highly relevant for today’s democratic practice and shows how this can be put into action.

15.2

The Sociometric Test

Sociometry is always the method of choice when it is about understanding latent relationship structures in a group, reflecting them back to the group, as well as reflecting on how to improve group relationships. The sociometric test is the core of the sociometric methodology. It captures the mutual preferences or rejections of group members using a paper-and-pencil method. First of all, conducting a sociometric test requires one to determine the criteria that they would like to ask the group about (e.g. “Who would you like to spend a weekend in a secluded mountain lodge with?”). This usually happens together with all the participants. One should include several different criteria in the sociometric test in order to get as broad a picture of the group as possible. This also shows those participants, who receive negative feedback from the group on one criterion, that they possibly have a higher sociometric status on another criterion. The mission and the interest of the group are critical in choosing the criteria: In a project team, the selection of criteria will be limited to work-related aspects such as trust and reliability, whereas it makes sense to diversify the criteria in training or therapy groups such that they cover different dimensions of relationships (e.g. emotional closeness, competence, shared humor). The benefits of a sociometric test depend on the quality of these criteria. Therefore, one should take enough time to • To explain to the group the significance of criteria for the sociometric investigation, • To discuss what is it that one wants to understand exactly, • To work with the group in collecting possible criteria, • To reflect together on how the criteria must be formulated to “measure” what they should measure,

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• To agree as far as possible on the connotations associated with a criterion (e.g. the criterion of “joint holiday” may produce erotic associations in one person, and ideas such as “intensive conversations,” “being athletic together,” “shared interest in a foreign culture” or the likes, in others). The criteria should be formulated in a specific and highly selective manner. A criterion such as “with whom would I go on a joint vacation trip” is too general. Instead, one could formulate it as follows: • “Who would I spend a weekend in New York with?” or • “Who would I like to spend a week in a snow-covered mountain hut with?” or • “Who would I like to join for a camel caravan through the Sahara?” Data sheets are prepared for each criterion according to the following pattern: 1. Criterion (e.g. “Who would you like to design an innovative project with, in the area of XY?”), 2. Name (of the participant who is making the choice), 3. “Who would you like to choose from the group in relation to this criterion (please number them in the order of rank)? Name—reason in short,” 4. “Who would you not choose from the group in relation to this criterion (negative choice, please number them in the order of rank)? Name—reason in short.” Respondents individually record their preferences (elections) in these data sheets. Depending on the goals, one can limit the test to positive choices or encourage the group to give negative choices (which, of course, involves much greater potential for conflict). Depending on the size of the group, one has to decide the number of votes they want to give per person. Some authors have criticized the assumption that elections are either positive (attraction), negative (refusal) or neutral. Our everyday experience teaches us that this critique is justified: Attraction and repulsion are not exclusive categories or extremes on a continuum. Carlson-Sabelli, Sabelli and Hale (1994) have conceptualized positive and negative choices as independent dimensions—thus, a person can not only be attractive or repulsive, but be attractive as well as repulsive. It is particularly interesting, beyond these so-called objective elections, to grasp the self-assessment of the electors; i.e. participants not only make their choices, but also make a written assessment of the positive or negative votes that they will receive from the other group members on the respective criteria (and, if so, for what reason). This subjective assessment, also known as the sociometric perception test, is then compared with the actual votes cast. The data are first entered into a sociomatrix (Fig. 15.1) for the purpose of evaluation. This sociomatrix allows us to understand some important characteristics through simple addition (e.g. number of positive/negative choices received). Moreover, the formation of numerous complex indices and the evaluation with statistical methods—from cluster analysis to graph theory models—is possible for research purposes. An overview of the same is given in the handbook by Wasserman and Faust (1995, p. 77 ff.).

15.2

The Sociometric Test

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In the next step, we can create a sociogram based on the data from the sociomatrix (Sect. 15.4). A sociogram implements the network of choices graphically and thus makes the formation of subgroups, sociometric stars, outsiders, etc., easily recognizable. However, the number of elections also increases the complexity of the presentation. It is therefore often useful to reduce the complexity, for example, by limiting to elections with ranks 1 to 3 or by creating sociograms on selected aspects such as positive matches, incongruent elections and separated by gender. The feedback from the results of the sociometric test can naturally be very harsh, distressing and offensive to group members who have received only a few positive and mostly negative votes, even more so if they did not expect such feedback. In such situations, the director must be supportive of these group members. It is important, for example, to remind the group members that the results of the sociometric test always depend on the choice of criteria—other criteria would lead to different results—and are only a snapshot (although sociometric data often demonstrate high stability over time). Important Sociometry does not only reproduce the dynamics of a group but can also —if not administered professionally—act as a catalyst for latent dysfunctional tendencies in the group. In this case, the sociometric test may not initiate a learning process but can only serve to increase the self-esteem of certain group members or allow the group to (unconsciously) punish unpopular members. If it appears that the results are precipitated by an objective and unchangeable “group truth,” then the actual goal was missed. The objective then is to work with the group in understanding what latent motivations, dynamics and “basic assumptions” (Bion, 1961) manifested in the elections. Thus, under no circumstances should the procedure be interpreted such that the process would have ended with the feedback of the data from the sociometric test— the actual work will only begin at this point. Interventions Based on Sociometric Data The first step in processing sociometric data is to allow the group to understand why they have been elected in a certain way and discuss the reasons with the respective group members. Any need for discussion is then “processed” in several rounds of two-way conversations in the end. Sociometry is also useful in warming-up each individual member of the group. It is possible that a painful experience from one’s own biography (e.g. I am experienced as humorless) gets reactivated by the feedback. Such individual need for clarification can, for example, be addressed in the context of protagonist-centered psychodrama.

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Further, it is also important to re-examine the results at the group level. The following perspectives may be interesting, depending on the field of work and the objective: • What do the results tell us about our group culture? • How does the sociometric structure of our group affect our cooperation? • What development possibilities, needs and directions do the sociometric results suggest? • What qualities/behaviors are rated positive in our group and why? What is avoided in our group? What do those people who received negative votes stand for? etc. With regard to the last question, it can be very enlightening to analyze, together with the group, the group culture with Bion’s concept of group mentality, Schnidler’s model of rank dynamics and/or Stock Whitaker’s model of the focal group conflict (all shown in Sect. 18.4). As a possible entry into such a deep analytical reflection of one’s own group culture is, for example, Buchanan’s (1984) proposal to use examples in order to show that sociometry is not a “beauty contest” (Buchanan) but reflects mostly unconscious preferences and supra-individual social dynamics—Buchanan calls Jesus Christ in Jerusalem as an example of a sociometric negative star and Adolf Hitler as an example of a sociometric positive star. Finally, the director should once again point out that the results are only one of the several possible realities of the group, and suggest a discussion on other possible realities that would have appeared with other assessment criteria (process analysis). Indications and Applications In every social system, there are relationship structures which are usually latent; i.e. they remain hidden from the communication within the system. This obscures the unrequited relational desires and associated disappointments, conflict potentials and other potentially threatening tendencies for the system’s existence. The sociometric test uncovers these relationship structures which can further result in deep insecurity and insults to the individual as well as an impairment of the group’s ability to work together. The use of the sociometric test is therefore only indicated in groups, – That have interacted with each other intensively over a long period of time, – That want to reflect on their relationship structure and are prepared to confront the emerging conflicts, – That gave the director an explicit mandate to carry out the sociometric test, based on thorough information on goals, processes, opportunities and risks (informed consent of all parties involved), – Where the framework (e.g. temporal) conditions exist to process the results of the test. Even then, the director should carefully consider whether the current group situation is favorable for conducting the sociometric test. Hale (1985, p. 31, abbreviated)

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The Sociometric Test

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lists a catalog of questions that every group leader should ask before deciding on the sociometric test: 1. Can I identify when it was and what was happening in the group which prompted me to consider using the sociometric test? 2. What advantages and disadvantages do I foresee to its use? For me? For the group? 3. Is there any aspect of the procedure I am unsure of? What do I need to know, and where can I find an answer to my questions? 4. What alternatives to the sociometric test have I in mind which could assist the group in its present stage of development and readiness? It is necessary to provide the group with detailed information on the process of the sociometric test in advance. It is also important to talk with the group about what happens after the test: Should one deal with the conflicts revealed by the test, and if so in what form? Should the group be rearranged on the basis of the results (e.g. by separation or a new composition of subgroups)? Conducting a sociometric test requires the director to have a sound sociometric education, the highest sensitivity, experience and a repertoire of conflict resolution techniques to cope with the strained group atmosphere and potentially violent emotional reactions of some group members.

15.3

Alternatives to the Sociometric Test

The sociometric test in its described “original form” is a complex and efficient procedure that is rarely used today. Since dealing with personal concerns arising from a complete disclosure of sociometric structures is very time-consuming or even completely impossible in many settings, sociometric work relies on smaller arrangements, as described in our example, in most cases. Example “Sociometry light” in the team This “attenuated” variant of the sociometric approach helps one reflect on the distribution of certain characteristics (attributed competences, influence, trust, etc.) in the team and at the same time practice feedback culture in the team. Each employee receives 2–4 moderation cards (depending on the size of the team), labels the cards with the names of people who they believe embody those criteria the most and places the card on their chair. Several criteria can be tested together with differently colored cards. A feedback and evaluation round follow, for example, with the following questions: • Feedback, why one was (not) elected. • Who did I give cards to? Who did I expect to receive the cards from? • What is the weighting between the influence and trust cards?

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Action Sociometry The basic idea of action sociometry is to make group structures visible by positioning the group members in the room instead of using a paper and a pencil. Although one loses the differentiation possibilities (when compared to the sociometric test) in doing so, it has an obvious advantage for practice: Action sociometry has a lower threshold and saves a lot more time than a sociometric test. It is usual to use action sociometry in the psychodrama scene whenever group members set up a criterion for themselves. We have described some variants of this working method in detail in Sect. 4.12. However, some of these methods are wrongly referred to as action sociometry, since they do not serve to capture the group’s latent relationship structures. The alphabetical name series at the beginning of a group process is one example. In such cases, it is better to use other terms, e.g. “scaling in space” for reasons of conceptual clarity. Action sociometry can be used as a diagnostic tool for studying the relationship structure of groups. For example: • In the first module of a multipart program on “Leadership in Change Processes,” the “seniority” of the participating executives is inquired through action sociometry. Three large homogeneous groups of less than 5, between 5 and 10, and more than 10 years of management experience are formed. At the end, the small groups first discuss among each other and then with the other groups their perception of leadership and the approaches that existed at the time of their service in dealing with the process of change. • The leader of an ecclesiastical working group requests for a consultant who begins the first session with an action-sociometric scaling of the topic “how promising is today’s session?” In this way, the polarization between the management team which is only supported by a small circle and the majority of the group is already recognized and processed at the beginning of the process. • Action-sociometric work with the “diamond of opposites”: Carlson-Sabelli, Sabelli and Hale (1994) developed the “diamonds of opposites” as an instrument which measures the attitudes of one or more people to a theme based on the dimensions of “attraction,” “rejection,” “neither attraction nor rejection” and “attraction as well as rejection.” The boundaries of the “diamond” can be marked with the aid of a tape affixed to the floor or with ropes, the four poles can be marked using chairs, labeled sheets of paper, etc. Following this, the participants position themselves within the spaces marked for a specific theme (e.g. “how do you feel about the group’s work so far?” on the dimensions of productive/harmonious).

15.4

15.4

The Sociogram

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The Sociogram

The sociogram is an excellent tool for presenting the social relationships in a group in a transparent and clear manner. It helps recognize group election which is based on some criteria (attraction/repulsion), proximity/distance, as well as the most prominent sociometric structures of the group, e.g. subgroups, group conflicts or outsiders. The symbols used in the classical representation of a sociogram are illustrated in Fig. 15.2. The “traffic light” system with positive elections in green, negative elections in red and ambivalence in yellow also depicts the complex group structures in a more accessible way. Today, there exist various computer programs for the creation of sociograms. The target sociogram offers a somewhat clearer representation, in which the symbols for the chosen ones are arranged in concentric circles according to the number of choices received (Fig. 15.3: A receives 5, B and C each receive 4, D and E receive 2 to 3 each, and F, G and H receive 0 to 1 choices each). Classically, sociograms serve to visually illustrate the results of the sociometric test. However, this is not the only possibility for application. The sociogram can also be used in individual work in order to visualize and reflect the perceived inclusion of the client in a social reference system. A classic example of this is the social atom (Sect. 15.5).

15.5

The Social Atom

Moreno developed the concept of the social atom (Sect. 14.2) within the framework of his theory of social networks. It describes the entirety of the relationships relevant to a person with respect to their attachment figures. The special form of the sociogram used to visualize and analyze a person’s social atom and the technique of creation is also called “social atom.” The social atom is excellently suited for diagnostic purposes in individual therapy (e.g. Clayton, 1982) or coaching, for example, to illustrate the social inclusion of the person, the quality of his relationships or changes in those relationships over the span of his lifetime. The sociogram can be used as a clarification aid in advising executives, project managers, group leaders, etc., to reflect and visualize their own perception of the complex relationship dynamics in the organization (youth group), to identify coalitions and conflict zones, etc. This technique is very easy to use: 1. The client draws a symbol representing themselves in the middle of a larger sheet of paper. 2. The client then draws their most significant relationships (relatives, friends, colleagues, deceased, pets, etc.) around this symbol, where the distance from the center is indicative of emotional closeness and distance.

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3. The client then draws connecting lines between themselves and other people depending on the quality of their relationship. The representation method described in Sect. 15.4 is used for this purpose (solid lines represent positive relationship, dashed lines indicate negative relationship, the strength of the line can express the strength of the emotion, etc.). The client’s self-perception (how do I feel toward the depicted person) should, as in the perceptual sociogram, be complemented by the estimated perception of others (“How does the depicted person feel toward me?”). In addition to this “classic” approach, there are many different ways of creating a social atom, for example, the use of a special software, colored sticky notes, empty chairs (where the creation of the social atom can be seamlessly transformed into psychodramatic work because of the ability to reverse roles with the people represented by the chairs) and symbols of all kinds. It is also possible to create an “action sociogram” through constellation work where the protagonist has the opportunity to explore the relationships in her social atom through role reversal, spontaneous dialogues with the depicted persons, the mirror technique and so on (Dayton, 2005, p. 93 f.). In order to shed light on the evolution of social relationships over time, one can compare the social atom representing the current situation of the client with the retrospective social atom of childhood and/or create a social atom projected into the future which represents the wishes or fears of the client (Dayton, 2005, p. 89 ff.). Other variants include the “parent–child atom” (the client, whose child is in a difficult phase, creates a social atom that shows his own social situation at that same age), the “sober vs. non-sober atom” or the “before and after trauma atom” (Dayton, 2005). The most important criteria for the analysis of the social atom are: 1. The number of relationships (Is the person socially well integrated or isolated? In what areas of life? What are the possible causes?), 2. The quality of relationships (Are there negative, incongruent or unrequited relations? With whom do they need to resolve?), 3. The cohesiveness in relationships (if there is hardly any connection between people in the social atom, it may be indicative of the lack of a functioning social network). Buchanan (1984) and Taylor (1984) have given a few other possibilities of analysis: How big or small does the client draw the symbol representing themselves (possible indication of self-esteem or withdrawal tendencies)? Are the relationships evenly spread across the sheet or are they “squeezed” near the edge? Does the client make any corrections/etchings? etc.

15.6

15.6

The Social Network Inventory (SNI)

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The Social Network Inventory (SNI)

The social network inventory was developed by Treadwell et al. to compensate for some of the disadvantages of the social atom (e.g. inconsistent execution, notation and interpretation) in practical work. The SNI (Treadwell, Leach & Stein, 1993) depicts four social atoms of the client (referred to as “quadrants” by the authors): 1. The psychological quadrant: significant people, pets or objects that influence the life of the client, 2. The collective quadrant: groups to which the client belongs and that influence his life, 3. The individual quadrant: people from the collective quadrant with whom the client develops a friendship, 4. The ideal dream quadrant: the smallest number of people who, according to the client’s assessment, would make their lives “perfect.” The client rates on a 7-point numerical scale: • How close is he to the persons named in the individual quadrant (self-perception). • How close he thinks others feel toward him (estimated perception of the other). Treadwell et al. (1993, p. 174) recommend the use of the SNI anamnestic during the admission of a client: • To assess changes over the course of therapy (e.g. comparison of outcomes from sessions 1, 8 and 14), • As part of a psychological test battery, for the development of therapeutic goals and team work plans, • For formative and summative evaluations. The authors are particularly interested in the application of the SNI in the family context: The SNI is useful in supplying the clinician with information regarding a person’s family structure, extracting clients’ or patients’ perceptions of how they feel as part of the family organization, their support systems, and how they perceive themselves in the ideal or wished-for family system. Social network data collected prior (usually a week) to a family session gives time for the clinician to understand the family dynamics. These data may be presented to family members and the patient during therapy for discussion of similarities and differences. (Treadwell et al. 1993, p. 172 f.)

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15 Sociometry

Summary

Sociometry, founded and later developed by Moreno, is a system for the theoretical description and empirical measurement of group structures. According to Moreno, each group has an “underlying structure” which is supported by emotional attraction or repulsion between members, thereby influencing the dynamics of the group. The tendencies of attraction and rejection manifest themselves in the classical instrument of interpersonal election, also known as the sociometric test. The group prepares, within the framework of an action research approach, for criteria such as “with which group member would I best prepare a lecture at a scientific congress?” Action sociometry on the other hand is a less complicated and confrontational sociometric instrument. Other sociometrically inspired techniques include the social atom and social network inventory, which can also be used in individual work.

References Bion, W. R. (1961). Experiences in groups. London: Tavistock. Bjerstedt, A. (1956). Interpretations of sociometric choice status. Lund: Gleerup. Buchanan, D. R. (1984). Moreno´s social atom: A diagnostic and treatment tool for exploring interpersonal relationships. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 11, 155–164. Carlson-Sabelli, L., Sabelli, H. & Hale, A.E. (1994). Sociometry and sociodynamics. In P. Holmes, M. Karp & M. Watson (Hrsg.), Psychodrama since Moreno. Innovations in theory and practice (pp. 147–185). New York: Routledge. Clayton, L. (1982). The use of the cultural atom to record personality change in individual psychotherapy. Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 35, 111–117. Dayton, T. (2005). The living stage. A step-by-step guide to psychodrama, sociometry and experiential group therapy. Deerfield Beach: Health Communications. Fox, J. (Ed.). (1987). The essential Moreno: Writings on psychodrama, group method and spontaneity. New York: Springer. Hale, A. (1985a). Conducting clinical sociometric explorations. Roanoke: Royal Publishing. Höhn, E., & Seidel, G. (1969). Soziometrie. In C. F. Graumann (Hrsg.), Handbuch der Psychologie (Band 7/1, pp. 375–397). Göttingen: Hogrefe. Jennings, H. H. (1973). Sociometry in group relations: A manual for teachers (2nd ed.). Westport: Greenwood. Jones, D. (2001). Sociometry in team and organisational development. The British Journal of Psychodrama & Sociodrama, 16, 69–78. Kristoffersen, B. (2018). Sociometry in democracy. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 17(1), 109–120. Lee, T. (1991). The sociodramatist and the sociometrist in the primary school. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 43, 191–196. Merleau-Ponty, M. (2010). Child psychology and pedagogy: The Sorbonne Lectures 1949–1952. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Moreno, J. L. (1951a). Sociometry, experimental method and the science of society: An approach to a new political orientation. Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L. (1953a). Who shall survive? Foundations of sociometry, group psychotherapy and psychodrama. Beacon: Beacon House.

References

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Moreno, J. L. (1956). Sociometry and the science of man. Beacon: Beacon House. Moreno, J. L. (1959). Gruppenpsychotherapie und Psychodrama. Einleitung in die Theorie und Praxis. Stuttgart: Thieme. Nolte, J. (2014). The philosophy, theory and methods of J. L. Moreno: The man who tried to become god. New York: Routledge. Taylor, J. A. (1984). The diagnostic use of the social atom. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama and Sociometry, 37(2), 67–84. Treadwell, T. W., Leach, E., & Stein, S. (1993). The social networks inventory: A diagnostic instrument measuring interpersonal relationships. Small Group Research, 24(2), 155–178. Treadwell, T. W., Kumar, V. K., Stein, S. A., & Prosnick, K. (1998). Sociometry: Tools for research and practice. International Journal of Action Methods: Psychodrama, Skill Training and Role Playing, 51(1), 23–40. Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1995). Social network analysis: Methods and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Zachariha, M., & Moreno, R. (2006). Finding my place: The use of sociometric choice and sociodrama for building community in the school classroom. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 58(4), 157–167.

Further Reading Moreno, J. L. (1951). Sociometry, experimental method and the science of society: An approach to a new political orientation (220 pages). Beacon: Beacon House (An essay collection with some basic texts on sociometry, group formation and social dynamics, and other specific topics). Moreno, J. L. (1953). Who shall survive? Foundations of sociometry, group psychotherapy and psychodrama (763 pages). Beacon: Beacon House (Fundamental work with in-depth study of the theoretical foundation of sociometry, Moreno’s theory of group development and detailed documentation of Moreno’s sociometric research in the Hudson School). Hale, A. E. (1985). Conducting clinical sociometric explorations (196 pages). Roanoke: Royal Publishing (Contains a wealth of guidelines, group exercises, worksheets, exploratory catalogs etc. on sociometric research as well as the work with the social atom. Detailed information on the preparation, execution and evaluation of sociometric investigations).

Part IV

Interdisciplinary Topics in Working with Psychodrama

Introduction Professional guidance in psychodrama is not just limited to in-depth knowledge of psychodramatic theory and methodology. There are a number of questions which cannot be answered simply on the basis of the methodology, for example: − How do I manage emotional injury and feelings of shame? − How do I work with aggression on stage? − How do I work with resistance to change? − How do I work with group dynamics? − How do I work with exclusion and discrimination tendencies, for example, in the context of different cultural, religious, social affiliations of the participants? These questions address only a few of the many interdisciplinary issues that play a role in all areas of work—psychotherapy as well as supervision, education and social work. In this part of this book, we would like to give readers some general advice on working with these interdisciplinary issues.

Chapter 16

Emotional Trauma, Shame and “Taboo Topics”

Imaginal exposure is perhaps the most important therapeutic element in trauma treatment […]. The concretization of traumatic imagery may be especially helpful in overcoming the client´s avoidant tendencies […]. Moreno´s psychodrama demonstrated the power of such imaginal exposure in the 1940 s and 1950 s […]. (Reed Johnson, Lahad & Gray, 2009, p. 480)

Aggression, shame, sexuality and emotional trauma are among the basic themes of human life. It is therefore only natural that these topics also play a more or less important role in psychodrama. Working with these and similar topics is a tightrope act even for experienced psychodramatists, who need to balance • • • •

The methodological aspects, Specific vulnerabilities of the protagonist, Sensitive group processes and possibly also, The personal life issues and weak points of the director.

In such a situation, one must first decide whether the topic can be dealt within the context of one’s work area, setting, contract and own qualification. A psychodramatic approach to the topic is often not appropriate, especially in non-therapeutic fields, as it exceeds the boundaries of the respective context. The director should clarify the limits of what is possible in these cases. In a supervision session, if the personal trauma—for example, from a romantic relationship—of the supervisee has a role to play in the topic at hand, it could look like this: “I feel like we are touching upon a very personal topic here which lies outside the framework of our supervision. I would therefore suggest that as we continue to work together we explore possible alternatives for you to differentiate yourself from your students in the future.” One could also make supportive alternative offers outside the group setting, if necessary. Even in therapeutic fields of work, enacting experiences of violence or other traumas can overwhelm the group and possibly cause secondary trauma in the participants. In such situations, one must carefully weigh the responsibility toward the protagonist as well as the other group members. It is often easier for all those involved to work on such topics in an individual setting, as long as the extent © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_16

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of the problem is evident before the play begins. However, the group can also be an important resource, especially when the participants have similar experiences. Above all, the director’s role involves being aware of and observing the limits of what is possible. Having said that, it is not necessary to transfer the topic out of the group situation in the majority of cases. Topics such as aggression and violence, sexuality, shame and emotional trauma can all play a role in dealing with a marriage conflict for instance, without particularly talking about the traumatic situation. But, emotionally charged situations can arise even when working with such “minimal trauma.” These situations then need to be dealt with sensitively and require in-depth psychological knowledge and methodical tools in order to protect the protagonist and the group. This chapter is an attempt to create such a sound psychological and methodological basis in the given framework, as far as it is possible, given the complexity of the topic. It goes without saying that one’s own qualified training and critical reflection are certainly not replaced by this.

16.1

Working with Shame and “Taboo Topics”

We often encounter taboo topics such as mental illness, sexual orientation and sex life, addictions, social status, religion or death in our therapeutic work as well as other fields using psychodrama. A major concomitant of working with these topics is the sense of shame they provoke in the protagonist and possibly also the other participants. Important Shame can result from a violation of the protagonist’s intimacy and privacy. However, it arises above all when the protagonist feels they cannot live up to the social norms that define what is considered to be morally good, beautiful, desirable, successful and so on. In such situations, the director must find a way for the protagonist to continue on the stage without too many inhibitions and the fear of exposure. If the protagonist desires and reckons that the other group members also have similar experiences, the director may invite the group to a sharing session in order to offer a sense of kinship to the protagonist in their experience of shame. If one expects that the group will not (or does not want to) share comparable experiences, the sharing should instead provide the group members with a space to express the concerns they experienced during the course of the play. The topics involving shame can be particularly explosive in group settings due to their taboo character. The psychodrama director must then protect the protagonist from a group dynamic that can express itself (e.g. when it comes to sexuality) in the form of inadequate doubles that serve the group’s voyeurism (“To be honest, I

16.1

Working with Shame and “Taboo Topics”

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would like Thomas to tear his clothes off”) or in the form of moral pressure that the group exerts on the protagonist. In order to reduce these tendencies, the director may suggest that the protagonist turns her back toward the group, as if she were alone, when working with scenes involving shame. However, there is a risk that the protagonist’s embarrassment is not reduced, but further increased in this turn your back technique. Instead, it makes more sense to shift the focus of the group by giving it an independent task, while the protagonist plays the shame scene. An elegant solution arises when the activity of the group can be used as an atmospheric element for the scene to be played. For example, if the scene involves an intimate conversation in a restaurant that the group should not ideally overhear, one can use the tables, chairs and other props on stage to set up the restaurant, and the rest of the group members play the role of restaurant-goers who talk to each other. This creates a background noise that gives the protagonist the safety of being able to continue the scene without any listener—except, of course, the director and, if applicable, the auxiliary who plays the conversation partner. In addition, the atmosphere created by the group contributes to the warming-up of the protagonist. Finally, the group is activated by this procedure and can “process” the problematic group dynamics mentioned in the play. However, it is not always possible to incorporate the group organically in this form. On the other hand, inviting group members to get together in dyads and discuss their own experiences involving shame is a feasible option in all play situations. If the group has been distracted by other activities, it is important to give them a broad (omitting the shameful details) idea about how the protagonist’s play has evolved so that the group can follow it, after the end of the scene. Important In some areas of work, such as in education or supervision, the experience of shame is inevitably preprogrammed within the system. The participants move in a field of tension between the paradoxical invitations to “expose weaknesses and failures” and “do everything right.” The director must observe this field of tension closely and discuss it with the group, if necessary.

16.2

Working with Sexuality and Aggression

A realistic enactment of sexual, affectionate or aggressive experiences on stage would involve intensive physical contact between the participants. This usually compromises the physical integrity of the participants and transcends the boundaries of the setting. Therefore, the scenes must

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• Either be relocated to a protected setting outside the group or • At least be modified such that the protagonist has a realistic experience and all the participants involved are also protected at the same time. This affects not only the protagonist and the auxiliaries, but also the spectators. In any case, scenes with aggressive and sexual content require the director to state a clear boundary before the start of the play. The director must inform the participants clearly and repeatedly that they can give a signal to interrupt the scene at any point if necessary. For this purpose, they should agree upon a nonverbal signal beforehand. In addition, one must ensure that there are no objects on the stage that could pose a risk to the participants. In some situations, one can set up a “safe place” (Sect. 16.3) at the edge of the stage for participants to withdraw if they feel stressed at any point during the play. The methodological suggestions listed here apply analogously to situations in which the protagonist has been the victim of violence; in addition, one must also consider the aspect of traumatization which we have discussed further in Sect. 16.3. There are a number of possibilities that can also be combined with each other to protect the participants in aggressive scenes. For example, the auxiliaries in scenes with a high degree of (physical, but also verbal) aggression can be exchanged with auxiliary objects (e.g. chairs). To further protect the victim, the scene can be modified, e.g. by playing it in slow motion. This approach is especially recommended when the protagonist is in the victim role. It is just as important to protect the participants in scenes involving sex or affection as it is in aggression-laden scenes. However, here it is rather the breach of the players’ privacy than the physical aspect that causes the problem. Often, it is not necessary to enact the precarious parts of the events in detail—one can then skip over those parts, with the consent of the protagonist, using the time-lapse technique. Another option is to exchange the auxiliary ego with an inanimate object or enact the relevant part of the scene with the protagonist’s back to the group (“Turn your back,” Sect. 16.1).

16.3

Working with Emotional Abuse and Trauma

Psychodrama deals with experiences of trauma and emotional abuse in more than just therapeutic fields of work. The extent of emotional wounds left behind by these experiences can be quite varied. War, torture, sexual abuse and rape can cause severe psychological damage with grave long-lasting effects. Such extreme, but not rare, experiences are called (psycho-) traumas. In many cases, we will be dealing with emotional injuries that are less extreme. But even the public humiliation by the superior, the news of the husband’s infidelity, the death of a friend or a traffic accident—depending on the personality, constitution and previous history of the client—can trigger traumatic symptoms in different forms. In such cases, one can refer to “minimal trauma.”

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Working with Emotional Abuse and Trauma

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Important Minimal trauma, or even trauma in the narrow sense, is common in all fields of work, but often remains unnoticed or inconsequential in the designing of the intervention. This is particularly problematic in psychodrama, because psychodramatic experiential work can activate and even intensify old emotional injuries. Traumatic experiences, which go beyond a minimal trauma, can only be processed in a therapeutic setting and must be reserved for specially trained therapists in order to ensure the client’s safety.

16.3.1 Psychodramatic Trauma Processing In the last 20 years, the following resources have emerged in relation to the topic “psychodrama and trauma”: 1. The very valuable fundamental work of Kellermann (2007), which focuses primarily on the collective dimension of trauma and its sociodramatic work, 2. Kate Hudgins’ book describing the application of her Therapeutic Spiral Model in psychodramatic trauma therapy (Hudgins & Toscani 2013), 3. A publication with 17 contributions (Kellermann & Hudgins, 2000), 4. A thematic booklet (International Journal of Action Methods, 1998), as well as 5. Numerous individual contributions (e.g. Carbonell & Parteleno-Barehmi, 1999; Davis, 1990; Hudgins, 1998; Kipper, 1998; Mennen & Meadow, 1992; Perret-Catipovic & Ladame, 1999; Verhofstadt-Denève, 1999; Zaidi & Gutierrez-Kovner, 1995). The psychodramatic processing of trauma in the impressive case presentation by Karp (2000) is particularly vivid. Experiential methods can be an important part of processing trauma. This hypothesis is increasingly being supported and even substantiated with empirical findings (Elliott, Davis & Slatick, 1998; Greenberg, Watson & Lietaer, 1998). Psychodrama is increasingly being recognized as a method for processing trauma in recent times. On the other hand, experiential work with people with traumatic experiences also involves some risks: Traumatic memories can be easily triggered, without any conscious intervention of the person, through situations that are very similar to the original affective and physiological traumatic experience (see Kolk and Hart, 1989). Since the use of linguistic pathways in processing traumatic memories is reduced and the use of sensorimotor pathways increased, accessing them via “body memory” is particularly effective (see Kramer’s considerations on the category of “somatic memory” in Kramer, 1990; further findings on trauma memory by Christianson and Loftus, 1990 and Siegel, 1995). Experiential work in surplus reality can therefore trigger dissociated and suppressed memories and make them therapeutically useful, but it can also lead to intense flashbacks and thus to unintended retraumatization.

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The processing of trauma basically takes place in three phases: 1. Stabilization, 2. Trauma exposure, provided the client is sufficiently stable and there is no possibility of further trauma and contact with the perpetrator during the treatment, 3. Integration. In the following section we want to develop the basic tenets of a working method that is useful in working with minimal traumatic experiences (whereby the procedure must be adapted to the respective situation and the field of work). Of course, a textbook chapter is not sufficient to develop a comprehensive concept for therapeutic work with individuals with traumatic experiences—it is therefore necessary that one gains sound knowledge (see, e.g., Briere and Scott, 2015; van der Kolk 2015 and the above literature), experience and focused training, beyond the guidance provided in this chapter. It may seem exaggerated to some readers to refer to such a complex stage setup for the processing of minimal traumas such as a marital strife. However, our experience shows that such a secure framework is important and helpful to clients even in such cases. We therefore consider a traumatologically sound concept for psychodramatic work, even with minimal trauma, as an important component of professional conduct. Phase 1: Stabilization The stabilization phase predominantly focuses on strengthening one’s defenses and resources. The goal is to build the client’s ego boundaries such that dealing with hitherto inaccessible material is possible without the risk of retraumatization. This goal is pursued in three ways: 1. Analyzing the role spectrum in terms of roles and resources that could provide the client with security and empowerment in the exposure phase: In considering their abilities (e.g. sensitivity or imagination), the clients should activate the pre-traumatic resources, roles and abilities that helped them cope with the traumatic experience. 2. Establishing/strengthening these positive roles and resources in the client’s current role spectrum. 3. Building cohesion, trust and interpersonal support in the context of the group and in their relationship with the director. The success of the stabilization phase is measured by the availability of positive roles as well as the client’s adaptive capacity to remain separate from the trauma role while processing a trauma scene. The methodical procedure for the treatment of trauma should be explained to and secured by an explicit contract from the client (“informed consent”) in all phases, but definitely before entering the exposure phase. This contract should include a detailed description of what will and will not be processed during the course of the treatment.

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Phase 2: Exposure The transition to dealing with the actual traumatic experience may only happen when sufficient stabilization has taken place. A highly structured approach with three elements has proven useful for this purpose: 1. Working on different levels of reality, 2. The use of specific trauma exposure techniques, 3. An intervention concept based on professional therapeutic considerations. Principle of psychodramatic trauma processing: Play on multiple levels of reality An important principle for psychodramatic trauma work is the deliberate use of four different levels of reality, which must be spatially separated from one another in a concrete stage setup: The level of psychodramatic interview In the psychodramatic interview (Sect. 10.8.1), at the beginning of the play, the protagonist shares their current perspective on the experiences they have had in the past. The “there-and-then” formulation along with the director’s encouraging speech helps the protagonist keep a safe distance from the traumatic experience. The observation position If the client feels stable enough, they move to the observer position situated at the edge of the stage. Traumatic scenes should first be enacted in the playback format. In doing so, the scene is played by the group without the protagonist’s participation; the protagonist sits or stands at the edge of the stage, gives instructions to the group and watches what is happening like in a movie. Even in this situation, the director should create opportunities to maintain distance, e.g. by creating a barrier between the observer position and the rest of the stage as well as by repeating safety instructions, such as “What you see here is just a movie and you can stop it at anytime by raising your hand.” This psychodramatic concept is closely linked to the screen technique described by Spiegel and Spiegel (2004, p. 438 ff.), which belongs to the standard techniques of trauma therapy. The surplus reality as an action space in which the trauma scene is enacted The protagonist can now switch from the observer position to the trauma scene. They can take on their own role, but also, for example, the roles of other participants, of fictitious characters, objects or the like. There must be a therapeutic indication for the change to the level of surplus reality. The change into one’s own role should be as gentle as possible, for example, by letting the protagonist enter the scene of action just after the offender has left. If the protagonist is overpowered by emotions, they can immediately switch back to the observer position or to the “safe place” (next section). The “safe place.” This is one of the trauma exposure techniques which is explained below.

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Trauma exposure techniques The trauma exposure techniques described below serve to “anchor” positive inner roles and conditional images so that they are available to the protagonist during trauma exposure. If the client is emotionally overwhelmed at any point, the director can use the previously anchored stimulus to bring the client back into the here and now. The “safe place.” Before starting with trauma exposure, the director asks the protagonist to name a (real or imaginary) place where they feel completely safe and secure. The safe place may be a mountain hut, a flower meadow, a desert island, a fortress or a place which may remain unknown to the director. The safe place should be imagined in as much detail as possible and linked to several sensory modalities with anchors: What does it look like over there, how does it smell, what are the different sounds you hear? For example, in Shapiro’s (2001) detailed approach, the secure place arises solely in the imagination of the clients, whereas in psychodrama one can actually set it up on stage and visit it. However, it is necessary to maintain distance with the trauma scene, for example, by setting the safe place among the audience. An auxiliary object that symbolizes the safe place (e.g. a cloth in the client’s favorite color and a stone) can be another anchor. Krüger (2002) recommends that the protagonist selects a co-player to embody a role complementary to that of the victim (guardian angel or similar). Often, the mere knowledge of the fact that there is a safe place available already has a stabilizing effect that is sufficient enough to dare and endure the confrontation with the traumatic experiences. The “inner helpers.” This “classic” trauma exposure technique can be excellently used in a psychodramatic way. The protagonist imagines “inner helpers” who can play a supportive role for them. These can include a magician, a guardian angel, a stuffed animal from childhood or another being. The inner helper can then be “summoned” to offer support in particularly stressful moments. In psychodrama, this role can be filled with an auxiliary ego or a symbol and then explored through role reversal. The “supportive double.” Even the classical psychodrama methodology offers elements to support the protagonist. When using the supportive double (Sect. 5.4.2), the protagonist selects a member of the group who stays with them as a strength during the entire scene. The mere presence of a double is effective enough, but they can also offer advice and comfort, if the protagonist so wishes. Objectives of processing trauma using psychodrama Synthesizing memory fragments Dissociated, fragmented memories are to be assembled into a meaningful form. Recovering the ownership of one’s experience The “script” of the traumatic situation can be changed in the psychodramatic surplus reality in order to break through the client’s initial powerlessness. One can invite those people into the

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scene, who were not present in the original situation, but can now support the protagonist as an assistant or at least a witness in the play. Allowing pain The client should be able to experience their own emotional pain. According to Greenberg and Paivio (1998), emotional pain may have some adaptive value (e.g. as in mourning), but is often avoided. Psychodrama aims to overcome this avoidance. To experience that one can endure a conflict with the trauma The client learns that they need not suppress or dissociate from their traumatic experience and the resulting pain; instead, they can manage it. Dissolution of the internal conflict between good and evil introjects The client should be able to “discard” the traumatic instances from their self through action-based/verbal defense, and countering or punishing the offender. This “defense post hoc” can be enacted through a scene in psychodrama; e.g. when the client has experienced sexual harassment by a relative in her childhood, she might be encouraged to call for help or to fight the abuser in the reenacted scene on the psychodrama stage. Development of new, progressive roles The role repertoire of patients with traumatic experiences is often “frozen” at the level of those experiences. In which case, their future-oriented, positive roles (e.g. for the building of social relationships) have to be newly developed. This can happen—slowly and progressively— in psychodramatic role training. Phase 3: Integration In the third phase of therapy, the client should be enabled to explicitly process the implicit and fragmented memories in order to gain ownership of experiences that were previously beyond their control. This phase focuses on the cognitive processing of the knowledge and action strategies obtained in the scene previously. The events and images of the trauma scene must become comprehensible and thus a part of a story that makes sense in the life context of the client. Siegel (1995) describes this process as “narrativization” (p. 96). Thus, talking about the experience is an important part of the treatment process.

16.4

Working with Clients Feeling Destabilized, Engaging in Self-destructive Behavior and/or Being at Risk of External Harm

Every process of change, whether it is therapy, counseling or another learning process, shakes one’s understanding of self and the world around at least for a moment. The degree of destabilization ranges from the necessary and meaningful

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questioning of traditions, which the client can easily absorb in the context of her resources, to suicidal intent or the fantasy of murder. How can one facilitate this process of integrating unsettling and threatening experiences? What can be done if the psychodramatic work unintentionally destabilizes the client and if unsettling experiences cannot be coped with in the given setting? How does one deal with it when the client’s primary concern reveals an “underlying” trauma? And what happens if the client is already destabilized at the start of therapy that there is a risk of self or external harm? These questions are relevant—to varying degrees—to all fields of work and require a graded chain of interventions. Level 1: Resource Activation In case the client feels destabilized, the director should first try to stabilize them in the psychodrama session. If this goes beyond the limits of the available time or setting, the focus of the final phase of the session should be on activating the client’s resources to solve the problem. The different ways to activate resources are as follows: Search for strengths and competencies While trivial comments such as “You can do it” or “You’ll see, it’s not all that bad” and appeals such as “You cannot throw your life away” are more an expression of the director’s helplessness than an expression of their rapport with the client, a change of perspective can bring strengths and resources into focus. One possible intervention for a client feeling depressed might be: “It’s obviously very difficult for you, but from what you’ve told me, I’m surprised that you’re not feeling much worse. Many people in your situation do not even have the strength to go to a psychotherapist. How do you think you did it?” (Mücke, 2001, p. 72 f., translation S.P.). Search for competent roles One can strengthen the supporting roles in the repertoire of the client’s roles by inviting the client to step into a positively defined role at the end of a protagonist play. Search for external resources In addition, the director can work with the protagonist to build a supportive network of external resources that they can use after the session is over: “Who can you reach out to talk about this difficult topic (friends, relatives or therapist) either today or in the next few days?” Important In case the client feels destabilized, the director should first focus on stabilizing the resources available to the client (e.g. own strengths, competent roles, support from friends) or refer them to professional counseling or therapy.

16.4

Working with Clients Feeling Destabilized, Engaging …

253

Level 2: Assistance If the evaluation of their social network proves that the client does not have sufficient resources to cope with their difficulties, the director herself should make concrete offers of help. Such a support offer may consist of a direct conversation with a co-director immediately after the end of the play or in an individual setting the following day. When the client is more likely to engage in self-harm behavior, a risk management concept can be set up where the director helps to identify triggers for self-harm and understanding how these triggers work. Working on these triggers can be a focus of the therapeutical process, without the therapist really insisting that the clients stop self-harm. They tend to stop themselves. And sometimes they do hurt themselves when in distress but again this can be worked on in therapy (Shama Parkhe, personal communication). In more severe cases a contract between the client and the therapist has proved to be helpful. This contract is sealed with a handshake and contains the following: • The client agrees to refrain from serious self-harm, • The client agrees to call the therapist if they feel the impulse to self-harm, • The therapist will end the therapy process if this agreement is disregarded. Level 3: Protection against self-destructive behavior as well as external harm If the client is no longer able to take responsibility for themselves and others, and there is a risk of suicide and/or external harm, the director might be obliged to admit the client into a closed psychiatric ward even on an involuntary basis (depending on the respective legal situation). This is not only to ensure the client’s safety, but also to comply with the duty of care and the (legal and ethical) responsibility of the therapist.

16.5

Summary

The following three principles are of paramount importance when working with aggression, emotional abuse and trauma: 1. It is basically resource-activating; i.e. the focus is on strengths, coping mechanisms and future orientation, and not on deficits, problems and regression. 2. Safety first! The physical and emotional protection of all involved has absolute priority. The methodological guidelines for implementing this principle have been explained in detail in this chapter. 3. The director should be aware of the limitations of the setting as well as their own competence. The protagonist must be, as per their wish, referred to a different setting or an expert colleague, if necessary. An ongoing play can be ended before (!); it reaches a critical point—and must be followed by some stabilizing measures.

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An extensive amount of experience on the part of the director and a qualification beyond reading a textbook chapter are indispensable prerequisites when working with traumatic experiences.

References Briere, J. N., & Scott, C. (2015). Principles of trauma therapy: A guide to symptoms, evaluation, and treatment (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage. Carbonell, D. M., & Parteleno-Barehmi, C. (1999). Psychodrama groups for girls coping with Trauma. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 49(3), 285–306. Christianson, S.-A., & Loftus, E. F. (1990). Some characteristics of people’s Traumatic memories. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 28(3), 195–198. Davis, S. (1990). Helping young girls come to terms with sexual abuse. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 53(3), 109–111. Elliott, R., Davis, K. L., & Slatick, E. (1998). Process-experiential therapy for posttraumatic stress difficulties. In L. S. Greenberg, J. C. Watson, & G. Liataer (Eds.), Handbook of experiential psychotherapy (pp. 249–271). New York: Guilford. Greenberg, L. G., & Paivio, S. C. (1998). Allowing and accepting painful emotional experiences. International Journal of Action Methods: Psychodrama, Skill Training & Role Playing, 51(2), 47–61. Greenberg, L. S., Watson, J. C., & Liataer, G. (Eds.). (1998). Handbook of experiential psychotherapy. New York: Guilford. Hudgins, M. K. (1998). Experiential psychodrama with sexual Trauma. In L. S. Greenberg, J. C. Watson, & G. Lietaer (Eds.), Handbook of experiential psychotherapy (pp. 328–348). New York: Guilford. Hudgins, K., & Toscani, F. (Eds.). (2013a). Healing World Trauma with the therapeutic spiral model: Psychodramatic stories from the frontline. London: Kingsley. International Journal of Action Methods: Psychodrama, Skill Training & Role Playing (1998). Trauma, 51(2). Karp, M. (2000). Psychodrama of rape and torture. A sixteen-year follow-up case study. In P. F. Kellermann & M. K. Hudgins (Eds.), Psychodrama with Trauma survivors: Acting out your pain (pp. 63–82). London: Kingsley. Kellermann, P. F. (2007a). Sociodrama and collective Trauma. London: Kingsley. Kellermann, P. F., & Hudgins, M. K. (Eds.). (2000). Psychodrama with Trauma survivors: Acting out your pain. London: Kingsley. Kipper, D. A. (1998). Psychodrama and trauma: Implications for future interventions of psychodramatic role-playing modalities. International Journal of Action Methods— Psychodrama, Skill Training, and Role Playing, 51(3), 113–121. Kramer, S. (1990). Residues of incest. In H. Levine (Ed.), Adult analysis and childhood sexual abuse (pp. 149–170). New York: Analytic Press. Krüger, R. T. (2002). Psychodrama als Aktionsmethode in der Traumatherapie und ihre Begründung mit den Konzepten der Rollentheorie und der Kreativitätstheorie. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 1(2), 117–146. Mennen, F. E., & Meadow, D. (1992). Process to recovery: In support of longterm groups for sexual abuse survivors. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 42(4), 29–44. Mücke, K. (2001). Probleme sind Lösungen. Systemische Beratung und Psychotherapie—ein pragmatischer Ansatz (2nd ed.). Potsdam: Mücke ÖkoSysteme. Perret-Catipovic, M., & Ladame, F. (1999). The psychodrama of trauma and the trauma of psychodrama. In M. Sugar (Ed.), Psychic Trauma in adolescence (pp. 75–90). Madison: International Universities Press.

References

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Reed Johnson, D., Lahad, M., & Gray, A. (2009). Creative therapies for adults. In E. B. Foa, T. M. Keane, M. J. Friedman, & J. A. Cohen (Eds.), Effective treatments for PTSD: Practice guidelines from the international society for traumatic stress studies (2nd ed., pp. 479–490). New York: Guilford. Shapiro, F. (2001). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures. New York: Guilford. Siegel, D. J. (1995). Memory, trauma, and psychotherapy. A cognitive science view. Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research, 4, 93–122. Spiegel, H., & Spiegel, D. (2004). Trance and treatment: Clinical uses of hypnosis (2nd ed.). New York: Basic Books. van der Kolk, B. A. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of Trauma. New York: Penguin. van der Kolk, B. A., & van der Hart, O. (1989). Pierre Janet and the breakdown of adaptation in psychological trauma. American Journal of Psychiatry, 146, 1530–1540. Verhofstadt-Denève, L. M. F. (1999). Action and drama techniques with adolescent victims of violence: A developmental therapeutic model. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine & Health, 11(3/4), 351–367. Zaidi, L. Y., & Gutierrez-Kovner, V. M. (1995). Group treatment of sexually abused latency-age girls. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10(2), 215–227.

Further Reading Hudgins, K., & Toscani, F. (Ed.) (2013). Healing world trauma with the therapeutic spiral model: Psychodramatic stories from the frontline (p. 368). London: Kingsley (The book describes the application of the Therapeutic Spiral Model, developed by Kate Hudgins, in various therapeutic settings, with a focus on trauma in its various facets). Kellermann, P. F. (2007). Sociodrama and collective trauma (p. 215). London: Kingsley (Kellermann describes the sociodramatic work with traumatized persons as a genuine group therapy concept. In doing so, he distinguishes between various concepts that can be used to process collective traumas, political upheavals in society, intercultural tensions and interpersonal conflicts, as well as reconciliation post conflicts).

Chapter 17

“Resistance” to Change

We don’t tear down the protagonist’s walls, rather, we simply try some of the handles on the many doors, and see which one opens. (Moreno, n.d., cited from Blatner, 1996, p. 78).

Psychodramatic processes stimulate a change in behavior, attitudes, family or team communication, etc., and every practitioner knows that this process of change does not always progress as smoothly as one would expect. Some of the many reasons for this include clients who question the goals or the methodology, remain silent or do not keep appointments, methods learnt during training are not applied in practice, and decisions made in workshops are not implemented. The focus of this chapter is on such phenomena, also known as resistance to change. We will first describe some manifestations of such phenomena in order to then discuss possibilities of interpreting and working through the resistance. If one identifies a certain behavior of their client as resistance, for example, apprehension when answering a question, it usually implies that the client is stopping himself—consciously or unconsciously—from engaging with the director’s intervention. This could be to avoid an unpleasant confrontation with his feelings perhaps. This tendency to locate the source of resistance in the client is derived from the psychoanalytic concept of resistance. As a critique of this view, we have described further possibilities of interpreting resistance in Sects. 17.3 and 17.4. These essentially contribute to a more differentiated view of the phenomenon of resistance and thus also to a wider range of possible reactions for the director.

Due to its problematic connotations, the term resistance is set in quotes at the very beginning. Hereinafter, the quotation marks are omitted for reasons of readability. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_17

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17.1

Manifestations of Resistance

The process of analyzing and processing resistance begins by observing a particular behavior of a client or a group dynamic phenomenon and classifying it as resistance. This classification is based on the director’s subjective understanding and does not necessarily imply any correlation with the client’s reality. Accordingly, there is no exhaustive catalog which defines what resistance “is” and is not. There is a detailed account of manifestations of resistance in the literature (e.g. Greenson, 1967), ranging from late arrivals to a strong urge to move or the avoidance of certain topics. Even in groups, certain collective patterns of behavior such as using discussions as a substitute, engaging in formalities or delegating guilt and responsibility to the director are identified as resistance. Moreno was one of the first to transfer the classic individual-based concept of resistance to the supra-individual level— describing such phenomena in groups as “interpersonal resistance” (e.g. Moreno, 1977). However, the distinction between resistance and behavior without resistance is often not a question of the quality of the concerned behavior, but rather a quantitative problem: We often perceive the extreme forms of an otherwise normal behavior as “resistant.” It so happens that resistance is often found at the opposite extreme points of a continuum: Obstinate silence No action Lack of affect

17.2

Versus Versus Versus

Rant “Overacting” Hysterical

Fundamentals of the Concept of Resistance

The psychoanalytic concept of resistance is closely linked to the concept of defense mechanisms and can only be understood in connection with it. Definition A defense mechanism is an unconscious psychological process that protects the psyche from harmful and distressing stimuli by keeping unpleasant emotions (e.g. fear, guilt, shame) caused by, for example, an impulse unacceptable to the superego or a historical trauma from becoming conscious. Such defense mechanisms include repression, projection, introjection, isolation, rationalization and intellectualization.

17.2

Fundamentals of the Concept of Resistance

259

These mechanisms which act as a defense internally appear as resistance in the therapeutic situation (“externally”). Psychoanalysis defines resistance as follows: “whatever interrupts the progress of analysis is a resistance” (Freud, 1900, p. 521), or as Greenson (1967) writes: All those forces within the patient which oppose the procedures and processes of analysis, i.e., which hinder the patient’s free association, which interfere with the patient’s attempts to remember and to gain and assimilate insight, which operate against the patient’s reasonable ego and his wish to change; all of these forces are to be considered resistance (p. 59 f.).

Greenson (1967) offers an important psychoanalytic distinction between ego-alien and ego-syntonic resistances. The patient is usually aware of the ego-alien resistances. Greenson notices that although the patient behaves “resistant” (e.g. aggressive toward the analyst), they themselves find it astounding and inexplicable. They feel as if an external uncontrollable force is imposing their behavior on themselves. On the contrary, the ego-syntonic resistances are imperceptible to the patient. Although they appear to be resistant on the outside, they find their behavior to be appropriate, rational or even morally necessary. Ego-syntonic resistance is characterized by denial, rationalization and trivialization. Thus, it is much more difficult to deal with them, as compared to ego-alien resistances. An important step in most ways of working through resistance is transforming the ego-syntonic resistances to becoming ego-alien. There are three controversies surrounding Freud’s conception of resistance. They are as follows: 1. Several critics have disagreed with Freud’s assumption that resistance is necessary and always based on defensive processes. They argue that the equation between resistance and defense leads to a general pathologization of phenomena that can also be traced back to other causes and could well be attributed to the “rational ego” of the client. 2. Freud’s theory basically places the source of resistance in the client. According to the critics, this neglects the relational nature of the therapeutic situation as well as the therapist’s contribution to the process of interaction. 3. Freud’s definition implicitly reflects the asymmetry of the psychoanalytic relationship, which gives the analyst the sole authority for interpreting the therapeutic situation. An interpretation cannot be refuted as resistance because if the client rejects the analyst’s interpretation, this in turn can again be interpreted as resistance. Thus, the patient himself is invariably the source of resistance (“All those powers in the patient …”). Freud’s successors have taken up most of these points of criticism and based their work on a concept that considers resistance to be a relational phenomenon.

17 “Resistance” to Change

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17.3

Resistance in Psychodrama

In the psychodrama literature, resistance is dealt with in a rather simple way. For example, according to Leutz (1983, p. 95), “there is practically no resistance during the course of the play”, because “resistance to therapy, honesty, learning, work or rest (…) is overcome through a particular mode of being in the play. Resistance usually stems from a part of one’s personality. The play, on the other hand, captures the whole individual (…) completely” (Leutz, 1974, p. 28, both translated by S.P.). Although there are quite a few plausible arguments on the resistance-damping effect of the scenic psychodrama work, it is nevertheless an idealization of the method to assume that it eliminates resistance a priori. This is true simply because different people react differently to the work with psychodrama and, under certain circumstances, develop resistance against the scenic play, which would otherwise not be manifested in another way of working. However, Moreno himself has conceded the existence of resistance in psychodrama. According to him, resistance arises when the free flow of the protagonist’s spontaneity is inhibited: “Resistance is a function of spontaneity, it is due to a decrease or loss of it” (Moreno, 1955, p. 54). However, it is not associated with any negative connotation: For Moreno, resistance is not an indicator of defense (as with Freud), but merely a descriptive construct: “The term resistance is used here in an operational sense. It means merely that the protagonist does not want to participate in the production” (Moreno, 1977, p. VIII). The humanistic conception of man in psychodrama leads to the fundamental respect for the attitudes and decisions of the protagonist—the protagonist’s “resistance” must therefore not be interpreted or even broken, but “the patient is permitted to be as unspontaneous or inexpressive as he is at this time” (Moreno, 1965, p. 76). The director makes a decisive contribution to damping resistance by carefully ensuring that the group members are attuned to a topic and the intensive joint work in the warming-up phase. Even then if there is resistance, the maxim is “to go with the resistance” instead of confronting it: “We don’t tear down the protagonist’s walls, rather, we simply try some of the handles on the many doors, and see which one opens” (Moreno, n.d., cited from Petzold, 1978, p. 2778). The actual processing of resistance is then done using the various psychodrama techniques (mirroring, maximization, etc., Chap. 5).

17.4

Resistance as a Multidimensional Phenomenon

The “classical” psychoanalytic concept of resistance is too narrow for a differentiated consideration of the complex interactional factors that contribute to the emergence of resistance; it forms a building block in a larger mosaic, which allows for an adequate explanation and processing of resistance only in its entirety in the broadest sense. We would now like to gather some parts for such a mosaic and subsequently present interpretative possibilities that complement the analytical understanding of resistance as a defense against gaining insight and change.

17.4

Resistance as a Multidimensional Phenomenon

261

Functional Resistance Functional resistance has a certain functional value for the client, e.g. defense against unpleasant emotions or preservation of familiar thinking and behavior patterns. Thus, the motivation to preserve the benefits of the present state can give rise to resistance (analogous to secondary gain in therapy) during the process of change in organizations or even in families. Essentially, the various explanations of functional resistance revolve around the assumption that any significant change constitutes a disturbance in the state of equilibrium that the human psyche continually strives for: “All of the forces which contribute to stability in personality or in social systems can be perceived as resisting change” (Watson, 1971, p. 745). Behavior that once had a purpose can lose its purpose and become a habit that is hard to give up. For example, we devise strategies to cope with difficult life situations (psychoanalytically speaking) as a compromise between impulse and defense against anxiety, which eventually lose their function with the loss of the original threat. Any resistance based on such a neurotic resolution of conflict can initially seem irrational in its rigidity; it becomes understandable only in the context of its biography and functional development. Resistances are often also changes that question the clients’ (the group, the organization, etc.) self-perception, their self-esteem or their “image” from the outside. Technical Resistance If, as outlined in the previous section, the client is seen as the sole cause of resistance, it prevents a critical examination of what part of one’s own work might have contributed to the emergence of resistance. Greenson’s (1967) suggestion that the client’s boredom is an indication of defense against the conscious experience of his impulses can be seen—psychoanalytically speaking—as a defense against the admission of the director’s own fallibility. Why should a therapy, a seminar or a school session not be rightly perceived as a boring experience? Contrary to Leutz’s and other psychodramatists’ optimistic assumptions cited in Sect. 17.3, scenic working in psychodrama offers no guarantee for resistance-free work, but it is a possible trigger for specific method-induced resistance. Not every client feels comfortable on the psychodrama stage from the start. Being in the role of the protagonist can lead to feelings of being watched, being exposed, of embarrassment and anxiety, and of irritation and uncertainties in the presence of unfamiliar working methods. Such resistance can be found especially in “psychodrama newbies”. Leveton (1992, pp. 21–22) describes, through an imaginary role reversal with a participant, the state of mind of a client who joins an existing psychodrama group for the first time: Do you have to be able to act? I’m not an actor, I can’t be phony, pretend to be someone else. Do you have to perform? In front of an audience? They’ll just make a fool of me, make me act out my problems and then ridicule me. Who is that new lady? A patient? Oh, she leads it. What’s she going to make us do? I heard they really got emotional here last week—Anne left crying that day. I don’t want that to happen to me. Not in front of the whole group. I’m just going to sit quietly and hope that the leader doesn’t look at me.

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Resistance as a Rational Behavior Contrary to what the connotation of resistance suggests, psychodrama assumes that the client does everything possible to get involved: “Resistance, when it arises, is the best immediate answer. The client would behave differently if there were any alternatives” (Schneider, 1981, p. 232, translation S.P.). With such an appreciation of resistance as the best choice among present and biographically learned patterns of behavior, the pathological connotations stemming from the classical–analytic understanding are taken away from the concept of resistance: “There is considerable energy, shrewdness, and smartness in protecting oneself, a kind of wisdom of survival, in what we call resistance. An insight into the dynamics of resistance results in the appreciation of the energy and ingenuity invested in it” (Schneider, 1981, p. 231, translation S.P.). Even the resistance in breaching boundaries (e.g. privacy) is rational and legitimate: The client does not (especially, but not exclusively in non-therapeutic fields) forego his right to privacy right at the beginning. Resistance as a Form of Communication König (1995) interestingly suggests that resistance—especially in the form of silence—”is not always a denial of communication. Silence is a different form of communication as compared to communicating through language, it is not communicating but communicating differently” (p. 75, translation S.P.). In this case, silence is chosen as a form of communication because words are not enough to express and communicate oneself and perhaps also because the client does not think the relationship with the director is stable enough to address intimate issues. The interpretation of resistance as a form of communication can be extended beyond silence to other forms of expression of resistance. Resistance as a By-Product of the Social Situation The norms and dynamics of the social situation can also entail behaviors that appear as resistance from the outside. Thus, the implicit norms of psychodrama can lead the protagonists, group members and directors with strong hysterical parts to a superficial, theatrical performance, which reaches the actual feelings of those involved only seemingly or for a short time. According to the psychological theory of reactivity, people, who feel restricted in their freedom to act, strive to restore this freedom of action. If the (therapeutic, social work, etc.) intervention is understood by clients as an exercise of power, as is the case in settings where people are involuntarily subjected to processes of change, then resistance appears as a “counterforce.” In 1938, Anderson and Stewart proposed for the first time that resistance is a necessary phase in the process of learning and change. Resistance therefore does not mean that something is going wrong; it is more likely that there is something going wrong when important changes happen without resistance. Therapy and counseling are sensitive processes that require the clients to place great trust in the therapist or counselor, respectively. Establishing this trust takes time, and lack of trust can be reflected in resistance at the beginning of the joint work.

17.4

Resistance as a Multidimensional Phenomenon

263

Furthermore, each group that works together for a longer period undergoes certain developmental phases (“forming–storming–norming–performing,” Tuckman, 1965), with specific expressions of resistance (Chap. 18). Resistance as a Construct The previous sections illustrate different interpretations of the resistance phenomena. The director has the interpretative power to attribute observable behaviors to resistance and interpret them in one of the possible above-mentioned ways. In this sense, “resistance” is a construct, an attribution that the director makes when the client’s behavior deviates from their expectations. At best, this construct can claim the value of a hypothesis. Under certain circumstances, defining a certain event in the therapeutic/counseling situation as resistance may also be a sign of the director’s resistance: They protect themselves against the insecurity associated with questioning their own course of action and use the power of their role to project the source of insecurity in the clients. Due to this reversal of circumstances, the responsibility for stopping the joint work no longer lies with the director, but with the client, and it is he who is in need of therapy or at least a reflection. Therefore, there is a risk that the director willingly or unwillingly creates a situation which confirms her interpretation of resistance, as in the case of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Example The critical approach to the concept of resistance requires the consideration of several factors: – No premature attribution of “resistance,” – One’s own interpretation is only an interpretation, not the truth! – Questioning one’s own causal explanation (what are the other alternative explanations?), – Self-critical reflection on the influence of one’s own intervention on the emergence of “resistance” (danger of a “blind spot”!), – Reflection of one’s own patterns of perception and evaluation, – The reaction to “resistance” should take place on different dimensions.

Such a critical and differentiated approach defines resistance as a multidimensional phenomenon at best.

17.5

Strategies in Dealing with Resistance

Preventing Resistance When one admits that the director’s intervention is crucial for the emergence of resistance, one can endeavor to design this intervention in such a way that technical resistance does not arise at all or is minimized at the very least. However, one

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should take into account the fact that resistance is unavoidable in the process of learning and change, and may even contribute to the progress of the process in some circumstances (Sect. 17.4). Schneider (1981) lists some basic rules, which are consistent with the ideals of the humanistic way of working, for avoiding technical resistance: – Principle of differential approach: Adapt your approach to the reality of your clients’ lives, for example, with regard to previous knowledge and prior experience with the method, use of language, cultural and social background of the clients. – Principle of the situational approach: What is appropriate for the client in a given moment may be perceived as overburdening, understimulating or inappropriate in another situation. – Principle of self-discovery and responsible search for meaning: The competence for goals, content and interpretations lies with the client. Some of the central factors responsible for the prevention of resistance in psychodramatic work are the adaptation of one’s own approach to the field of work, the setting (e.g. with regard to the norms for dealing with the boundaries between the public and private life of an individual; see Chap. 8) and the specific circumstances of the group (previous knowledge, occupational and age-related composition, status of the group process, etc.). At this point, it is very helpful to use the model of topic-centered interaction as orientation (see Sect. 8.2). In addition, one must ensure a thorough warming-up of the participants and transparency in the process in accordance with the rule “from the periphery to the center.” Ignoring Resistance This “strategy” is probably the most inept and least promising way to deal with resistance. The director who ignores the clients’ resistances and clings to his chosen course of action runs the risk of wearing himself down without any progress; instead, it threatens to strengthen the resistance, which makes progress more and more unlikely. Breaking Through Resistance In our opinion, it is questionable whether one can successfully break through any resistance at all. In fact, it is more likely that the allegedly broken resistance will reappear elsewhere in a “disguise.” If one takes into account the protective function of resistance, then a violent breakthrough can also cause damage to the client; moreover, it is a hidden abuse of power on the part of the therapist. Interpreting Resistance The purpose of analyzing resistance is “to get the patient to understand that he is resisting, why he is resisting, what he is resisting and how he is resisting” (Greenson, 1967, p. 104). Resistance can be analyzed in different ways. Freud and his students developed a four-step process that does not necessarily go through this strict separation and sequence in practice (Overview).

17.5

Strategies in Dealing with Resistance

265

Overview The four steps to analyzing resistance 1. Confrontation The client is made aware of the resistance. In psychodrama, this can be done, for example, by pointing out a recurring pattern of behavior or using the mirror technique. 2. Clarification The special pattern of resistance is isolated. In doing so, one can use the different verbalization techniques, such as soliloquy, monologue, talking sideways and in particular doubling. 3. Interpretation The client is made aware of the unconscious purpose, the unconscious source, past history, type or cause of resistance. This can be done by meta-communicating with the client, where significant scenes from his past are brought on to the stage to resolve the current conflict (vertical direction, Sect. 10.5.3), or by “integrating” maternal or paternal introjections in the form of auxiliaries in the current conflict scene (e.g. confrontation with the boss) to clarify the “aftermath” of parental messages in the present, etc. The client is made aware of the unconscious purpose, the unconscious source, past history, type or cause of resistance. This can be done by meta-communicating with the client, where significant scenes from his past are brought on to the stage to resolve the current conflict (vertical direction, Sect. 10.5.3), or by “integrating” maternal or paternal introjections in the form of auxiliaries in the current conflict scene (e.g. confrontation with the boss) to clarify the “aftermath” of parental messages in the present, etc. 4. Working through Repeated, progressive and detailed exploration of resistance through constant confrontation, clarification and interpretation of the resistance behavior.

When adapted to an appropriate form, analyzing resistance can be a legitimate strategy in organizational consultation, social work and especially supervision, and can contribute to the progress of collaborative work. Again, the director should always be prepared to critically review and, if necessary, revise her interpretation of resistance. In demonstrating resistance, she should counter possible feelings of helplessness or shame by making it clear to the client that resistance is not a blunder, a mistake or a sign of weakness (see Greenson, 1967).

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Go with the Resistance Technical resistance can be eliminated by adjusting the objectives or the methods. This strategy, often referred to as “going along with resistance,” is a common characteristic of psychodramatic work: If the client opposes a question, scene or a particular direction in the course of the play, one chooses—usually in consultation with the client—a different and less resistant question, scene or direction for the intervention. This process can hardly be characterized in a way better than the quote by Moreno: The leader does not tear down the walls of the protagonist but tries to open different doors. We recommend the following three steps as a general rule for the careful handling of resistance: 1. Remove pressure (give room for resistance). 2. Extend your antennas (enter into a dialogue, explore causes). 3. Joint agreements (redefining the process). Strengthening Resistance This strategy is diametrically opposite to that of breaking through resistance. The idea of wanting to strengthen resistances may seem paradoxical at first, but it is plausible if one understands the client’s resistance as a resource for the preservation of one’s own integrity and need for protection. The strengthening of resistance aims at strengthening the ego functions; it does not mean that one should ignore or cover up the fears and conflicts underlying the resistance, but to work on the fact that the client, precisely through the conscious awareness of his own boundaries, can arrive at a more constructive way of dealing with these fears and conflicts.

17.6

Psychodramatic Processing of Resistance

Psychodrama defines resistance as an expression of blocked spontaneity. Accordingly, the goal of processing resistance is to resolve these blocks in spontaneity with the help of role reversal, doubling, mirroring and other interventions. A model procedure for processing resistance using psychodrama techniques is shown in Fig. 17.1. Processing Resistance Using the Double Technique The director can verbalize the client’s defensive part using the double technique and in doing so help the client in explaining his own resistance. It is possible to do so in one of the following ways: – Doubling the client’s own thoughts and feelings (e.g. “I feel very rigid and immobile …”), – The empathetic double (e.g. “It is as if something is resisting in me …”), – The multiple doubles (e.g. “On the one hand, I would like to work on the topic of XY, but on the other hand, I am also afraid …”).

17.6

Psychodramatic Processing of Resistance

267

Fig. 17.1 Strategies for processing resistance

Interpreting resistance, even in the form of doubling, is always hypothetical in nature! Therefore, such confrontational doubles should be used only after a thorough clarification of possible technical resistances. As described above, the double technique can be used to confront resistance, as well as to interpret it. The following types are particularly suitable for this purpose:

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– The exploratory double—the director starts a sentence such as “I resist this idea because …”, and the protagonist has to complete it. – The interpretive double (e.g. “I am resisting the role reversal with my mother because I do not want to deal with her sadness”). An illustrative example of psychodramatic processing of resistance using the double technique can be found in Pitzele (1991). Processing Resistance Using Role Reversal A client’s bodily sensations, fears and blockages can be externalized, concretized through auxiliary egos or objects, and explored in role reversal. Role reversal can help clients recognize their resistance and understand it better (Tauvon, 1998). This goal corresponds to the clarification phase in the psychoanalytic conception of resistance. Externalization by means of auxiliary egos or objects shifts the resistance symbolically from the inside to the outside and therefore makes it easier for the client to differentiate himself from the resistance. One can also externalize and explore those parts of personality (desire for change and resources) in a role reversal that counter the resistance. Subsequently, these positive parts can enter into a “debate” with the resisting parts on stage. Thus, the client experiences that the resistance is only a part of his inner role ensemble. Processing Resistance Using the Mirror Technique If ego-syntonic resistances show themselves (e.g. in the protagonist’s posture), the director can ask the protagonist to come to the edge of the stage in order to look at the scene from outside and comment on it from there. The protagonist’s position is occupied by a stand-in, who imitates their behavior and possibly overacts for clarification. The protagonist can recognize his or her own resistance from the distant mirror position; further possibilities of overcoming this resistance can be developed in the next step. Other Possibilities of Processing Resistance Using Psychodrama Surplus reality opens up a multitude of possibilities for the concretization and resolution of resistances. Thus, one can find a metaphor for the protagonist’s inner situation and present it on stage. Some of the common metaphors for resistance and defensive attitudes are, for example, walls or fortresses within which the protagonist is trapped. One can ask the following questions when exploring the metaphor of a fortress: – What is the function of the individual parts of the fortress (walls, trenches, drawbridges)? – How does the protagonist feel in the fortress? – What can the protagonist do to make her defense more flexible? It is important to avoid pseudo-solutions such as blasting the fortress. One can ask the protagonist to express their fears by sharing what is the worst they imagine might happen in the play. Often, it is the case that the feared output is not so bad.

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Psychodramatic Processing of Resistance

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Finally, as Tauvon (1998) notes, one can work with the resistance and simply dismantle the scene where the protagonist resists. Further clarification of such scenes often takes place in sharing. Further references to psychodramatic work with resistance can be found in Leveton (1991) and Pitzele (1991). Possibilities of processing resistance using psychodrama Technique Goal Mirroring/soliloquy Monologue Doubling Interpretive doubling Maximization Future projection Depicting the underlying fear Interview Role reversal with the director

17.7

Transforming ego-syntonic resistance into ego-alien resistance (confrontation or interpretation) Obtain information about the protagonist’s thoughts and feelings (clarification) Doubling one’s own observations: exploring resistance (clarification) Offering interpretations (interpretation) Becoming aware of the resistance by exaggerating causal factors What happens when one “overcomes” the resistance? Reduction of fear Addressing and strengthening the ego functions Confronting resistances using the ego functions

Resistance in Groups and Non-therapeutic Fields of Work

Resistance in social systems (families, groups, organizations) can manifest itself on three levels: Level 1: Individual Behavior When a group resists any intervention, it is best to observe each individual’s behavior to make sense of the resistance: In a class, one can see individual students conversing with their table mates, eating chips, throwing paper planes, etc. The same can happen in a team meeting, a therapy group or a training seminar. The numerous possibilities of interpreting these behaviors are listed in Sect. 17.4. All of the resistance phenomena described there, right from reactance to technical resistance to the resistance to maintain the inner and outer balance, can also be found in non-therapeutic fields of work. The interpretation of resistance as an expression of the individual’s defense is not, as it first seems, limited to the field of therapy. Level 2: Group-Specific Behavior and Group Dynamics In the context of group dynamics (Chap. 18), resistance can manifest itself in collective patterns of behavior such as general fatigue or silliness in the entire group. This is indicative of the state of the entire intervention system (group and leadership), but does not

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necessarily offer conclusions about the defensive attitudes of individual members. Furthermore, particular anomalies in the sociometric group structure can be considered as resistance, for example, when participants collectively avoid a specific topic (e.g. depression) by “delegating” the topic to a depressed group member and excluding that group member. The schema underlying such processes illustrates something like this: “Hannah is depressed, not me. If I don’t talk to Hannah, I won’t need to notice the depressive part in me.” Level 3: System-Wide Resistances For the counselor who is confronted with resistance, for example, in a leadership seminar, it may be helpful to check—in order to begin to understand this resistance—the extent to which the defensive strategies of the client are similar to that of the whole organization. In some cases, it may be possible to identify consistent patterns and rules of resistance within the organization. Thus, “institutional myths” (e.g. “we at XY-Com are all a big family”) have a defensive function that serve to conceal taboo topics and conflicts such as competition and resentment. Resistance in organizations often has “historical reasons,” some of which go back many decades. Therefore, in order to understand the resistance, for example, in the consultation process, a review of the organization’s history is helpful. The historical imprint of social systems is not only noticeable in organizations, but also in families, where certain issues of conflict and the associated mechanisms of defense and resistance remain constant over many generations. Systemic therapy devotes special attention to these multigenerational perspectives. Resistance in Non-therapeutic Fields: Example—Organizational Development Organizational development (OD)—as the name implies—aspires to initiate change and development in organizations, whereby clients are not only the stakeholders, but also the supporters of this process. Resistance is usually expressed in the fact that the stakeholders boycott the desired changes. Resistances in the OD process are also noticeable because they are distinguished from the otherwise largely rational interventions by their (apparent) irrationality. Resistances reveal conflicts of interest between the individual and the organization when, from the organization’s point of view, interventions (such as the merging of two locations or the introduction of new software) are rejected by the members of the organization (e.g. because of extended travel time or skill deficits). Rejection and displacement of responsibility (“You better tell this to my boss,” “This should be discussed with the marketing department, we have nothing to do with it,” etc.) and the resistance against innovations in the form of the so-called killer phrases (e.g. “That’s not possible,” “We’ve always done it this way,” “We’ve already tried everything,” etc.) are typical of OD processes. In particular, those innovations that are not from their own company are often blocked (“not-inventedhere syndrome”).

17.7

Resistance in Groups and Non-therapeutic Fields of Work

271

Resistance in OD processes can often be understood as, in psychoanalytic terms, a defense against unpleasant impulses and feelings of those involved. In many other cases, however, priority is given to – The preservation of one’s own interests, – Reactance to measures imposed externally (e.g. by the management) as well as – Protecting one’s own work processes developed over many years of employment. Some of the triggers for resistance are: – – – –

Different perceptions and ways of processing information of those involved, Diverging judgments of causes and goals, Conflicting ideas about the consequences and strategies of action or Controversial assessments of the temporal, economic, labor law or personal conditions of the process of change.

When planning a process of change, force field analysis can help anticipate the potential for resistance. Here too, a distinction must be made between technical and other resistances, in order to determine whether the resistance is justified or whether it is directed against the process. One must be very careful when dealing with resistance in organizational development. A common interpretation is possible, for example, only if there is an established and trusting relationship between the consultant and the client. In many cases, it is more acceptable when you communicate your own perception of resistance in the form of a feedback.

17.8

Summary

Resistance is a common phenomenon in the process of change. The reasons and possibilities of interpretation are manifold: ranging from defense mechanisms in the classical psychoanalytic sense to reactance to the preservation of power, vested interests and one’s own image in social contexts. One main source of resistance can be the use of an inappropriate method by the director as well as the divergent or unclear objectives of collaborative work. Any work with resistance must critically begin at this point. The hypothesis that it is the client’s functional resistance should not be pursued until technical resistance has been excluded. Psychodramatic techniques such as role reversal, doubling and mirroring can also be used to process resistance. The basic approach is to work with the resistance, i.e. to respect the client’s autonomy and tailor one’s approach to the client’s wishes.

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References Anderson, C. M., & Stewart, S. (1938). Mastering resistance. New York: Guilford. Blatner, A. (1996). Acting-in: Practical applications of psychodramatic methods (3rd ed.). New York: Springer. Freud, S. (1900). Die Traumdeutung. In Gesammelte Werke (Bd. II/III, pp. 1–642). Frankfurt am Main: Fischer. Greenson, R. R. (1967). The technique and practice of psychoanalysis (Vol. I). New York: International Universities Press. König, K. (1995). Widerstandsanalyse. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Leutz, G. A. (1974). Das klassische psychodrama nach J. L. Moreno. Berlin: Springer. Leutz, G. A. (1983). Widerstand und Übertragungim Psychodrama. Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik, medizinische Psychologie, 33(suppl. 2), 93–96. Leveton, E. (1992). A clinician’s guide to psychodrama. New York: Springer. Leveton, E. (1991). The use of doubling to counter resistance in family and individual treatment. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 18, 241–249. Moreno, J. L. (1955). Preludes to my autobiography: Introduction to Who shall survive?. New York: Beacon. Moreno, J. L. (1977). Psychodrama (Vol. 1, 5th ed.). New York: Beacon. Moreno, Z. T. (1965). Psychodramatic rules, techniques and adjunctive methods. Group Psychotherapy, 18, 73–86. Petzold, H. (1978). Das Psychodrama als Methode der klinischen Psychotherapie. In J. L. Pongratz (Hrsg.), Handbuch der Psychologie (Vol. 8/2, 2751–2795). Göttingen: Hogrefe. Pitzele, P. (1991). Adolescents inside out—Intrapsychic psychodrama. In P. Holmes & M. Karp (Eds.), Psychodrama: Inspiration and technique (pp. 15–31). London: Routledge. Schneider, K. (1981). Widerstand in der Gestalttherapie. In H. Petzold (Ed.), Widerstand—ein strittiges Konzept in der Psychotherapie (pp. 227–253). Paderborn: Junfermann. Tauvon, K. B. (1998). Principles of psychodrama. In M. Karp, P. Holmes, & K. B. Tauvon (Eds.), The handbook of psychodrama (pp. 29–45). London: Routledge. Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequences in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 384–399. Watson, G. (1971). Resistance to change. American Behavioral Scientist, 14(5), 745–766.

Further Reading Leahy, R. L. (2003). Overcoming resistance in cognitive therapy (309 pages). New York: Guilford (Although not psychodramatically oriented, the book contributes to a more sophisticated understanding of the resistance phenomena).

Chapter 18

Group Dynamics

Consider a round, sloped, multi-goal soccer field on which individuals play soccer. Many different people (but not everyone) can join the game (or leave it) at different times. Some people can throw balls into the game or remove them. Individuals while they are in the game try to kick whatever ball comes near them in the direction of goals they like and away from goals they wish to avoid. (March & Olsen, 1986, p. 17)

Psychodrama is primarily a group method; Moreno is one of the co-founders of group research (think only of sociometry or his research on leadership styles), the forefather of group psychotherapy and perhaps even—as some researchers think— the “inventor” of the term group dynamics. Given this background, it is surprising that the psychodrama literature largely ignores group processes and group dynamics, with the exception of the sociometric literature, although it emphasizes the structural rather than the dynamic aspect of groups. But there are many good reasons for a psychodrama director to develop in-depth knowledge and understanding of the psychological processes in groups: – From a diagnostic point of view, it is of utmost importance to recognize and understand group dynamic phenomena while conducting a group, in order to be able to respond appropriately. – When planning one’s own intervention, one must be mindful of group dynamics from the very beginning (e.g. phases of group development) in order to avoid stepping on “group dynamic minefields.” – In many cases, it is a part of the contract as well as the tasks of the director to pass on his knowledge of group dynamic processes to the participants, for example, in team development, in seminars for teamwork or in coaching. In these situations, one is required to have not only intuition and experience in dealing with groups, but also the skills for structured knowledge transfer. This chapter aims to provide a knowledge base on psychological processes in groups that is equally helpful for all three areas of application. We will explain the illustrations with a case study based on our practical experiences with different groups in different fields of work. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_18

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What Is Group Dynamics?

A group differs from a mere collection of people in that individuals interact and influence one another through their behavior. This interaction and reciprocal influence create a whole system with characteristics that cannot be fully explained by isolating the characteristics of each part of the system. Gestalt psychology has succinctly summarized this fact in the well-known dictum “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” But as the system properties surpass the properties of their elements not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively, it would be more precise to say: “The whole is something other than the sum of its parts.” These phenomena arise when systems exceed a “critical mass” of complexity, and are thus known as emergence phenomena (Latin emergere = emerge, arise) in the system theory. These emergent properties are responsible for the development of group dynamics. “Group dynamics” usually refers to the formation of norms, values, coalitions and their effects on the actions of the group as well as the individuals. Thus, it is something that one cannot easily see, as one sees objects. Psychology often uses Freud’s comparison with an iceberg to illustrate such situations: That what is visible is only a small part of what is actually relevant; the largest and most important part is hidden beneath the surface (Fig. 18.1). Occasionally, this presents the group leader/psychodrama director with some challenges. The leader relies on their observation and interpretation of the hidden dynamics in the group, in order to interpret the events in the group, to moderate the conflicts and to be able to counteract unwanted developments. Every observation, event and situation in the group can be explained through different theoretical perspectives: – What is the current structure of the group and what is the impact of this structure? – What roles have the group members taken on and how do these roles interact dynamically? – In which phase of development is the group at present and how does this influence the events in the group? – How cohesive is the group at present? – What are the current interpersonal topics? – What significant events have shaped the development of the group up to the present date?

Group Dynamics as an Expression of Unconscious Processes If one follows the idea that group dynamics is an “invisible” phenomenon at first, then the (directly observable) behavior of individuals and groups is understandable only if the observer understands the processes that take place “at an unconscious level” and thus cannot be directly observed. It is therefore all the more important to devise a grid for the observation or development of “unconscious” events. We have described this below with reference to Schattenhofer (1995) (Overview).

18.1

What Is Group Dynamics?

275

Fig. 18.1 Iceberg model of group dynamics

Overview Levels of the Analysis of Group Dynamic Processes, by Schattenhofer (1995) Level 1: Task-Based Activities, Factual Level (Visible) – – – –

How does the group determine their objective as well as their task? How does the group plan their joint action? How is the implementation coming along? Which emotions/conflicts, etc., are being named?

Level 2: Level of Social Interaction, Sociodynamic/Group Dynamic Level (Partially Visible, e.g. Discoverable Through Sociometric Methods) – Which norms and rules are influencing the action? – Which authority and popularity structures are being formed? – What are the subgroups and coalitions that exist? Level 3: “Psychic Level” It is assumed that participation in group activates the individual’s unconscious desires and fears, intrapsychic conflicts and individual patterns of relationship as learned, for example, during primary socialization. These

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unresolved desires, emotions and conflicts are transferred on to the group, the leaders and other members. This model helps, for example, in describing the exclusion processes and the scapegoating phenomena in groups. Level 4: “The Collective Unconscious” It is assumed that there is usually a latent problem or a central conflict that develops in groups that the group fails to notice, but it does determine the group members’ behavior. The different expressions and actions of individual group members are connected with each other on a latent level, which results from the common reference to the “group focal conflict” (Stock Whitaker, 1982; Sect. 18.4.3). A few participants then bear the conflict—not primarily for themselves, but as representatives of the whole group.

Every observable behavior in the group (e.g. a conflict between two participants) can be interpreted as one of these four levels: – – – –

Conflict Conflict Conflict Conflict

as as as as

an an an an

expression expression expression expression

of of of of

incompatible interests (level 1), rivalries in the group (level 2), the participants’ internal conflicts (level 3) or collective fears (level 4).

Important The term “group dynamics” refers to those processes that place the observational behavior in a group in a meaningful context. These processes emerge in the course of the interactions between group members, but cannot be explained on the basis of the characteristics of these individuals alone. Group dynamics is a construct of an observer (e.g. the group leader). At best, they can understand the hidden dynamic of the group with the help of some hypotheses, but can never grasp its objective reality.

18.2

Phases of Group Development

Anyone who has ever been a member or a leader of a long-term working group knows from experience that working in a group “feels” different at different times. The literature on group dynamics assumes that group processes develop along typical phases. The most well-known group development model is given by Tuckman (1965, Table 18.1), probably not least because of the succinct title of the individual phases:

18.2

Phases of Group Development

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Table 18.1 Tuckman’s model of group development (Forsyth, 1999) Phase

Important processes

Characteristics

1. Orientation (forming)

– Members acquaint themselves with one another and the group – Negotiation of dependency and inclusion (who does and does not belong to the group) – Acceptance of the group leader and group consensus

2. Conflict (storming)

– Disagreement over procedures – Expression of dissatisfaction, tension among the members – Resistance toward the leader

3. Structure (Norming)

– Increase in cohesion and unity – Formation of roles, standards and relationships – Growing trust – More communication

4. Constructive work (performing) 5. Dissolution (adjourning)

– Goal attainment – High task orientation – Emphasis on performance and productivity – Dissolution of role structures – Termination of upcoming tasks – Dependence/decrease in the sense of belonging

– Careful, restrained communication – Addressing ambiguity and group goals – Active leader, “obedient” members – Criticism of ideas by individual members – Low participation – Hostility – Polarization and coalition formation – Agreement on procedures – Decrease in role ambiguity – Strengthened “we-feeling” – Decision making – Problem-solving – Mutual cooperation – Decay and retreat – Strengthened independence – Mourning

– – – – –

Forming = orientation phase, Storming = conflict phase, Norming = structural phase, Performing = phase of constructive cooperation, Adjourning = dissolution phase.

Tuckman’s model—as with all models—presents a simplistic illustration of the real conditions. The processes that can be observed in real groups are more complex: Some groups avoid individual stages or shorten them to a large extent, while others persist in a certain phase (e.g. the conflict phase), etc. The distinction between the phases is exemplary and certainly not so clearly observable in reality. The awareness of the mechanisms of group development can help the leader create appropriate conditions for constructive work at the respective stage of development. Below, we give a brief outline of the development phases as well as the tasks and challenges faced by the leader in the individual phases.

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The Orientation Phase (“Forming”)

Example First session of the reflective group for students from the social sector at the University of Applied Sciences, Rheinau. The 12 participants meet biweekly to discuss their practical experiences. This group is led by Bernd Koppenbach, social educator and psychodramatist. All these students belong to different semesters, distinct study programs (social pedagogy, social work, social management) and varied sites of the University of Applied Sciences and therefore do not know each other as yet. 8:50 am—it should start in 10 min Almost all participants have already arrived, and they are talking in small groups. Ira runs around from one person to another to make initial contacts. Martin, on the other hand, stands aloof and digs in his briefcase—he has decided to wait for the official start. Bella, who has been there for 20 min, is talking to Eve and sharing about her life situation: “I have just finished my medical studies and have already got a prospective offer for a doctoral position in studying dementia. I only study social management because I am interested in running a nursing home. I live in Kornbach with my husband and two children.” Eve becomes queasy—she is currently unemployed, 5 years older than Bella, but still in the middle of her studies, single and childless. She cannot keep up with Bella’s brilliant self-portrayal and breaks off the conversation quickly. Tina and John discover that they both are enrolled in the same university for a second degree in psychology and talk shop about the study regulations. Jack puts a home-baked cake on the table and announces that everyone can eat it. Anita disappears into the kitchen to make some tea and coffee. 9:10 am—the session begins The director introduces himself briefly and invites the participants to line up according to the first letter of their first name. At that moment, the door opens and Harry comes in with a mumbled apology. All eyes are on Harry, and John cannot resist a sharp remark.

The first group meeting takes place in a situation that is largely unstructured and characterized by insecurities and internal conflicts. Members do not know each other and what to expect from each other. On the one hand, the group members feel the need to make contact and get to know one another; on the other hand, they seek the closeness of familiar people (friends and acquaintances), which promotes clique formation and inhibits contact with unknown persons. They seek to obtain information about others’ nature and personality which is hugely influenced by attribution processes (e.g. Försterling, 2001). Likewise, they are interested in (selectively) disclosing information about themselves. One wants to be as positive, but also as authentic as possible, and therefore tries to avoid any kind of lapse (use of the so-called impression management strategies, e.g. Leary, 1996). Everyone waits for the other to take the first step and carefully scans the other’s behavior for clues on how they themselves might behave. But as the mutual interaction progresses, and the participants continue to engage in some form of a relational arrangement, an idiosyncratic group process unfolds.

18.3

the Orientation Phase (“Forming”)

279

In doing so, the initial set of habits, norms and rules of behavior emerge in the group. However, before the group can agree on binding norms, these must be negotiated and “fought over.” This discussion takes place in the second phase of group development, the phase of the conflicts (Sect. 18.4).

18.3.1 Building Group Cohesion Once the group achieves some degree of cohesion, it has taken an important step toward building its working capacity. It is the leader’s task to promote the formation of group cohesion in the orientation phase. Moreno introduced the concept of group cohesion to psychology in 1938, where it became popular through Lewin’s work. Although, Lewin is considered to be the creator of the concept of group cohesion, Petzold has pointed out that Moreno had already used the term four years before Lewin did (see Petzold, 1980). Lewin uses the term to describe the forces that keep groups intact by welding their members together and counteracting forces that divide them. Cohesion in a group is not just the product of individual variables, such as attraction. It also develops over the course of a group dynamic process through the collaborative work. In order to develop a high degree of cohesion in a long-term collaborative group, the group must, according to this view, “work through” certain issues, for example, negotiating shared norms, managing and resolving conflicts between group members, etc. Members that belong to cohesive groups have higher levels of job satisfaction, less anxiety and tension, as well as more effective ways of coping with stress (see Forsyth, 1999). On the other hand, however, high group cohesion can also have negative effects: There may be a high degree of adjustment and conformity pressure in highly cohesive groups. Members who deviate from the group opinion are punished with psychological exclusion, disruption of communication, open and jocular hostility. These tendencies can lead to – – – –

The neglect of the members’ autonomy and ownership, The inhibition of one’s identity formation, Unilateral or risky decisions due to the limited diversity of opinion or A decrease in the group’s performance/productivity/efficiency.

Important The promotion of group cohesion is the leader’s responsibility, especially because it is crucial to the development of a group. However, it should be taken into account that a high degree of cohesion can also lead to underperformance, which may then require reflection and correction of group processes.

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18.3.2 The Leader’s Tasks in the Orientation Phase The thematic centered interaction (TCI) model is a useful tool for working in groups. It describes four dimensions that play a role in group interaction and that need to be balanced for a satisfying and successful collaboration: – – – –

The topic, The individual group member, their goals, wishes and sensitivities (“I”), The interaction process and the dynamics in the group (“We”) and Situational, historical, material, social and other contextual conditions (“Globe,” for details on the TCI model and its implications for the leader in the orientation phase, see Sect. 8.2).

The leader must agree with the group on the goals and the content of collaborative work within the context of the topic. In the orientation phase, the leader’s task, above all, is to promote group cohesion at the “We” level. Cohesion building can be an explicit demand from the group (e.g. in team development), but also a group dynamic need resulting from the group’s goals. This is the case, for example, in therapeutic groups, where a certain degree of cohesion is a prerequisite in order to be able to enter into self-reflective processes and work together in a constructive manner. On the one hand, the leader must orient the group and encourage connections between the participants, but on the other hand leave room for the development and self-organization of the group. At the level of the individual participant (“I”), this means making it easier for the individual to connect to the content and the group. Sometimes, there are uncertainties, reservations or questions that need to be resolved before you can engage in the collaborative work together. The mental role reversal with the participants is helpful in this case.

18.4

The Conflict Phase (“Storming”)

Example Reflective Group at the University of Applied Sciences, Rheinau, 7th session. Some initial conflicts between the participants, e.g. on the subject of punctuality, have come to light in the past sessions. Today, Martin begins by sharing in the opening round: “I was contemplating whether I should come at all today. Nothing comes out of these meetings. Everyone talks about openness and self-awareness, but nobody really talks about themselves and the issues at hand. You all are wearing masks. I think that is so hypocritical and pathetic. It sucks!” There is silence in the group. Anita has tears in her eyes. Ira is visibly restless, but she remains silent. The director asks the participants to respond to Martin’s sharing. Hesitantly, John says, “I think what you said is pretty harsh. You can certainly speak your mind, but I feel a bit attacked already. I think all of us here are very different people. And we deal with our issues in different ways - one is highly dramatic, the other perhaps less dramatic, but just as intense.” Other participants join in—the group engages in a long discussion on “how

18.4

the Conflict Phase (“Storming”)

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one may and must talk about oneself here.” Everyone, including the director, is quite annoyed after an hour. During the break, John turns to the director and complains that Martin has taken up a lot of space with his subject. Martin himself has gone on a break with Harry and Eve. Ira, Anita and Tina stand in a corner and whisper about Martin and his outrageous objection. Once the group has moved past the orientation phase, the restraint and friendliness in interacting with each other give way to increasing conflicts between the members. On the one hand, it concerns the implementation of personal interests (which topics will be given space, which aspects should be given more weight, what should be done differently in the future?), but on the other hand there is also a competition for recognition, status, power and leadership. The predominant emotions in this phase are anger, aggression, fear, hostility, envy, jealousy, power and powerlessness. Each group develops its own strategy to deal with its conflicts and the underlying aggression. For example, there are groups that portray an image of perfect harmony on the outside, while a high degree of aggression seethes below the surface and blocks the group’s progress.

18.4.1 Conflict Constructive management of conflict provides an opportunity for understanding and development. However, conflicts can also impair or even destroy the group’s working ability. It is therefore necessary that the leader pays special attention to them. Dealing with latent, subliminal conflicts is usually more difficult as compared to emotional conflicts. A low level of conflict is therefore not necessarily a sign of particularly positive relationships between the participants. It can be indicative of, for example, group norms that make aggression a taboo, group members’ lack of interest in the subject or each other, etc.

18.4.2 Power and Influence Conflicts in groups are almost always about the accumulation and maintenance of power. This power is exercised not by using physical violence, but through the (conscious or unconscious) use of communicative tactics that exert pressure on the interlocutor. Some examples of this include criticizing the other person, evading (e.g. by changing the topic), interrupting contact, insisting, manipulating, so on and so forth (see Forsyth, 1999, p. 219). According to Forsyth (1999), the choice of tactics depends on the group situation, the status or hierarchy of the participants, personal preferences, personality and gender. Psychology has examined the topic of “influence” mainly with regard to the possibility of a majority or minority influencing the entire group in its decision making. Minorities are often under pressure to conform to the majority opinion (see Asch, 1952). However, under certain circumstances, a minority may influence the majority such that they change their opinion. Latane (1997) highlights four tendencies relevant to the formation of opinion in groups:

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– Consolidation: Long-term interactive groups have the tendency to increase the majority while the minority dwindles. – Clustering: Humans are more strongly influenced by their immediate environment due to the immediacy effect. Thus, there is an overall tendency to form clusters of similar opinions; i.e. one cannot expect any convergence between all group members in the long run, but a polarization of subgroups with contrary opinions. – Correlation: Opinions on various topics tend to converge over time; i.e. the group members agree not only on the core issue, but also on topics that are not actively discussed. – Continuing diversity: The clustering effect shields minorities from the influence of the majority; as a result, the diversity of opinion in the group continues to exist—but only so long as the majority is not too large, the minority members are not too isolated from each other, and the minority resists the majority’s attempts to influence them.

18.4.3 Schindler’s Rank Dynamic Position Model Raoul Schindler, like Moreno, hails from Austria. He has designed a model to explain the conflict dynamics in therapy groups (for a concise summary, see Fryszer & Schwing, 2014, pp. 90–93). Schindler’s observations were groundbreaking in the 1957 publication and are still an important analytical tool today. His rank dynamic position model is characterized by four roles that emerge in each group (Fig. 18.2):

Fig. 18.2 Rank dynamic position model by Schindler (Schindler, 1971, p. 24)

Alpha

Opponent

Gamma

Omega Beta

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the Conflict Phase (“Storming”)

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– The alpha role, played the one who represents the group (the “leader”), – The beta role, which has a positive relation to the alpha role, but otherwise is of marginal importance (the “expert”), – The gamma role, assumed by the members of the group who identify with the alpha role and supports its initiative (“the simple member”), – The omega role (“scapegoat/black sheep”), which represents the group’s weakness and powerlessness and embodies the potential countermovement to alpha. Schindler’s basic assumption is that each group is constituted by distinguishing itself from an opponent—a phenomenon that is known as an “ingroup/outgroup distinction” in social psychology. The alpha position stands for this distinction. The group identifies with it and experiences itself as powerful. The omega position, on the other hand, identifies with the opponent. As a result, the gamma members turn against omega, a quasi-”proxy war” for the fight between the identification figure in the alpha position and the opponent (unreachable for gamma). In this manner, “… the group (gamma element) executes the behaviour against the omega in the same way that it expects the alpha to fight against the opponent” (Schindler, 1971, p. 25, translation S.P.). This phenomenon is particularly relevant to therapeutic groups, as it is precisely the participants with a weak ego who quickly get into the omega position. Example In our case study, John is in the alpha position as the “opinion leader” of the group. Martin acts out of the omega position with his attack on the group.

In difficult group situations, the leader can derive important information about the core group conflict by observing the dynamics between the alpha and the omega, because “in the alpha position, the patient represses what is openly acted out in the omega position, and vice versa” (Krüger, 1997, p. 242, translation S.P.). The member in the omega position acts out the group’s suppressed feelings and protests against the alpha from a position of weakness. It is often the participant in the alpha position who is the protagonist for a group session, Krüger (1997) continues, as they solidify the group’s defense through their action, i.e. actions against the counter impulse represented by omega. Further notes on working through group conflicts using Schindler’s model can be found in Sect. 18.4.5.

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18.4.4 Stock Whitaker’s Focal Group Conflict Model The focal group conflict model views the group situation as an expression of a collective strategy for resolving conflicts between shared desires and fears. It is based on the nuclear conflict model designed by French (1958): In certain situations, everyone experiences impulses that require an environmental response to be satisfied (e.g. the child’s desire for physical closeness with the mother). Since these impulses create an imbalance in an organism, French terms it as a “disturbing motive.” The realization of a disturbing motive can counteract a reality factor, such as a mother’s feelings of insecurity or depression, which prevents her from satisfying the child’s desire for contact. When the frustration created by the disturbing motive repeats itself, it gives rise to a blockage that is internalized as a “reactive fear”; for example, the child may develop feelings of anxiety or guilt in response to the mother’s lack of affection. Disturbing motive and reactive fear together form the nuclear conflict. In order to solve this (originally external, later internalized) conflict, the individual develops “solutions,” such as the child becomes a clown, because he has learned that he can penetrate his mother’s depression in this way. Stock Whitaker translates French’s assumption to the group level. It is based on the observation that all verbal utterances and behaviors of the various group members, which are seemingly unconnected at the first glance, are related by subliminal issues. The basic assumption of her model is that these evolving and varying themes can be expressed in the form of a shared wish (analogous to French’s disturbing motive) that conflicts with a shared fear (French’s reactive motive); that the shared desires and fears constitute a focal group conflict; and that the events, that can be observed in the group, are efforts to cope with the focal group conflict by developing shared solutions. The shared solution performs the same function for the group as it does for the individual: it reduces or blocks reactive fears, occasionally allowing it to express the shared desire. (Stock Whitaker, 1982, p. 325 f.)

Because of this conflict, participants in a (therapy) group experience the group as a potentially threatening place. They fear that they are expected to express emotions that they normally hide. Thus, they try to shape the group situation such that it is safe enough to stay in it, thereby revealing oneself to a reasonable degree. The focal group conflict related to this field of tension could be described as follows (see Stock Whitaker, 1982): Disturbing motive Desire to obtain help by disclosing one’s own feelings and problems, Reactive fear Fear of criticism (ridicule, rejection, abandonment); fear of being overwhelmed or sick by one’s own feelings, Solution To talk about problems only in abstract terms.

18.4

the Conflict Phase (“Storming”)

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If the group does not experience the leader as an aid in resolving this conflict, another focal group conflict may arise (see Stock Whitaker, 1982): Disturbing motive Anger toward the leader, Reactive fear Fear of being abandoned by the leader should he discover this anger, Solution The anger is expressed toward absentees who are expected to help but do not (e.g. authorities). Over time, the group process can be reflected upon (within the framework of this model) as follows: – Formation of a focal group conflict, – Creation of one or more shared solutions and – Emergence of further focal group conflicts. Psychoanalytically speaking, the group situation triggers feelings of transference that bring up the individual’s childhood memories, experiences from the primary family, fears as well as strategies and patterns of defense acquired over the course of their lifetime and so on. The consequence is that the individual reenacts his basic biographical conflict and the associated defense mechanisms within the group. This further results in an interplay: On the one hand, the individual’s behavior—characterized by his desires and fears—contributes to the formation of group conflicts; on the other hand, the group conflict activates individual nuclear conflicts.

18.4.5 Sociometry and Group Conflict Example Reflective Group at the University of Applied Sciences, Rheinau, 12th session. The differences within the group have become consistently visible over the course of the past meetings. At this stage, the director decides, in consultation with the group, to use sociometry. This should throw some light on the different positions and coalitions present within the group and create some opportunities to work with. In addition, the participants will also learn about group dynamic phenomena and uncover possibilities to process them “on their own”—aspects which are also significant for their practical work with client groups. The participants organize themselves in the room in response to the question: “Who do I feel supported by in this group?” It becomes clear that there are two subgroups whose respective members choose each other positively, while the votes between these subgroups are all negative: Subgroup 1: Bella, Ira, John, Tina and three other participants, Subgroup 2: Eve, Harry, Martin, Sociometrically, Anita and Jack tend to be on the sidelines of the group: They forward positive votes, especially to subgroup 1, and some even to subgroup 2, but these are not reciprocated (Fig. 18.3).

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Fig. 18.3 Sociogram—a case study. Solid line = positive choice; dashed line = negative choice; arrow = one-sided choice

Group Dynamics

JOHN

BELLA

TINA

IRA

ANITA

JACK

EVE

HARRY

MARTIN

Sociometric methods can help uncover conflicting structures in a group and prepare them for processing. The type of sociometry used depends on the field of work, the setting and the task at hand. The results can then be processed with psychodramatic methods (e.g. Verhofstadt-Denève, 2012). The presented psychoanalytic models provide a framework for the interpretation of events in the group, as they are revealed through sociometry. Example Sociometry has successfully revealed the conflict between the two subgroups of the reflective group. This can be interpreted using the focal group conflict model, as described below: – It is known that the parents of the participants in the first subgroup (Bella, Ira, John, Tina and others) either died prematurely, were burdened with illness or were overstrained with the child. The strong performance they exhibit can be explained as a compensatory response to this lack of affection in childhood. At the same time, this subgroup demonstrates a high need for harmony, which is, for example, shown in the cautious reaction to Martin’s provocative statement in the 7th session.

18.4

the Conflict Phase (“Storming”) Shared desire Shared fear Shared solution

287

Retrospective attainment of missing parental love (the group as a mother), Loss of group harmony (experienced as the loss of maternal love in transference), Converting aggression into a taboo, avoiding conflict.

– The members of the second subgroup (Martin, Harry, Eve) are provocative, ambivalent in their attitude toward the group and reluctant in revealing personal issues. Shared desire Shared fear Shared solution

Hide our own weaknesses, Loss of distance/becoming vulnerable, Maintaining distance through provocation and aggressive behavior.

Here, it becomes apparent that the shared solution developed by subgroup 1 (fusing in we-group) exactly matches the shared fear of subgroup 2 (loss of distance). Conversely, the shared solution (aggression) developed by subgroup 2 triggers the shared fear of subgroup 1 (loss of harmony). The perfect “mirror image” of focal conflicts forms a vicious circle. In the countertransference, the director develops the image of a family in which the teenagers (subgroup 2) revolt against the mother’s (subgroup 1) desire for harmony, expressed, for example, in Martin’s protest in the 7th session. He concludes that he has to take on the role of a firm boundaried father within the group.

18.4.6 The Leader’s Tasks in the Conflict Phase The leader is often idealized by the group in the orientation phase. However, the increasing conflict dynamics also tend to have an impact on the relationship between the group and the leader. In the conflict phase, the leader is responsible for moderating emerging conflicts, ensuring that pent-up resentment is released and an acceptable solution is achieved without the occurrence of new injuries and insults. You can refer to Verhofstadt-Denève (2012) for practical considerations in working through conflicts. The leader has to maintain confidence in his role, especially since he occasionally becomes a “container” for the group’s conflicts. He is by no means excluded from the struggles of the conflict phase—on the contrary: The conflict is often centered on the leader, while the group’s behavior alternates between – Fight and open rivalry—members challenge the leader, – Flight—members minimize contact with the leader. Thus, the leader must face the conflicts that the group seeks to fight out with him. Leaders who are particularly gracious, benevolent and eager in the conflict phase, in an attempt to avoid any potential conflict, are actually inhibiting it: One does not want to express any distrust, criticism or aggression toward the “loving

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leader.” This inhibition ultimately prevents any form of confrontation with conflicts, thereby also preventing the development of independence in the group. Children often need to distance themselves as they resolve conflicts with their parents, in order to form their own identity. Similarly, even groups strengthen their “group self” by rebelling against the leadership sometimes. It may happen that the group declares the leader as an external enemy and assigns him the omega role (see Sect. 18.4.4). Groups with two leaders (director/co-director, newly added speakers, etc.) allow for splitting where one is idealized while the other is devalued. Needless to say, the group acts out most of these tendencies—like all group dynamic phenomena—at an unconscious level, with very few being revealed at a conscious level. Thus, the conflict phase demands special skills on the part of the leader: – Sound knowledge of psychological conflict dynamics and a trained eye to identify conflicts between participants (diagnostic competence), – A repertoire of interventions for processing and resolving conflict in a constructive manner (methodological competence), – A high level of sensitivity, flexibility, tolerance, communication skills and resilience (social skills), – Professional distance and self-reflection, so as not to become involved in the conflict and lose the leadership role. Supervision is therefore an important element of professional work, especially in the conflict phase. The leader must not capitalize on the rivalry between group members, but maintain a clearly identifiable impartial position instead. According to the Schindler’s model, the beta role is best suited for the leader of a work group and in particular a therapy group. This is because it remains relatively unaffected by the dynamics between the alpha, gamma and omega, thereby supporting both the alpha and omega roles. It is not always easy to maintain this role, as the leader is also part of the group dynamics and therefore easily tempted to show solidarity to the alpha position without much awareness. This poses a risk of them acting in line with the conflict dynamics of the group and losing their leadership capacities, but also underutilizing a resource that is crucial for the further development of the group. Outsiders reflect the blind spot and the weaknesses of the group, and they bring in creativity, spontaneity and innovation. Therefore, according to Gellert (in Gellert and Klein, 1994, p. 246), …it would be important for the leader to form a coalition with the omega role from time to time. Often we lead with the alpha and do not care enough for the omega because it is uncomfortable. The omega creates hindrance; produces conflicts that are disliked; needs us, as a leader, to determine his position; all this is certainly easier from the alpha role. But the potential - including the social change - is more strongly controlled by the omega. But of course it’s not that easy to grasp that. (translation S.P.)

Needless to say, the fight for authority and power in groups without a formal leader gains an edge.

18.4

the Conflict Phase (“Storming”)

289

The power relations in a group are established and consolidated in the conflict phase. Often, group conflicts, especially in multicultural groups, tend to constellate along socially prescribed lines of conflict. The ensuing power structure of the group therefore reflects the power relations of the majority population. In this case, the leader must ensure that the rights of the minority are safeguarded despite group dynamic pressure (this chapter). This applies not only to distinctions between the culture of origin, religious affiliation, etc., but also to contrasting values. Stock Whitaker (1982) recommends that the leader/therapist must pay attention to possible group topics and behavioral patterns. When they do make such observations, they must then think of the following questions (see Stock Whitaker, 1982, p. 332): – Why is this topic/behavior presented in this situation? – Which underlying wishes and fears could the group respond to with this topic/ behavior? – What fears are brought out or expressed symbolically by this topic/behavior? He can go ahead and address the group, where appropriate, and encourage those present to express shared fears by saying something like: “I feel that it is still difficult for you all to talk about subject X – What do you think? What could this refer to? What would make it easier for you?” If, in one way or another way, one succeeds in reducing the reactive fears in the shared focal group conflict, the fears of individuals that resonate with this group conflict can also be reduced. If the leader suspects that the events in the group (e.g. a dispute between two group members) are triggering particular reactions in individual participants, he can encourage the group to speak about it (“A and B were having a tough argument right now—I wonder how has it affected the others”) or even address individuals directly (“How did you feel when A and B were fighting?”). The conflict should in any case be interpreted as a group dynamic phenomenon and not primarily as an expression of individual shortcomings or faults, as this would then reinforce the defense. In any case, the leader should work toward ensuring corrective emotional experiences for the group in the context of a group conflict—although this does not necessarily mean that the group members must obtain an intellectual view of the mechanisms of focal group conflict (as the leader perceives them).

18.5

The Structuring Phase (“Norming”)

Example Reflective Group at the University of Applied Sciences, Rheinau, 12th session. After discussing the sociometric findings that revealed conflicts within the group, the two subgroups, as well as Antonia and Josef, gather in a group of two and share mutual expectations for further cooperation. These expectations are then disclosed and discussed in the plenary moderated by the leader. The group reaches an agreement on a set of group rules.

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18.5.1 Norms, Roles and Status In the third phase, the frequency of conflicts decreases and the cooperation between the members increases again. Conflicts are predominantly discussed constructively at the factual level; once the solutions are discussed, members seek consensus on group decisions. An atmosphere of trust and mutual support is created as the group cohesion increases. It is important to distinguish between the formal, informal and latent dimensions when formulating norms. Formal norms describe how one should act, whereas informal norms determine how it actually happens. While informal norms can be defined by those involved, latent rules affect the group members’ actions without them being aware of them. Latent rules and norms often come to the person’s attention only when they happen to violate them unintentionally (e.g. when one unexpectedly commits a “faux pas” in a new workplace or a country with different cultural practices). The distinction between formal and informal levels is also important during the distribution of roles in groups. The role is a basic category of psychodramatic analysis. The fundamentals of role theory have already been presented in Sect. 13.3. The informal role differentiation, which emerges in all groups, is particularly important in the context of group dynamics. Different members assume roles (or allow themselves to be assigned roles) that are functionally related to each other. In doing so, one could assume any of the following roles: – Task-oriented roles (e.g. leader, moderator, translator), – Socioemotional roles, roles that contribute to the emotional cohesion of the group (e.g. the role of the surrogate mother, the sympathetic listener, the counselor) and – Individual roles, roles which are inherently dynamic and not directly related to the tasks of the group (e.g. aggressor, blocker, playboy, etc.; see Forsyth, 1999, Table 18.2). The list of different roles described in. Table 18.2 can serve as a suggestion and observation aid in the identification of informal roles. Even if one does not want to follow this differentiated categorization, in many cases it would make sense to at least differentiate between the “task-oriented and socioemotional” and “conducive and obstructive” dimensions as well as to identify the leadership roles. Each role is associated with a particular status of the role holder—with sociometry (Chap. 15), psychodrama has both interpretation aids and diagnostic tools that are helpful in reflecting on the distribution of status in groups.

18.5

The Structuring Phase (“Norming”)

291

Table 18.2 Roles in groups (Forsyth, 1999 after Benne & Sheats) Roles Task-oriented roles Initiator/contributor Information seeker Opinion seeker Information provider Opinion giver Elaborator/clarifier Coordinator Summarizer Diagnostician Energizer Procedural technician Recorder Socioemotional roles Motivator Harmonizer Compromise maker Gatekeeper Provider of standards/norms Observer Follower Individual roles Aggressor Blocker Dominator Evader Help seeker Recognition seeker Playboy/playgirl Lobbyist

Function Demonstrates new ways to think about an existing problem and suggests new approaches to the problem or solutions to the problem Helps gather facts by asking for background information from other group members Asks for “qualitative data” such as attitudes, values and feelings Provides data/expert knowledge for decision making Provides opinions, values and feelings Provides additional information (examples, rephrasing, implications) to the contributions of others Demonstrates the relevance of each idea and its relationship to the overall problem Relates information back to the topic, if and when necessary Evaluates the quality of the working methods, the logic and the outcomes of the group Stimulates the group to continue working whenever the discussion begins to stall Takes care of operational details such as logistics, materials and equipment Takes notes and manages records Rewards others through approval, warmth and praise Mediates conflicts between group members Changes his mind on about a certain topic to avoid group conflicts Facilitates communication by establishing rules and ensuring equal participation of all members Sets standards/norms for evaluation of group performance or calls for a discussion on the same Points to the positive and negative aspects of group dynamics and presses for change, if necessary Accepts the ideas of others and serves the group as a listener Expresses disapproval of other’s actions, ideas and feelings; attacks the group Pessimistic, defies group influence; unnecessary resistance against the group Claims authority or superiority; manipulative Talks about personal interests, feelings and opinions that are not related the group goal Expresses uncertainty, confusion, self-deprecation Draws attention to self; self-glorifying Uninvolved, cynical, nonchalant Remains outside the group and acts as a representative of another social group or category

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18.5.2 The Leader’s Tasks in the Structuring Phase There are various ways in which norms become relevant in the practical work of psychodramatists. In team development, supervision, etc., the leader’s task is often to review the group’s norms for their appropriateness/functionality within the group context, e.g. by taking into consideration a common goal to be achieved. However, in order to maintain the working capacity of the group and protect the minorities, the leader must have a high degree of sensitivity to the group dynamic processes that lead to the formation of norms in each group. At the same time, it is not necessary for the leader to review all major decisions to ensure fairness to all participants. The leader’s behavior has a significant impact on the norms that can be formed and strengthened in the group. He serves as a model for the group members. His actions are indicative of what may be desirable and what should be avoided. He sets the standards for interaction between members and largely determines the topics that are to be discussed or avoided. In addition to this “function as a role model,” he promotes or inhibits the emergence of informal and latent norms by reinforcing or “punishing” (as in the context of learning theory) certain behaviors of the group members. This sanctioning of the normative or conflicting behaviors gains particular emphasis in that any form of compliance or violation leads to the formation of informal or latent norms that conflict with the formal norms. In this respect, the leader should always be sensitive to the question “What specific behaviors lead to the formation of which norms?” and he should also intervene at an early stage if the development continues in an undesirable direction. A critical reflection of the sociometric group structure as well as the norms on the basis of which the group ascribes status to individual members is particularly, but not only, a part of the critical management approach in conflict situations, whereby again the field of work, setting and assignment have to be considered. This applies in particular if the status distribution in the group reflects social power relations. Working with sociodrama is particularly suitable for this purpose. The role concept functions as an important diagnostic model in practical psychodramatic group work. An insight into the role distribution within the group is imperative to understand group conflicts, disruptions in goal achievement and other group dynamic processes. An analysis of the interplay of roles, discrepancies between formal and informal roles, etc., can help the group resolve conflicts and fulfill tasks more effectively. Thus, the role concept is also important in supervision, team development, leadership training and personnel development.

18.6

18.6

the Phase of Constructive Work (“Performing”)

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The Phase of Constructive Work (“Performing”)

At this stage, the group is now stabilized enough to deliver optimal performance, and the cohesiveness between members has reached its maximum (however not every group reaches the performing stage—11 out of 12 groups failed in the earlier stages in a study on neighborhood committees in the US, Zurcher, 1969). Generally, the leader is advised to steer away from merging with the increasing “we-ness” in the performing stage so as to avoid losing their leadership role. Instead, post the conflict phase, they should attempt to direct the group’s focus largely on the task at hand which involves clarifying goals and providing content-related input. The external leadership tasks are otherwise almost unnecessary at this stage as the group has developed the capacity to regulate itself. The leader may occasionally intervene, moderate and supervise, as well as help with the further or new development of goals.

18.7

The Dissolution Phase (“Adjourning”)

At this stage, the leader, along with the group, must – Either develop new impulses (e.g. new goals) that enable the group to continue to work with a modified composition or with different objectives or – Support the process of dissolution. This includes the admission of grief, a final assessment of the joint work as well as assistance in transferring the learning into the practice.

18.8

Summary

Group dynamics is a complex phenomenon which is influenced by – – – –

Individual participant stories, Role configurations, Social norms, The current state of the group process and many other factors.

However, group dynamics cannot simply be explained as the sum of the individuals’ contributions. Each group develops its own characteristics that constantly present the leader with new challenges: – In the orientation phase, they are responsible for providing security and orientation to the members, so that group cohesion can emerge as a prerequisite for productive cooperation. – They act as a diagnostician, moderator and role model in the conflict phase.

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– They are responsible for maintaining and balancing standards, roles and status in the structuring phase. – It is only the minimal, task-oriented impulses that are necessary in the stage of constructive work. – They must finally enable the separation of the participants from the group in the dissolution phase.

References Asch, S. E. (1952). Social psychology. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall. Försterling, F. (2001). Attribution: An introduction to theories, research and applications. London: Routledge. Forsyth, D. R. (1999). Group dynamics (3rd ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth. French, T. M. (1958). The integration of behavior (Vol. 3). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Fryszer, A., & Schwing, R. (2014). Handbook of Systemic Psychotherapy. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Gellert, M., & Klein, U. (1994). Soziometrie: Mehr als nur eine Standortbestimmung. Psychodrama, 7(2), 239–251. Krüger, R. T. (1997). Kreative Interaktion. Tiefenpsychologische Theorie und Methoden des klassischen Psychodramas. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Latane, B. (1997). Dynamic social impact: The social consequences of human interaction. In E. Witte & J. Davis (eds.), Understanding group behavior: Consensual actions by small groups (Vol. 1, pp. 193–219). Mahwah: Erlbaum. Leary, M. R. (1996). Self-presentation: Impression management and interpersonal behavior. Boulder: Westview. March, J. G. & Olsen, J. P. (1986). Garbage can models of decision making in organizations. In J. G. March & R. Weissinger-Baylon (eds.), Ambiguity and command. Organizational perspectives on military decision making (pp. 11–35). Massachusetts: Pitman. Petzold, H. (1980). Moreno—nicht Lewin—der Begründer der Aktionsforschung. Gruppendynamik, 2, 142–160. Schattenhofer, K. (1995). Was ist eine Gruppe? Gruppenmodelle aus konstruktivistischer Sicht. In O. König (Ed.), Gruppendynamik: Geschichte, Theorien, Methoden, Anwendungen, Ausbildung (pp. 117–142). München: Profil. Schindler, R. (1971). Die Soziodynamik in der therapeutischen Gruppe. In A. Heigl-Evers (Ed.), Psychoanalyse und Gruppe (pp. 21–32). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Stock Whitaker, D. (1982). A nuclear conflict and group focal conflict model for integrating individual and group-level phenomena in psychotherapy groups. In M. Pines (ed.), The individual and the group. Boundaries and Interrelations (Vol. 1, pp. 321–338). New York: Plenum. Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequences in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 384–399. Verhofstadt-Denève, L. (2012). Subgroup conflicts? Try the psychodramatic “double triad method”. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 62(2), 253–281. Zurcher, L. A., Jr. (1969). Stages of development in poverty program neighborhood action comitees. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 15, 223–258.

Further Reading

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Further Reading Forsyth, D. R. (2009). Group dynamics (5th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth (Forsyth combines an emphasis on research, empirical studies and case studies to illustrate the application of concepts to actual groups. Forsyth builds each chapter around a real-life case and draws on examples from a range of disciplines including psychology, law, education, sociology, and political science).

Chapter 19

The Intercultural Dimension in Working with Psychodrama

It is difficult for two people to live together, let alone 200 million. Because we are different from each other and have not learned yet to accept these differences, constructing a society in a way to retain our autonomy, free choice, and permission to grow to full humanness will be difficult, and making the best possible compromise under these circumstances will never be a perfectly satisfactory compromise (Maslow, 1970).

The free and equal coexistence of majorities and minorities is not merely an abstract vision for Moreno as well as psychodrama. Moreno’s work with refugees and prostitutes was the starting point of his career. Psychodrama, according to him, is not only a healing method for the individual’s well-being, but also an instrument of social change based on his concept of sociatry (Sect. 14.4). He considered psychodrama—together with group psychotherapy and, above all, sociometry—to be an instrument to achieve this new order. Moreno expressed his desire to initiate a social revolution in his therapeutic philosophy and pursued it intensively at the beginning. However, it has receded into the background over the years, both in his own work as well as in the practice of many contemporary psychodramatists. The theme itself, on the other hand, is more current and pressing than before. This is because, despite legal equality, such as the expressed claims of many national constitutions or the UN Charter on Human Rights, the de facto exclusion of minorities and disadvantaged groups remains. For example, migrants, members of religious minorities, as well as people with physical or mental disabilities continue to have limited access to societal resources and opportunities for active social participation. In addition to these structural disadvantages, their everyday life includes experiences of being misunderstood, rejected and discriminated for various reasons, ranging from (possibly inconsiderate) offending remarks to derogatory jokes to racist, sexist, religious or otherwise motivated physical and psychological violence. The issues mentioned are only a few of the most obvious expressions for

In collaboration with Michaela Reinig. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_19

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the constitution of power relations along a socially constructed dividing line. Such imaginary dividing lines also run between the genders, social classes, between people with different educational biographies, etc. The various offers of psychosocial care are directed to such disadvantaged people in order to support, advise and accompany them. However, if the offered psychosocial care reflects attitudes, prejudices and structural disadvantages of the majority, the clients run the risk of being misunderstood, not taken seriously, rejected and patronized. In addition to varied cultural backgrounds and differences, for example, with regard to the style of communication and the notion of what is perceived as “normal,” latent prejudices often hamper the professional handling of the clients’ interests. Especially with regard to the latter point, the practice of therapy and counseling is often in sharp contrast to the self-image of those working in psychosocial fields, because: Who would consider himself a racist? This chapter will not serve the reader as a map that can elegantly circumvent any obstacles in this difficult terrain, but rather as a compass that will aid them in their learning process. One can develop professionalization in dealing with the issues raised here only by reflecting on their own actions, i.e. through active engagement with one’s own values, preferences, attitudes and blind spots. The text also sees itself as a part of such a learning process of the authors, who themselves are members of the German majority culture and in their own practice, strive to deal with the power relationships between the minorities and majorities in a critical manner. We are placing the topic of interculturality in the foreground here. The issues addressed here are partly transferable to contexts involving clients who are marginalized, for example, because of their religion or their sexual orientation; there are some other aspects which are also relevant here, and however, we cannot expand on them due to the limited scope.

19.1

The Intercultural Dimension in Psychosocial Work

“Multicultural” and “monocultural” work can no longer be easily distinguished from each other: Anyone practicing counseling and therapy must be aware that their services might be utilized by clients who have a background of migration. For example, in many parts of the world school classrooms without children with (own or parental) migration background are an exception and “intercultural management” has become the central theme in internationally operating organizations, to name a few. In a broad sense of the term, “… every human encounter is an intercultural encounter—and so from an intercultural perspective, as under a magnifying glass, it is often what distinguishes human communication universally that makes it difficult and intriguing” (Mecheril, 1996, p. 19, translation S.P.). The intercultural dimension is not specific to a field of work (counseling for migrant women, intercultural training, etc.), but it is a cross-sectional issue that must be taken into account in all psychosocial fields of work, as we exemplify below with reference to some central topics of intercultural discourse.

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19.1.1 Language “Language is a medium of understanding, and language is a medium that prevents understanding, be it intentionally or thoughtlessly” (Mecheril, 1996, p. 21, translation S.P.). In intercultural contexts, language can complicate understanding in more ways than one. On the one hand, a shared language is a prerequisite for building a trusting relationship between clients and consultants. Knowing the client’s mother tongue is particularly important in establishing contact as well as discussing their emotional experiences and mental states. This is especially true when working with childhood experiences. In many situations, it is therefore necessary and helpful to involve subject-specific trained interpreters, provided even the counselors are specifically trained in dealing with such communication situations. Language is also a medium for the construction of reality: These differences and difficulties might be constructed and cemented depending on the way we talk about differences and difficulties in intercultural work. The terms used in intercultural discourse, such as culture, cultural identity, ethnicity, racism, multiculturalism and foreigners are not purely descriptive, but are also exploited by various parties for political purposes. The term “migrant worker” simultaneously implies, for example, a reduction of the person in question to their economic function (“worker”) and as foreign and therefore not entitled to stay (“migrant”). A critical treatment of such terms should not engage with these implicit connotations, but strive for a language that does not demean those affected. According to Mecheril (1996), this means one should use the expressions used by those affected in their self-description.

19.1.2 Migration and Discriminatory Experiences in the Sociopolitical Context as Well as the “Cultural Identity” In intercultural encounters within the context of psychosocial work, relations between the majorities and minorities are not seen as detached from the existing inequalities of social power relations, but are influenced by these. For example, members of minorities continue to be discriminated against legally and politically (e.g. through restrictive naturalization and immigration legislation), socially marginalized and confronted with devaluing attributions, for example in the form of pictures about “the violent Blacks”. Attributing such experiences and behaviors— that do not fit with the majority culture’s evaluation scheme—to a supposed cultural identity, can lead to “culturalization.” According to Mecheril (1996, p. 22 f.), culturalization occurs, “when members of discriminated minorities and their concerns are defined entirely on the basis of their cultural origin, and stresses are understood exclusively as conditioned by the cultural identity of the other person and as a consequence of cultural conflicts” (translation S.P.). Moreover, the

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discourse about a fixed cultural identity may be misleading because the experience of (not only) migrants is often influenced by several coexisting and fluid cultural identities. One should therefore speak of multiple identities (e.g. being Indian, belonging to the British middle class, female, etc.). This thinking is applied as a role system in the psychodramatic concept of the self and the cultural atom (Sect. 14.3). Professionals in the field of psychosocial work must be able to recognize and reflect on the socially dominant practices of exclusion and structural inequality and learn to view their own actions and experiences as well as those of others in this context. For those belonging to the majority, this means reflecting on one’s own personal and professional involvement in social power relations. This can manifest itself, for example, in situations where counselors and therapists belonging to the cultural majority trivialize racism and experiences of discrimination and minority members are held responsible for any difficulties and misunderstandings in the interaction, etc. Professional work with those belonging to the majority in an intercultural context therefore does not only mean dealing with one’s own sociocultural character (e.g. with regard to acquired images of oneself and the “others”) and a critical review of one’s own professional concepts of action (e.g. with regard to the question, for whom and from what perspective they have been developed), but also requires an awareness of power relations and one’s own privileged position. In addition, intercultural psychosocial action is always “biased” (Mecheril, 1996, p. 30), since “improving the participation of the structurally disadvantaged” is always an essential dimension (Mecheril, 1996, p. 30, translation S.P.). Thus, one can also use Moreno’s (partisan) work with marginalized social groups as a model for today’s psychodramatic action.

19.1.3 Psychotherapy/Counseling Norms The norms that apply in psychosocial fields, for example, in Western Europe, are usually “Caucasian norms” (Tsui & Schultz, 1988). This means that the standards for how one must self-reflect and to what extent must one be self-aware, what rules of communication must one follow, which concepts of illness and recovery are being applied, etc., are based on the cultural norms of the majority population. If these norms are not explicitly named and challenged in counseling and therapy, it may exclude participants from other cultures from actively contributing to the task at hand. Therapeutic concepts that place emphasis on abreaction and boundary setting (e.g. “Here on the psychodrama stage, you can tell your mother how much you loathe her for her alcoholism”) may contradict values that are considered fundamental and inviolable in other cultural contexts, such as respect for the parents or protection of privacy. It is therefore necessary to be sensitive and respectful of the clients’ boundaries, particularly when working with migrants.

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19.1.4 Interculturality and Group Dynamics Discrimination against minorities and marginalization of “scapegoats” are group dynamic phenomena that occur in virtually all groups. In multiethnic groups, however, there is the additional risk that the dynamics of the group will replicate the already existing discrimination against migrants and other minorities. This happens partly because of the director’s inattentiveness and partly because of the unconscious solidarity of the director with the majority of the group. In this way, the experiences of marginalization are reactivated for those affected and the existing social polarities consolidated. In the words of Tsui and Schultz (1988): As long as “racial” and cultural differences are perceived as significant and emotionallyladen issues in our society, one will observe stereotyping, scapegoating, displacement, intellectualizing, and ultimately polarization along cultural lines and “racial” lines – all in the service of avoidance of self-reflection and critical analysis of painful substantive issues. A therapy group merely reflects, accentuates, and amplifies this process because of the intimate and intense nature of the members’ interactions (p. 140).

The director can counteract this process by encouraging and demanding an examination of the group and individual issues that have been pushed away in this manner.

19.2

The Intercultural Dimension in Working with Psychodrama

Moreno’s professional career began with his sociopolitical commitment to working with marginalized social groups. With the development of psychodrama not only as a healing method for individual well-being but also as an instrument of societal change (see the remarks at the beginning of this chapter), Moreno joined a social-revolutionary claim, a social utopia, which also aimed at the equal coexistence of majorities and minorities. These beginnings of psychodramatic practice, as well as Moreno’s vision of social change through psychodrama, indicate that psychodrama inherently has the potential to include sociopolitical contexts, to address and reflect upon these aspects, to change social (power) relationships, and hence also the ability to act on the asymmetries in the relations between majorities and minorities. Even basic concepts of psychodrama such as encounter or tele as well as techniques such as role reversal—with the “change in perspective” being their common constitutive element—make psychodrama seem suitable for working in an intercultural context. The role reversal is an essential component of intercultural encounter for Dhawan (1992):

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In my opinion, culture is not the cause for barriers to people from other cultures. Barriers are present when I, psychodramatically speaking, can not change roles with the other, I am unable to go into the world of the other, to see and experience it with their eyes. (p. 39, translation S.P.)

Being an action and experience-oriented method, some authors consider psychodrama to be an advantage in intercultural contexts, as it avoids fixation on purely linguistic forms of expression. Psychodrama is not only an alternative, but also a reflection of social conditions. Even psychodrama leaders and group participants have internalized certain (majority) norms, which often form the basis of their own actions and experiences without being questioned. Similarly, social power relations are replicated in the “microcosm” of psychodrama groups without being discussed or questioned. Finally, psychodramatic concepts and practices also imply certain norms and values whose specific historical, cultural and social characteristics—especially with regard to their use in an intercultural context—still need to be analyzed thoroughly as psychodramatic literature on topics such as culture and ethnicity is scarce. For example, experiential reports by trainees show that the application of psychodramatic methods is often based on a monocultural concept of self that ignores the “cultural element in methods and didactics” (Frey & Kalpaka, 1999, p. 606, translation S.P.) as well as the different backgrounds of the participants and thus replicates mechanisms of social exclusion. Example As an example, one can cite the often used sociometric warm-up, in which the director asks the participants to position themselves in the room according to their place of origin on an imaginary map of Germany. The statement implies that places of origin outside Germany are not present or are not included and thus excludes participants who cannot place themselves within this ethnocentrically constructed framework (Frey & Kalpaka, 1999, p. 592, translation S.P.).

A lot more intensive work is still needed to further develop both the existing practice as well as the concepts of psychodrama in terms of incorporating the intercultural dimension, i.e. the cultural and ethnic aspects, as well as power and difference. However, there are already some published concepts that describe how psychodrama and sociodrama could be constructively applied in an intercultural context (Costa, 2002; Leveton, 2011; Moreno, 1952; Tomasulu, 2000; Wiener, 1997; Woodward, 2001). Leadership style To begin with, many of the above-mentioned authors emphasize some aspects that need to be considered before one takes on the leadership role, such as one’s attitude, perception and self-reflection. For example, Wiener (1997) considers it essential to clarify his own social and cultural position when preparing for the direction of intercultural sociodramatic groups:

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• Does the director belong to the majority (e.g. white, middle class, heterosexual)? • What potential biases could arise, considering the presence of minority members (e.g. black participants, lower-class participants, homosexual participants) in the group? • How could the director’s language be influenced by their social or cultural background? • How would participants with a different social or cultural background potentially experience the director? He suggests that the director should be aware of the majority and minority constellations in the group in advance. In addition, the director could do an imaginary role reversal with minority group members, and ask how they would possibly feel about participating in the group. The director should also pay special attention to the group dynamic structures that establish themselves alongside the differences and power relations. Intercultural composition of the leadership teams There are many reasons for an intercultural composition of the leadership teams: On the one hand, this means that minority members can also be represented at the leadership level, and on the other hand, it shows how and that it is possible for majority and minority members to work together on equal terms. Sculptures Kalpaka and Wilkening (1997) have developed a seminar concept “Pedagogical Action in the Immigration Society” for educational work with teachers who support young people in vocational training. Working with sculptures (Sect. 4.7) forms a fundamental building block in her comprehensive seminar concept. The aim is to enable the participants to develop a changed perspective on their professional behavior in intercultural learning groups. The representation of the situations introduced by the seminar participants (e.g. from the professional life of a German social worker, who perceives a Turkish trainee as torn between family and education) in the form of sculpture makes it possible, on the one hand, to explore the participants’ inner perspective by interviewing them in their role. On the other hand, it allows for an external perspective on the depicted situation, in which the antagonists are interviewed in their role and the spectators are involved with their perceptions and interpretations of the situation during the sculpture work (e.g. through assumptions about the presented situation that are expressed in the plenary session or through doubling the different roles in the sculpture). Thus, the inner and outer perspectives are increasingly differentiated through the subsequent analysis in the group, the protagonist as well as the other participants can recognize their own perspective and their own interpretation of the events as one of many possible and perceive other views as equally meaningful (see Kalpaka & Wilkening, 1997, p. 21). The authors consider it important to clarify the coexistence of different perceptions and experiences through a discussion on the different experiences and interests in the group and that one’s own interpretations and previous professional actions can be questioned.

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Structural aspects of intercultural work One cannot create conditions for psychosocial care, in which migrants can rediscover themselves and feel secure, simply by sensitizing and training counselors/ therapists or making methodical offers. Instead, appropriate alignment of the services is required on an institutional level. Adequate structural measures can be, for example, the setting up of decentralized counseling centers, which conduct outreach work by offering practical services (e.g. assistance in matters of employment law, assistance in dealing with authorities; Mecheril, 1996), as well as for working with multiethnic teams. However, this is not exhausted by the fact that, for example, a counseling center frequented by Turkish women hires a Turkish expert who is then responsible for “the Turks” (Mecheril, 1996). Instead, all employees should look at the intercultural dimension of their work critically, both as individuals in continuous training and in a team in the form of supervision and team discussions. In practice, demand and reality can contradict one another: While on the one hand there is a demand for intercultural openness in the institution, this demand can on the other side be hampered by a low commitment on the part of the employees. There is much to be done here. While most institutions are unlikely to fulfill this demand in the short term, it is our responsibility to respond to the growing diversification of our society with an effort to work toward our own diversification.

19.3

Summary

Moreno pursued the goal for social revolution in his writings as well as in his tangible actions. He designed his system of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy as an alternative to the existing social power relationships. This critical perspective is often hard to find, both in the scientific discourse as well as in the prevailing practice of psychodrama. Unreflected application can result in psychodrama not only mirroring the social conditions but also contributing to the consolidation of existing power relationships between the majorities and minorities. A leader that, for example, takes account of the plurality of living environments in intercultural work and avoids the risk of reproducing racism and discrimination, needs to engage in continuous reflection of their own cultural imprints and their involvement in social power structures as well as sensitivity to the cultural implications of psychodramatic norms and procedures.

References Costa, B. (2002). Psychodrama across cultures. The British Journal of Psychodrama & Sociodrama, 17, 37–47. Dhawan, S. (1992). Psychodrama in der Arbeit mit politisch Verfolgten. SysThema,6(2), 37–49.

References

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Frey, S. & Kalpaka, A. (1999). Weiterbildung in der Einwanderungsgesellschaft. Potentiale und Hindernisse auf dem Weg zu einer Interkulturalisierung am Beispiel «Weiterbildungsstudiengänge Supervision». Verhaltenstherapie und psychosoziale Praxis,31(4), 589–614. Kalpaka, A. & Wilkening, C. (1997). Multikulturelle Lerngruppen—Veränderte Anforderungen an das pädagogische Handeln. Ein Seminarkonzept. Heidelberg: hiba. Leveton, E. (2011). Working in different cultures: approaches in sociodrama and dramatherapy. In R. Wiener, D. Adderly, & K. Kirk (Eds.), Sociodrama in a changing world: An anthology (pp. 173–182). Raleigh: Lulu. Maslow, A. H. (1970). Politics 3. Download. http://maslow.org/sub/p3.php. Mecheril, P. (1996). Auch das noch … Ein handlungsbezogenes Rahmenkonzept interkultureller Beratung. Verhaltenstherapie und psychosoziale Praxis, 28(1), 17–35. Moreno, J. L. (1952). Sociodramatic approach to minority problems. Group Psychotherapy, 5, 7–19. Tomasulo, D. J. (2000). Culture in action: Diversity training with a cultural double. The International Journal of Action Methods: Psychodrama, Skill Training and Role Playing, 53, 51–65. Tsui, P., & Schultz, G. L. (1988). Ethnic factors in group process: Cultural dynamics in multiethnic therapy groups. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 58(1), 136–142. Wiener, R. (1997). Creative training: Sociodrama and team-building. London: Kingsley. Woodward, G. (2001). Issues of cultural difference with a focus on ethnicity. The British Journal of Psychodrama and Sociodrama, 16, 47–64.

Further Reading Ababio, B., & Littlewood, R. (Ed.). (2019). Intercultural therapy: Challenges, insights and developments (194 p). London: Routledge (Based on the London based Nafsiyat Intercultural Therapy Center’s work, various facets of intercultural therapy right up to current sociopolitical issues are being questioned). Lago, C. (Ed.). (2011). The handbook of transcultural counselling and psychotherapy (408 p). Maidenhead: Open University Press (Following an introduction to general aspects such as training, identity development and culturally sensitive supervision, various authors will present specifics about working in the cultural contexts of Africa, Australia, Eastern Europe, Ireland, the Middle East, India, and so on).

Chapter 20

Therapeutic Factors in Psychodrama

“What needs to be changed, must be experienced in therapy” Or:‘Speech is silver, experience is gold’ (Grawe, 1995, p. 136).

For the work with psychodrama to be theoretically grounded, empirically founded and optimally suited to the needs of the clients, it is important to know which effects have the individual methodical components (e.g. in comparison with other methods) and how these effects can be explained. Despite extensive research on effectiveness, especially in the field of psychotherapy, these two questions have not been fully resolved in relation to not only psychodrama but also other methods, such as systemic therapy—many methods are insufficiently studied and understood in terms of their mode of action. The present studies on psychodrama often suffer from methodological deficiencies, e.g. small samples, insufficient randomization, inappropriate patient selection and missing or inadequate catamnestic examinations. Another problem is that the individuality of the leader/therapist and the client remains largely hidden, although factors such as the leadership style generate so much variance that the comparability of the data is extremely problematic. Psychotherapy research refers to three classes of variables: 1. Input variables (e.g. attributes of the client as well as the therapist), 2. Outcome variables (e.g. the effects of the intervention on the client and his social environment) and 3. Process variables (the factors responsible for the therapeutic effects in a client-therapist interaction, Howard & Orlinsky, 1972). This chapter focuses on • The empirical effectiveness of psychodrama and • The theoretical explanations for its effects. from both, the outcome and the process perspective. Efficacy research is almost exclusively conducted in the psychotherapeutic field, but the process variables that make up the impact of psychodrama should, in principle, also be relevant for other fields of work. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 F. von Ameln and J. Becker-Ebel, Fundamentals of Psychodrama, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4427-9_20

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Outcome Variables: Empirical Findings on the Effects of Psychodrama

In the opinion of most experts, psychodrama has not been adequately investigated as a therapy method (for example, Grawe, Donati, & Bernauer, 1998). But the first impression is deceptive: Up to 200 studies have been listed in various review articles on psychodrama research (Kellermann, 1987a; Kipper, 1978; Kipper & Ritchie, 2003; Orkibi & Feniger-Schaal, 2019; Wieser, 2007). However, most studies rely on the analysis of single cases or few subjects or suffer from other methodological deficiencies. Our presentation focuses mainly on the robust studies and the few meta-analyses. In a meta-analysis of 25 studies (with at least one control group, total number of subjects = 1325), Kipper and Ritchie (2003) calculated a total effect size of d = 0.95 (p < 0.01), which was mainly based on the use of techniques of reversing roles and doubling. Subsequently, the effectiveness of psychodrama is considered to be good and slightly higher than the values reported for the effectiveness of group therapy. However, the authors point out that the analyzed studies date back to a period of three decades and have some methodological shortcomings. This problem affects psychodrama research as a whole, which suffers from relatively low institutional and financial means to carry out extensive investigations (e.g., compared to behavioral therapy). Further information on the effects of psychodrama can be obtained from the research on role reversal, group psychotherapy and other experiential methods (Greenberg, Elliott & Lietaer, 1994).

20.1.1 Change in Attitude Janis and King (1990) have particularly studied the changes in attitudes as a result of an exchange of perspectives in role reversal. Janis and Mann (1965) invited their subjects to take part in a role play on the negative consequences of cigarette consumption, who later showed a significant reduction in their own consumption, even after a longer follow-up period (Mann & Janis, 1968). The effect was much less pronounced in the control group as well as a comparison group that heard the audio recordings of the role play but had not participated in it. Similar results are reported by Elms (1966) and Sarbin and Jones (1955).

20.1.2 Improving Interpersonal Competence and Empathy Following the significance of the concept of tele, promoting empathy is an important goal in psychodramatic work. Role reversal, double and sharing are instruments mainly used to reach this goal.

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Bohart (1977) has demonstrated that working with role reversal in the empty chair technique reduces anger and aggressive attitudes toward people with whom one has an unresolved conflict. Kipper and Ben-Ely (1979) invited one of their subjects to play a given situation (e.g. “You are sitting in your room, waiting for your appointment, which is already delayed by 15 min—how are you feeling?”); another person was given the task of stepping into the double position and expressing the thoughts and feelings that the subject may possibly have. This led to much greater changes on Truax’s (1961) “Accurate Empathy Scale” as compared to a lecture, no treatment (control group), or a reflection on the situation (subject A presents the situation, and subject B expresses the feelings of the person in the situation). Further findings on fostering empathy through psychodrama can be found in Kelly (1976) as well as Pilkey, Goldman and Kleinman (1961).

20.1.3 Role Expansion The expansion of the role spectrum is one of the most important goals of intervention in classical psychodrama. In Schneider-Düker’s (1989) study, protagonists, leaders and group members described the protagonist and auxiliary ego roles played on stage with three adjectives each. These descriptions were matched with the dimensions of the SYMLOG model (friendly vs. unfriendly, goal-directed vs. emotional, influencing vs. non-influencing) using Orlik atlas (see Schneider-Düker, 1989). The subjects belonged to an experiential group (12 psychology students, 16 sessions of 3 h each) and an open therapy group with changing numbers of participants (N = 8–11, 33 sessions). The ratings of the experiential group indicate that the role spectrum of the participants had widened insofar as the roles they played during the course of the group expanded into the three-dimensional SYMLOG space. On the other hand, the participants of the therapy group persisted in a narrower role spectrum for a longer time, which can be attributed to the clinical population, to problems with the rating procedure, but also to the small share of psychodrama work (only 11 plays in 33 sessions).

20.1.4 Changes in the Clinical Representation Psychotherapy studies have demonstrated that psychodrama has a number of beneficial effects on clients’ clinical representation. We will only present some of those findings, particularly from the methodically more robust investigations. Wang et al. (2020) have conducted a meta-analysis with 9 studies on the effects of psychodrama on depression and anxiety. Their results suggest that psychodrama significantly mitigates the symptoms of depression and anxiety, especially of patients with mild symptoms. Peters and Jones (1951) treated 10 patients

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with a diagnosis of schizophrenia with once a week psychodrama group sessions in a clinic. In the test interval of 4 months, they showed a significant improvement in social adaptation as compared to the control group. Lapierre, Lavallee and Tetreault (1973) treated patients with a combination of psychodrama therapy and a neuroleptic (mesoridazine, N = 12) or a placebo (N = 12) in their double blind study. In addition to the drug-specific effects, after an initial surge, there was also a significant improvement in the psychopathology scores in both groups. The study by Wood et al. (1979), which stands out for its high number of subjects (N = 101), proves that working with psychodrama in the treatment of alcoholics can lead to an increase in activity, trust and emotional stability. The shorter versions of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were among the few measuring instruments used in this study. Schramski et al. (1984) compared psychodrama and other group methods in their work with prisoners. They used the Correctional Institutions Environmental Scale (CIES; Moos, 1974) and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist by Derogatis and Cleary (1977), whose revised version became known as the Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R). Psychodrama proved to be superior in comparison with all other treatments on various subscales of minimal treatment as well as on the Global Severity Index (GSI). In a more recent study, Testoni et al. (2020) evaluated a program of 21 weekly psychodrama sessions with 7 prison inmates in Italy. Their mixed methods design showed a decrease in psychological distress; a related decrease in depressive, anxious, physical, and/or traumatic symptoms; and a relative increase in the patients’ general emotional and social functioning. The large-scale PAGE study with 12 therapists and 91 psychodrama patients showed improvements on the following dimensions (see Tschuschke & Anbeh, 2007): • Overall psychiatric functioning. Assessment by the therapist (GAF); rise from an average of 58 (“moderate/serious”) to 71 (“mentally healthy”); high effect size (ES = 1.35, p = .000), • Therapy goals. Self-assessment by the patients; high effect size (ES = 1.60, p = .000), • Interpersonal problems. Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP), self-assessment by the patients; mean effect size (ES = 0.50, p = .000), • Symptoms. Global Severity Index (GSI) of the SCL-90-R; self-assessment by the patients; mean effect size (ES = 0.57, p = .000). In the discussion, the authors point out the discrepancy between the high subjective gain identified by the patient and the practitioner on the one hand and the rather minor objective improvements (symptom loss or reduction of interpersonal social difficulties) on the other hand. The question is whether this finding is due to the “euphoria’” at the end of treatment or whether the treatment duration was not sufficient to achieve more significant improvements. The authors arrive at the following on the basis of the data from the study:

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• “On an average, psychodramatic group psychotherapy impacts different outcome measures to a similar extent as other psychotherapeutic methods (…). • Subjective satisfaction is achieved with the treatment and therapists consider their patients to have a higher level of psychological functioning. However, symptom relief is relatively low, and structural behavioral patterns with fairly long term traits are barely altered. • More detailed considerations raise the question of the durability of the effects achieved. • The question of time is also relevant for psychodrama: What amount of dosage (read sessions) is needed for which patients to achieve which effects?” (Tschuschke & Anbeh, 2004, p. 93, translation S.P.). Rudokaite and Indriuniene (2019) investigated the extent to which psychodrama can help reduce school anxiety among senior secondary school students. The authors report that the emotional (low self-esteem, helplessness, loneliness) as well as the cognitive symptoms (attention and concentration disorders, blocked reflection and disturbed memory) of the psychodrama trial group (n = 61) improved significantly, while no change was noted in the control group (n = 163). In addition, following the psychodrama training, the students displayed more productive work behavior (recorded via self-report) as compared to the students in the control group. Unfortunately, they have not exactly described the interventions used in designing the four psychodrama group sessions. Thus, the results of the study and their conclusions regarding the therapeutic factors of psychodrama mechanisms have to be interpreted with caution. In 2011, Wieser compiled an overview of studies concerning psychodrama as a method of therapy and classified them according to the categories of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). It can be found on the Internet at http://www.isi-hamburg.org/download/0_Symposium_2011_Wieser_studies_110227. PPT (2.10.2019).

20.2

Process Variables: Therapeutic Factors of Psychodrama

It is an achievement to be able to prove that a method has certain systematic effects on the client. The question that follows, however, is: How can these effects be explained? Only when this question is answered can the intervention in a counseling or therapy process be tailored to the needs of the practice. There is still a need for explanation in psychodramatic process research. Catharsis is probably the most frequently cited authentic psychodramatic factor. According to Ploeger (1990), other effects are dependent on the concept of the psychodrama leader: While the practice of new behaviors is in the foreground in classical and behavioral psychodrama, analytic psychodrama focuses on the insight into behavioral patterns as well as the restructuring of motivational patterns.

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The psychotherapy research distinguishes between two types of therapeutic factors: 1. Specific therapeutic factors attributed to goal-oriented and procedural interventions (e.g. role reversal) and 2. Non-specific therapeutic factors that expand their therapeutic effect through the qualities of the relationship between a leader and a client (e.g. understanding, respect, interest, encouragement, recognition, warmth, empathy) that are not specific to the method. Since their effect does not depend on an intervention with a specific method, it is occasionally referred to as a placebo effect (Fish, 1973). While there is agreement on the importance of non-specific therapeutic factors, the status of specific therapeutic factors is debatable. It is sometimes difficult to separate these two factors. Nevertheless, we have tried to structure the following information on the process variables of psychodrama on the basis of this distinction.

20.2.1 Non-specific Therapeutic Factors Therapeutic factors of psychodrama as per Yalom’s model The best known compilation of therapeutic factors in group psychotherapy comes from Yalom (1995, overview). Overview Yalom’s therapeutic factors • • • • • • • • • • •

Group cohesiveness, Altruism, Imparting of information, Interpersonal learning—output (behavioral change), Catharsis, Universality (realization that others have similar problems), Instillation of hope, Existential factors, Imitative behavior, Interpersonal learning—input (feedback), Corrective recapitulation of the primary family group/family re-enactment, • Development of socializing techniques.

Other classifications add aspects such as self-disclosure Bloch and Crouch (1985) but are largely similar to Yalom´s model.

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Bosselmann (1993) and Becker (2002) have matched the various methodological elements of psychodrama with Yalom’s (1995) therapeutic factors. The development of group cohesion is of paramount importance for psychodramatists. It is an integral part of the psychodramatic process in the form of the warming-up phase and is explicitly promoted by working at the group level (e.g. group-centered plays). The protagonist experiences altruism by the director and especially in sharing by the group. The universality of suffering is also expressed in sharing as well as in the double. Interpersonal learning (input) happens particularly in the integration phase (role feedback, sharing), but also during the action phase, e.g. in psychodramatic mirror and in group plays. Re-enactment of the primary family is the central therapeutic factor of psychodrama concepts within the psychodynamic framework. Catharsis occupies a special position in psychodrama—it is discussed in more detail in Sect. 20.2.2. Various authors (e.g. Yalom, 1995) have consistently identified catharsis, interpersonal learning (input) and cohesion as the most significant factors in the context of group psychotherapy. And the importance of each of these factors varies according to the situational dependence on the setting, the stage of development of the group and the individual needs and characteristics of the clients. These factors, together with the universality of suffering and interpersonal learning (output), are probably the most addressed factors in psychodrama. In a methodologically demanding study, Tschuschke and Dies (1994) demonstrated the importance of factors such as cohesion, self-disclosure, interpersonal learning (input) and re-enactment of the primary family. Grawe’s Therapeutic factors Klaus Grawe has analyzed thousands of evaluation studies and identified four therapeutic principles (see Grawe, Donati & Bernauer, 1998), which explain a large part of the empirically established effects of psychotherapy: Overview Common therapeutic principles according to Grawe, Donati and Bernauer • Activation of resources: focus on the client’s strengths and capacities, • Actualization of problems: making the topic more tangible for the client in the therapeutic setting, • Clarification: reconstructing the meanings which influence the patient’s experiences in relation to self and his environment, • Coping perspective: concrete support for the immediate change of a problematic situation, e.g. training programs.

A fourfold table (Table 20.1) enables the classification of different therapeutic methods on these four dimensions. For example, classical psychoanalysis focuses

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Table 20.1 Common factors of psychotherapy—according to Grawe Activation of resources Actualization of problems

Motivational clarification

(Active Help for) Problem solving

1 3

2 4

on actualization of problems and clarification and is therefore located in field 3. Most behavioral therapy methods (e.g. the different stimulus confrontation techniques), on the other hand, focus on actualization of problems, coping and competence acquisition and are therefore located in field 4. In relation to Grawe’s criteria, psychodrama places emphasis on all four fields. This can be attributed to the theory, the methodology as well as the practice of the method. The basic principle of psychodramatic surplus reality, the externalization of the client’s subjective reality, can be related to the dimension of actualization of problems in this classification. The psychodynamic orientation of psychodrama, which is often prevalent today, suggests placing psychodrama in field 3 (actualization of problems/clarification). On the other hand, Moreno himself understood psychodrama as a method of practice whose goals are related to the goals of behavioral therapy (Petzold, 1982), which would justify the allocation to field 4 (actualization of problems/problem solving). Furthermore, in psychodrama, the therapeutic relationship is explicitly designed as an important therapeutic factor. Grawe criticises that most therapeutic conceptions stress the importance of the relationship between client and therapist but give only abstract clues how this relationship could be fostered in practice. Psychodrama, however, does not stop at this point; instead, it provides a practical guideline for the design of this relationship with the concept of encounter as the central pillar of psychodrama theory (Sect. 14.2.2). In this way, the philosophy of psychodrama notably meets the demand of an empathic, appreciative and accepting relationship between the therapist and the client. It is because of the significance of the concept of encounter that psychodrama focuses on the dimension of “resource activation.” The focus on resources instead of problems is also central to the image of man in psychodrama. Therapeutic change happens through • the activation of positive forces such as spontaneity and creativity, which are inherent in everyone—including those with mental distress and • the activation of underutilized, positively filled roles from the client’s role repertoire. The psychodrama stage is about making the client’s resources tangible (field 1: resource activation/clarification) and integrating solutions through playful rehearsal (field 2: resource activation/problem solving). Table 20.2 presents the key aspects of psychodrama as per Grawe’s different dimensions.

20.2

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Table 20.2 Therapeutic factors of psychodrama as per Grawe’s common therapeutic factors Therapeutic factor

Psychodrama

Activation of resources Actualization of problems Motivational clarification Problem solving

Encounter, spontaneity, creativity, role theory Stage, auxiliary ego, psychodramatic arrangements and techniques Psychodynamic psychodrama, catharsis Role play, role training, reality test

Psychodrama participants’ perception of therapeutic factors Several studies have looked into the factors of psychodramatic treatment that were considered helpful by the clients. For example, Kellermann (1985) found insight, catharsis and personal learning to be particularly helpful. The following items received the highest ratings in the study by Kellermann (1987b): • • • • • • • • • •

Emotional re-enactment and expressing feelings from the past, Believing in the therapy method, Participating in others’ world and their participation in my world, Seeing things from a different perspective or in a new light, Expressing feelings vocally, verbally and physically, Releasing pent-up feelings, “Letting off steam,” Reducing emotional tensions that were trapped in me for a long time, Expressing pain from a traumatic event of the past, Recognizing something that I’ve known for a long time, but this time it “clicked” and I thought “aha!”

20.2.2 Specific Therapeutic Factors The Concept of Catharsis The first use of the concept of catharsis in a psychotherapeutic context is based on Freud’s “Studies on Hysteria” (Breuer & Freud, 2004). Freud hypothesized that drives and emotions require adequate expression; otherwise, they build up like steam in a pressure vessel. The cathartic drainage of emotions was the primary method in the early phase of the psychoanalytic treatment of hysteria. Later, Freud himself turned away from the idea of catharsis, and so, the status of this concept is still controversial. On the one hand, the curative effect of cathartic experience has in many cases been postulated and even proven by research to be an important mechanism of action in psychotherapy. Yalom is a prominent advocate of the concept of catharsis in group psychotherapy. Opponents of the concept of catharsis (e.g. Lewis & Bucher, 1992) point out the risks involved and insist on minimizing emotional abreaction. They

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argue that the relief brought about by an emotional abreaction is only temporary. In addition, the emotional expression (e.g. crying) does not necessarily reduce the emotion itself (e.g. sadness). Empirical research shows that emotional expression is an important therapeutic tool, but that the cathartic experience must also be supplemented by cognitive and verbal expressions in order to integrate it into the rest of the client’s thinking and feeling. Bohart (1977) compared four different therapeutic strategies for dealing with a painful event from the past: • • • •

Intellectual analysis, Expression of anger toward an imaginary person, Role-playing and A mere recall of the event.

The group that engaged in role play showed the most significant decrease in feelings of anger and the least willingness to punish another person. These findings indicate that both emotional expression and cognitive change are necessary to reduce anger and hostility (Bohart, 1980; see Bemak & Young, 1998). Catharsis in Psychodrama The psychodramatic understanding of catharsis takes into account the need for a broader, non-psychoanalytic model of the concept. The original concept of Katharsis in the ancient Greek drama theory—and not the Freudian conception—is the starting point for Moreno’s work on catharsis (Moreno, 1940, 1989). In the Aristotelian drama, the term catharsis refers not only to the protagonist’s expression of emotions, but also to a holistic experience, a “purification” (katharsis [Greek] = cleansing, purification) of feeling and understanding, which captures both, the players as well as the audience. Moreno’s multifaceted conception of catharsis is often only partially understood. The psychodrama literature distinguishes between two dimensions of catharsis. The abreaction catharsis is the culmination of a warming-up process: “[…] catharsis is the particular experience of release that occurs when a longstanding state of inner mobilization (warming up) finds its outlet in action” (Kellermann, 1986, p. 49), for example, when the protagonist expresses their anger toward an interaction partner. Unfortunately, one often associates psychodrama with the forced act of expressing emotions, in particular aggression. Ploeger (1990) reports about a play in Beacon, wherein the protagonist was encouraged to take action against his mother standing in front of a wall (embodied by an auxiliary ego). He battered sheets of metal with brute force and hurled verbal injurances toward the theatre wall. This form of psychodramatic work, which Ploeger (1990) calls “cathartic psychodrama” (which is a simplification considering the preceding remarks on the concept of catharsis), is problematic because in doing so (…) one does not actually deal with conflict in the psychodynamic sense, if we see conflict as incompatible, contradictory, unresolved emotions. In cathartic psychodramatic, on the contrary, the focus is on only one of the many feelings involved in the conflict, and the drive potential of this one feeling is translated into action. It is always

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about the emotional element that gives satisfaction in the external dimension of this conflict, i.e. toward the conflict partner from one’s childhood. However, the emotional conflict as such, an unresolved internalized and repressed tension in one’s own intrapsychic dynamics, does not get addressed. (Ploeger, 1990, p. 95, translation S.P.)

In this way, the protagonist’s defense against the recognition of one’s own share in the conflict is strengthened, and they displace their personal problem onto the devalued caregivers and build a psychosocial defense against the conflict partners. Krüger (1997, pp. 74 f.) also warns: Action does not simply refer to the acting in psychodrama, but to creative action, which combines one’s physical and linguistic action, perception, testing and design. Especially when it concerns the central/core conflicts of a patient or the therapist, psychodrama (with its techniques) is often unconsciously used for primary processes like wish fulfillment or mere energetic abreaction (…). (translation S.P.)

Abreaction as a primary or sole goal does not correspond to the spirit of psychodrama—in the words of Krüger (1989, p. 65): “At his own request, the inscription on Moreno’s tombstone reads: “Here lies the man who brought joy and laughter into psychiatry”. It does not say that he brought aggressive abreaction into psychiatry” (translation S.P.). The abreaction catharsis must therefore not stand alone, as is stressed again and again: We do not promote a mindless expression of emotion just for the sake of getting rid of it; rather, we attempt to create a “safe enough” clinical environment so anger that has been held within the self system can be felt, witnessed and understood. We look not necessarily only for an abreactive catharsis, but a catharsis of integration in which anger that has been split out of consciousness can be felt, comprehended both for what it was about and how it has affected the self system and relationships. The goal is one of reintegration with new insight and understanding. (Dayton, 2005, p. 50)

The integration catharsis is therefore the necessary supplement to the abreaction catharsis: What was previously expressed emotionally must now be integrated cognitively. This means, among other things, naming and classifying the expressed emotions, acquiring coping strategies and devising ways to redesign social relationships (Kellermann, 1986). In this context, Kellermann (1986, p. 55) quotes Freud’s dictum “Where Id is, there shall Ego be”. In psychodrama, the protagonist experiences (e.g., through the double technique, but especially in sharing) that he is not alone, but embedded in a social network with positive (tele) relationships. Blatner (1985, p. 162) describes this social dimension of the cathartic experience as a “spiritual/cosmic catharsis,” which also includes the group. Here again, there is a clear counterpoint to abreaction catharsis, as Moreno himself points out: “When the interaction is therapeutic, one can speak of an ‘integral catharsis’ in the group, as opposed to the abreactive, dissociative catharsis that is observed when Individuals remain isolated from one another” (Moreno, 1959, p. 65, translation S.P.). The tendency to “plan” catharsis as an integral part of every psychodramatic presentation is problematic, as may be suggested, for example, in Hollander’s psychodrama process model (Sect. 10.5.3). The goal of the leader/director is not to

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force a catharsis, but to facilitate the expression of the protagonist’s feelings, help them overcome resistance and encourage their spontaneity. “As a therapist, one can not make catharsis happen. It is a gift wherever it happens” (Krüger, 1989, p. 65, translation S.P.). If then strong emotions emerge during the play, the leader/director should focus on completing the unfinished act underlying these emotions and integrating the cathartic experience. Catharsis should not become an end in itself: While catharsis may have a substantial value in certain contexts it should not, then, become so cherished and romanticized that it achieves a functional autonomy, thereby becoming an end in itself rather that a means to an end. While emotional, cognitive, and actional release are central to the psychotherapeutic process, they are curative only in combination with other factors. (Kellermann, 1986, p. 55)

The results of a survey by Pennebaker (1990) are consistent with this postulate: 40 of the 50 respondents said that, from their point of view, the positive effects of therapy are not the result of expressing negative emotions, but a deeper understanding of their own self. According to Cornyetz (1947), catharsis is “… the starting point for the tasks of psychotherapy and not the endpoint” (p. 62). Important Catharsis is a crucial therapeutic factor in psychodrama, which reduces the abreaction of emotion and aggression by many folds. However, Moreno opposes this idea of a mere abreaction and considers catharsis to be an event which must integrate both emotional expression and cognitive processing. The significance of both these factors is substantiated with the findings of modern empirical research. Experiential Learning in Surplus Reality The concept of experiential learning is central to psychodrama, but so far not sufficiently explained. Based on the work of Lorenzer (2016) and the results of modern cognitive research, psychodrama assumes that fundamentally human experience takes place in the form of scenic experience: “Scenes are subjectively structured and experienced reality” (Petzold, 1981, p. 48, translation S.P.). The experienced scenes are—like Lorenzer’s “forms of interaction”—stored in the memory and thus basically organized in scenes: Every scene (…) that I perceive and enact gets engraved in me. (…) So I move from scene to scene, which is engraved on my body, anchored in my memory. The memory thus becomes an infinite reservoir of scenes: scenic memory. It archives my history as a story of spatial, temporal and social configurations (…). (Petzold, 1981, p. 48, translation S.P.)

A scene is represented as an intertwined ensemble of visual, auditory and olfactory memories, emotions, thoughts, etc., in the network of our memory. From an “entry point” (e.g. the memory of the smell at a certain vacation spot), one can also gain access to other memories related to the scene in question (the events in this place, the name of the hotel in which one lived, etc.). This form of memory

20.2

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organization is responsible, for example, for triggering memories of traumatic events through similar scenes. Autobiographical memory is essentially prelinguistic in nature; linguistic contents represent only a small and rather subordinate subaspect. Following Langer´s distinction of • “discursive,” linguistic symbols (“All language has a form which requires us to string out our ideas even though their objects rest one within the other”, Langer, 1954, p. 65 f.) versus • ‘representational” symbols (e.g. paintings and other works of art that reproduce this “nestedness” of objects in a non-linguistic way) we can assume that an important part of the human world of experience is more accessible through representational symbols than via a discursive approach. Therefore, predominantly language-based methods of counseling and therapy offer only limited access to the human experience. Experiential work pursues the claim to stimulate the non-linguistic aspects of human memory with its methodical instruments. To achieve this, the client should be stimulated beyond their verbal interaction with the leader/director on different levels of sensory and emotional experience. In this way, one should ideally address as many fragments of the memory of the original event as possible, which then activate the experience of the original scene and make it availble for editing and coping: The experiential methods of dramatic therapy (…) make it possible to (…) translate relevant details from one’s personal history into a tangible experience. The focus on such details evokes the past scene, allowing the background to come to the forefront, into the here and now: the present. (Petzold, 1981, p. 52, translation S.P.)

The body as the focus of the intervention is of particular importance insofar as the theory of experiential learning assumes the existence of a “body memory” that stores memories at a peripheral level: We activate our body memory and trigger emotional processes through the focused and conscious execution of postures and movements in therapy. Such embodiments are concentrated with sensations and experiences which would need many hours if they were to be processed using just the verbal approach. (Seidel, 1989, p. 198, translation S.P.)

Recently, the research branch of embodied cognition has reiterated the argument that psyche and the body cannot be separated from one another and substantiated it with research findings (e.g. Damasio, 1999, from the psychodramatic perspective Scorolli, 2019 or Schacht, 2017). In psychodrama, the experiential learning takes place in the psychodramatic surplus reality (Sect. 14.5) as a specific mode of rebuilding and redesigning the protagonist’s reality. This work in the surplus reality is relevant in different ways and therefore an important therapeutic factor of the psychodrama method (Fig. 20.1.)

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Fig. 20.1 Production and interpretation of symbols in psychodramatic surplus reality

Therapeutic Factors in Psychodrama

I Protagonist’s Inner Reality

a

Symbol production

b

Symbol interpretation

II Surplus Reality on a symbolic level

Surplus Reality as a Construction of Meaning The concept of Surplus Reality offers a starting point for a model of psychodrama based on constructivism and symbol theory. From the point of view of constructivism (cf. Fosnot, 2005), our reality is not an expression of passively received sensory data, but an active construction. However, we construct not only our environment, but also ourselves. It seems to be a basic human need be to construct our reality in such a way that it makes “sense” for us (for the constructivist concept of meaning cf. Luhmann, 1995). This does not only apply to the image that someone makes of his environment but also to the image he makes of himself. Our self-image contains personality traits, values and ideals, experiences, beliefs, etc., and we usually endeavor to combine these elements of our self-image in such a way that, in our eyes, they form a “gestalt”, a consistent whole, a perceptible identity. We develop strong bonds with this image of our identity. If questioned by internal or external events, we fit these events into the existing picture of ourselves as much as possible. If this fails, we feel uncomfortable or even get into an “identity crisis”. As we can see from the example of depressive disorders, people may even be more inclined to hold onto a negative self-image than to question the image that they have made of themselves. While concepts of identity are on the one hand very individual, on the other hand their relation to supra-individual systems of meaning is often of crucial importance: People give their lives meaning by referring to ethical principles, cultural traditions, religious belief systems or by defining themselves as members of social groups. Identity thus consists in the entirety of meaningful references within the personality of a person, but also in the entirety of references that connect the individual with “larger”, super-individual context of meaning. The psychodramatic surplus reality depicts these meaning structures in the form of scenic arrangements in order to reconstruct subjectively given meaning and to create new meaning contents.

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Surplus Reality as Symbol Creation and Interpretation Susanne Langer (1954) considers symbols to be the key to spiritual life. Certain aspects of human existence, if one agrees with Hülst (1999), can only be expressed through symbols. A certain category of basic questions relating to human existence can be represented solely by symbolization. These include phenomena such as fear of the unknown or disorder, “borderline experiences”, life, death, sense of existence, concepts of oneself or of self-identity, but also all social relationships [...]: relatives, belonging, superordination and subordination, habits, institutionalized forms of behavior, trust etc. All such terms, for which only an excerpt is named here as an example, designate concepts or mental constructs that [...] cannot be observed or perceived immediately. [...] symbols represent something that cannot be expressed in any other way (p. 362 f., translation FvA).

The symbolism of the protagonist’s reality can be seamlessly translated into the psychodramatic surplus reality. The psychodramatic scene is particularly suitable as a medium for the reconstruction of meaning due to the symbolic character of surplus reality: elements of meaning from the reality of the protagonist are converted into a symbol scene, which in turn has an effect on the protagonist’s creation of meaning (cf. Fig. 20.1). Important Symbols are a central medium of human identity. The psychodramatic surplus reality activates this symbolic level and thus enables to reconstruct and redesign the meaningful elements of the protagonist’s reality. The experiential effects of psychodrama might stem the fact that symbolic action in surplus reality activates a specific information processing mode in the sense of integrating analog and digital, conscious and unconscious processes. This assumption is supported by the finding that psychodrama can facilitate the retrieval of autobiographical memory content.

20.3

Summary

The therapeutic factors of psychodrama are neither formulated theoretically nor researched empirically to satisfaction. However, few of the methodologically robust studies suggest that psychodrama can certainly compete with alternative methods both in clinical and non-clinical contexts. The following are among the most commonly known therapeutic factors of psychodrama: • A change of perspective achieved through role change or role reversal, combined with an increase in empathy, • Catharsis, which is considered to play an important role in coping with stressful emotional experiences,

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• The therapeutic relationship between the leader/director and the client, which is particularly the focus of psychodramatic concepts of encounter and tele. In our opinion, the experiential learning in psychodramatic surplus reality is a significant therapeutic factor with regards to the construction of meaning and the retrieval of memory. Further in-depth theoretical and empirical research on the therapeutic factors of psychodrama is imperative in strengthening psychodrama’s position in the competition between all therapeutic and counseling methods.

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Petzold, H. (1981). Integrative Dramatherapie—Überlegungen und Konzepte zu einem integrativen Ansatz erlebnisaktivierender Therapie. Integrative Therapie, 1, 46–61. Petzold, H. (1982). Behaviourdrama als verhaltenstherapeutisches Rollenspiel. In ders. (Hrsg.), Dramatische Therapie: neue Wege der Behandlung durch Psychodrama, Rollenspiel, therapeutisches Theater (219–233). Stuttgart: Hippokrates. Pilkey, L., Goldman, M., & Kleinman, B. (1961). Psychodrama and empathic ability in the mentally retarded. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 65, 595–605. Ploeger, A. (1990). Heilfaktoren im Psychodrama. In H. Lang (Ed.), Wirkfaktoren der Psychotherapie (pp. 86–97). Berlin: Springer. Rudokaite, D., & Indriuniene, V. (2019). Effectiveness of psychodrama for mitigating school fears among senior secondary school students. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 18(2), 369–385. Sarbin, T. R., & Jones, D. S. (1955). An experimental analysis of role behavior. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 236–241. Schacht, M. (2017). Psychodrama und Embodiment. Die Einheit von Körper, Geist und Szene. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 16(2), 335–347. Schneider-Düker, M. (1989). Rollenwahl und Gruppenentwicklung im Psychodrama. Eine empirische Untersuchung an Therapie- und Selbsterfahrungsgruppen. Gruppendynamik, 20(3), 259–272. Schramski, T. G., Feldman, C. A., Harvey, D. R., & Holiman, M. (1984). A comparative evaluation of group treatments in an adult correctional facility. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama and Sociometry, 36(4), 133–147. Scorolli, A. (2019). Re-enacting the Bodily Self on Stage: Embodied Cognition Meets Psychoanalysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, Article 492. Download unter https://www. researchgate.net/publication/332236097_Re-enacting_the_Bodily_Self_on_Stage_Embodied_ Cognition_Meets_Psychoanalysis (Abruf 3.10.2019). Seidel, U. (1989). Psychodrama ohne Gruppe. Basistechniken in der Einzelarbeit. Psychodrama, 2, 193–205. Testoni, I., Bonelli, B., Biancalani, G., Zuliani, L., & Nava, F.A. (2020). Psychodrama in attenuated custody prison-based treatment of substance dependence: The promotion of changes in wellbeing, spontaneity, perceived self-efficacy, and alexithymia. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 68, Article 101650. Truax, C. B. (1961). A scale for the measurement of accurate empathy. Psychiatric Institute Bulletin, 1, 12. University of Wisconsin: Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute. Tschuschke, V., & Anbeh, T. (2004). Therapieeffekte ambulanter Psychodrama-Gruppenbehandlung—Ergebnisse der PAGE-Studie. Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 3(1), 85–94. Tschuschke, V., & Anbeh, T. (2007). Ambulante Gruppenpsychotherapie. Stuttgart: Schattauer. Tschuschke, V., & Dies, R. R. (1994). Intensive analysis of therapeutic factors and outcome in long-term psychotherapy. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 44, 185–208. Wang, Q., Ding, F., Chen, D., Zhang, X., Shen, K., Fan, Y., & Li, L. (2020). Intervention effect of psychodrama on depression and anxiety: A meta-analysis based on Chinese samples. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 69, Article 101661 Wieser, M. (2007). Studies on treatment effects of psychodrama therapy. In C. Baim, J. Burmeister, & M. Maciel (Eds.), Psychodrama: Advances in theory and practice (pp. 271–292). London: Routledge. Wood, D., Del Nuovo, A., Bucky, S. F., Schein, S., & Michalik, M. (1979). Psychodrama with an alcohol abuser population. Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama and Sociometry, 32, 75–88. Yalom, I. D. (1995). Theory and practice of group psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books.

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Further Reading Stadler, C., Wieser, M., & Kirk, K. (Ed.). (2016). Psychodrama. Empirical Research and Science 2 (325 pages). Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Also published as Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, 15, Sup. 1. (Anthology with 19 current contributions (8 of them in English) on psychodrama research, especially in the fields of research methodology, clinical research on psychodrama with adults, children and adolescents, and psychodrama research in education and training as well as supervision).

Glossary

Action Phase The action phase follows the ! warm-up phase. It deals with the protagonist's concerns or the group’s topic in a scenic manner. The following are the important steps of this phase: exploration of topic, clarification of contract, opening and setting of the stage, occupation of auxiliary ego roles, action, discharging auxiliary ego roles and dismantling the stage. See Chap. 10 and Page 135 Action sociometry In action sociometry, members group themselves according to a certain criterion thereby making group structures (attraction versus repulsion, similarities, subgroups, coalitions, norms, etc.) visible. The criterion “extent of experience with psychodrama” can, for example, be represented as a chain in which the participant with the least experience is the first link, while the one with the most experience is the last link. See Chaps. 2, 4, 7, 15 and Page 12, 45, 48, 49, 102, 234 Arrangement Buer introduced this term to describe methodological elements that determine the form in which the protagonist’s or group’s reality is made visible and tangible. Typical psychodramatic arrangements include ! action sociometry, ! future projection or the ! magic shop. See Chaps. 4, 7, 10 and Page 29, 32, 37, 54, 105, 151 Auxiliary ego This term is used in the protagonist-centered psychodrama to describe participants who embody absent interaction partners. See Chaps. 2, 3, 5, 10, 11 and Page 14, 15, 21, 23, 77, 153, 154, 167, 169 Axiodrama Moreno uses the term axiodrama to refer to the active implementation of values. One could therefore refer to a ! theme-centered psychodrama on the issue of abortion as axiodramatic work. According to Moreno, the life of Jesus or Buddha is some of the classic examples of axiodramas “in situ.”

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Catharsis This term has origins in the Greek drama theory, where the identification with the protagonists of a dramatic performance has a cathartic effect on the audience. Moreno believes that the impact of psychodrama is mainly a result of this catharsis, which affects not only the protagonist, but also the participants as well as the audience. See Chap. 5, 10, 20 and Page 73, 148, 311, 315, 316, 318 “Central idea” of the director See process step Constellation The purpose of the constellation work is to explore the tensions, conflict potentials, development perspectives, etc. in a system (e.g. a family) and to develop solutions on this basis. For this purpose, the elements of the system (e.g. members of a family) are grouped together around the member of the system who introduced the topic in a manner that it is line with that member’s perception. On the basis of the perceptions and impulses of change arising in different roles, the constellation is then rearranged to resolve the existing tensions as far as possible. The psychodramatic constellation work combines classical psychodramatic approaches and techniques with developments from systemic therapy and counseling. See Chaps. 2, 4, 10 and Page 16, 30, 36, 37, 38, 151 Contract The contract is usually a verbal agreement between the leader/director as the service provider and the customer (e.g. the HR department of a company or the client themselves) as a service user. This contract defines the objectives of the process as well as some important contextual conditions (like fee, time budget, etc.). See Chaps. 3, 8, 10, 16 and Page 25, 115, 118, 121, 141, 248, 253 Creativity For Moreno, creativity is the “primordial substance” that underlies all constructive processes in the universe. Together with spontaneity - the “catalyst,” it is responsible for the emergence of organic life, childlike play, adult problem solving and other phenomena. Among other things, psychodrama should encourage spontaneity in order to enable the development of creative solutions for the purpose of adaptation. See Chaps. 2, 10, 13, 14 and Page 11, 151, 185, 194, 195, 197 Cultural conserve According to Moreno’s theory of creativity, cultural conserves are the end product in the cycle of creative action. The creative process of composing leads, for example, to a piece of music in the form of an elaborate score. This piece becomes a cultural conserve and loses its creative value if it is constantly reproduced anew. However, cultural conserves can also be the starting point for new creative processes, such as, when a conductor or musician reinterprets the notes. See Chap. 14 and Page 195, 197 Double In the classical variant of the double technique, a participant or the leader/director place themselves behind the ! protagonist and express those thoughts or feelings from his role (i.e. in the “I” form) which they believe are present in the protagonist but are not being expressed by him. Exploratory questions or interpretations can also be offered in other forms of the double. The

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double is an offer for reflection and an expression of compassionate understanding for the protagonist. See Chaps. 4–6, 10, 16, 17 and Page 30, 67–77, 81, 84, 92, 156, 250, 266 Encounter Moreno's concept of encounter is the guiding concept for the relationship between all those involved in psychodrama. Encounter is based not only on mere interaction or communication, but on existential relationships that involve an “intuitive exchange of roles.”. See Chap. 7, 13, 14, 19 and Page 99, 182, 183, 198, 200, 201, 301 Empty chair Empty chairs are often used in psychodrama as a substitute for the auxiliary ego, for example, in individual settings, sculpture work, or in situations where the role in question is so negative that it should not be played by a participant. See Chaps. 4–6, 9, 10, 20 and Page 34, 65, 88, 126, 153, 309 Future projection In this arrangement, future scenes are staged in the here-and-now of the surplus reality to explore the future implications of present-day decisions, or to test their suitability for previously devised solutions. See Chaps. 4, 10, 14 and Page 31, 54, 151, 217 Group-centered psychodrama Group-centered psychodrama is not about an individual, but about structures and dynamics that are the focus of a group. The goal may be to strengthen group cohesion, work on sociometric structures, reflect on norms, deal with conflicts, etc. See Chap. 9 and Page 131 Identification feedback The identification feedback is an optional component of the ! integration phase. Here, the group members talk about their identification (that occurred during the protagonist play) with different roles. See Chap. 6, 11 and Page 93, 171 Impromptu play In impromptu play, the group is simply given a rough scenario; the group members can then choose their own roles within this scenario and enact them in free interaction. The impromptu play helps encourage spontaneity and creativity in the participants and also serves as a group-centric play to uncover and analyze group structures. See Chaps. 4, 7, 13 and Page 42, 44, 54, 98, 105, 108, 111, 185, 186 Integration phase The integration phase follows the ! action phase. In a protagonist-centered play, it includes ! sharing, ! role feedback and if necessary ! identification feedback (modifications are necessary when working in group settings). The goal is to integrate the various role warm-ups (protagonist, antagonist, other auxiliaries, spectators) after a play. Furthermore, the integration phase helps the protagonist gain some strength offered the group as well as discovers further possibilities to deepen their topic. See Chaps. 2, 6, 7, 10–12, 20 and Page 15, 92, 108, 163, 167, 171, 173, 313 Magic shop The magic shop is mainly used during the warm-up phase. In this arrangement, one (by the leader/director) or more magic shops (by the group members) are set up on the stage, and the participants are invited to exchange

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personality traits, virtues and other non-material qualities. The magic shop helps reflect on one’s own values, strengths and weaknesses. See Chaps. 4, 5, 9 and Page 50, 54, 57, 127 Maximization The various maximization techniques of psychodrama are based on the exaggeration of the elements present in the dynamics of the scene. A maximization exists, for example, when the protagonist's dominant antagonist stands on a chair and continues to play from there. See Chaps. 4, 5, 7 and Page 30, 69, 80, 81, 108 Mirror In the mirror technique, the protagonist is replaced by a ! stand-in, the scene is then replayed as the protagonist and the director watch the action from the edge of the stage. This distant outside position helps the protagonist recognize aspects that would not be accessible to them from the inside. See Chaps. 2–6, 10, 14 and Page 14, 23, 30, 31, 39, 40, 44, 64, 69, 77, 82, 84, 92, 154, 156, 211 Monologue In this verbalization technique, the protagonist expresses their thoughts and feelings—that were not expressed in the situation to be enacted—in the form of a monologue. See Chaps. 5, 17 and Page 58, 265 Organizational constellation See constellation Playback In playback, the group enacts a scene from the protagonist’s life keeping in mind his/her specifications. The protagonist sits as a “director” on the edge of the stage or in the auditorium and looks at what is happening from there. The possibility of emotional distance created in the playback is, for example, important for the treatment of traumatic situations. See Chaps. 4, 16 and Page 44, 249 Process analysis Previous psychodramatic events are analyzed together in process analysis. For example, how did the director’s hypotheses or group dynamic mechanisms influence the play? Here, one ought to reflect on one’s own contribution to the outcome of the play and contrast it with other possible approaches. In practice, process analysis is often heavily modified or omitted. See Chaps. 3, 4, 10, 15 and Page 25, 53, 162, 232 Process objective Process objectives are goals that are methodically defined by the leader/director defines on the basis of diagnostic considerations in order to achieve the protagonist’s goal. For example, the resolution of a conflict (contextual goal) requires a deeper understanding of the conflict partner (process objective). Such a deeper understanding can be achieved in psychodrama, for example, through role reversal (! process step). See Chap. 10 and Page 145 Process step These are methodical steps that the leader/director and protagonist must undertake together in order to achieve the protagonist’s goal. They are derived from the ! process objectives and are connected in succession by the “central idea” of the director. See Chap. 10 and Page 147

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Protagonist In “classical” psychodrama, a protagonist is someone who presents their request, which is then worked on by the entire group. The protagonist not only enacts their play but also represents the group, as other members benefit through identification and modeling. See Chaps. 1–4, 9, 10 and Page 3, 6, 14, 21, 25, 54, 131, 153, 154 Reality test If the protagonist has developed a solution to a problematic situation in psychodrama, the situation can be enacted on stage in the psychodramatic reality test in order to test the feasibility of the solution that has been worked out. See Chap. 4 and Page 32, 33, 52 Role The role theory is one of Moreno’s achievements. It functions as an important diagnostic and normative model in psychodrama. Moreno's role concept describes a socioculturally predetermined behavior pattern that has a certain scope for individual creativity. Each person plays different roles in different contexts, which together make up his identity: The self arises from roles. Individual behavior in general and in social contexts, in particular, is therefore always also a product of an interaction between role and complementary role. See Chaps. 1, 4, 5, 11, 14, 20 and Page 4, 30, 31, 59, 169, 205, 309 Role change When changing roles, person A (e.g. the protagonist) takes on role B, while the change from B to A is not executed. This is usually the case, for example, in individual settings where one works with the empty chair instead of auxiliaries. See Chaps. 5, 6, 10, 14 and Page 59, 88, 89, 153, 211 Role feedback In the role feedback that follows the play, the auxiliaries give feedback to the protagonist about how they felt in their role and how the protagonist's behavior affected them in this role. Role feedback is an integral part of the ! integration phase in present-day psychodrama. See Chaps. 2, 3, 5, 6, 11 and Page 15, 25, 78, 83, 93, 169, 171 Role reversal When reversing roles, person A (e.g. the protagonist) takes the role of person B (e.g. his sister) and vice versa. The role reversal can be made with individuals present in real (e.g. in couple counseling) or with ! auxiliaries who represent the absent person. The goal of role reversal is to improve empathy with the role in question or to learn to look at the situation from a new perspective. See Chaps. 1–6, 10, 11, 14 and Page 10, 14, 23, 54, 59, 84, 89, 156, 169, 201 Role training Role training involves the practice of new possibilities of enacting roles on stage. The group, the leader/director or the protagonist themselves can make suggestions for these new options. Role training finds applications in psychotherapy, as well as in schools or companies for their in-house seminars and trainings. See Chaps. 4, 10 and Page 31, 151 Sharing A psychodrama is followed by sharing at the end where the group members tell the protagonist which aspects of their topic they could relate to on the basis of their own experiences. Thus, the protagonist experiences that they

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are not alone, and that others can understand their situation. Sharing is an integral part of the ! integration phase. See Chaps. 2, 3, 5, 11 and Page 15, 25, 82, 168–171 Slow motion This is an action technique that slows down the speed of action on stage, to make processes that are fast-moving (e.g. escalating conflicts) more tangible and reflective or to create distancing possibilities through alienation. See Chaps. 5, 7, 10, 16 and Page 80, 106, 160, 246 Social Atom This term, coined by Moreno, refers on the one hand to a theoretical concept—the network of relationships between an individual and his attachment figures—and, on the other hand, to a technique for understanding this structure. See Chaps. 2, 9, 14, 15 and Page 13, 15, 127, 129, 202, 207, 235 Sociodrama Sociodrama serves to explore and transform the reality of a social system such as a group, an organization or a section of society (socio …) with the means of scenic action (… drama). Depending on the issue, one can use group-centered, topic-centered and/or the sociocultural sociodrama. In one part of psychodrama literature, the term “sociodrama” refers only to the sociocultural sociodrama. Moreno designed sociodrama as an instrument for reflection and transformation of social communities and it is therefore closely related to ! sociometry. See Chaps. 2, 7, 9, 13 and Page 16, 95, 131, 185 Sociocultural sociodrama Sociocultural sociodrama is used in group settings to address the sociocultural dimension in the individual’s experience and action. It is used, among other things, in political work to uncover and reflect on the prevalent stereotypes and prejudices. See Chap. 7 and Page 96, 98, 109 Sociometry Sociometry is the third pillar of Moreno's system of thought alongside psychodrama and group psychotherapy. It aims to measure of group structures, whereby the objective is not only to gain scientific knowledge, but also to change the diagnostic system with the goal of a better coexistence. See Chap. 9, 13–15, 18 and Page 132, 177, 183, 214, 225, 226, 285 Sociometric test The sociometric test measures the relationships in a group with respect to a particular criterion. A prototypical sociometric test involves collaboratively defining the criteria (e.g. “Who is helpful to me in collaboration?”), recording the polls using questionnaires, evaluating them and reporting the results to the group. See Chap. 14, 15 and Page 199, 215, 229 Spontaneity For Moreno, spontaneity is the “primordial catalyst” that drives all the creative processes in the universe. Spontaneous actions ought to be novel but appropriate to the situation and therefore lead to creative solutions for existing problems. Encouraging spontaneity and dissolving blockades are among the important goals of psychodrama. See Chaps. 4, 10, 13, 14, and Page 43, 49, 51, 151, 185, 194, 195, 197, 208

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Stage n the narrower sense, the term refers to the physical space for action in psychodrama. In most cases, this is not a theater stage, but a part of the group space defined by the circle of group members. In the wider sense, the stage is the symbolic world of action, which serves as a medium in making the inner world of the protagonist or the group more concrete and tangible. See Chaps. 3, 10 and Page 19, 20,136, 152 Stand-in An auxiliary ego that represents the protagonist in certain play situations (especially during the psychodramatic ! mirror). See Chaps. 3–6, 10, 17 and Page 23, 44, 64, 77, 92, 154, 268 Surplus reality A psychodramatic play aims to re-enact experienced reality, but it is not the experienced reality in itself. Instead, it is enacted in an intermediate realm of experience referred to as surplus reality. The surplus reality is a symbolic world of action, an external equivalent of the protagonist’s inner reality, which in turn has an effect on their inner reality. It is the constituent feature that distinguishes psychodrama from other methods as well as the central impact factor in psychodrama. See Chaps. 1, 3–7, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20 and Page 4, 8, 20, 31, 36, 38–40, 52, 54, 58, 79, 92, 93, 102, 103, 105, 154, 183, 216, 218, 249, 268, 314, 318, 320 Systemic constellation See constellation Tele Moreno assumes that there exist elemental forces of attraction and repulsion between people which are for example, responsible for the quality of relationships and the emergence of group cohesion. He refers to them as Tele. According to Moreno, positive tele is associated with complete mutual awareness of the other person's thinking and feeling—Moreno speaks of “two-way” empathy as opposed to the one-sided empathy. See Chap. 14 and Page 198–204 Theme-centered psychodrama The topic-centered psychodrama is used in group settings to work on a common subject matter. An example of a topic-centered psychodrama is the arrangement of the live newspaper, in which the group members reenact day-to-day events from newspaper articles in order to experience and reflect on the dynamics of the topic. See Page 327 Time lapse An action technique that increases the speed of action on stage to bridge long time intervals that are irrelevant for the topic. See Chaps. 4, 5, 7, 16 and Page 32, 43, 80, 81, 108, 246 Vignette Short protagonist play usually consisting of a single scene. See Chap. 4 and Page 30 Warm-up Moreno assumes that any intense personal work requires a cognitive, emotional and physical warm-up. The ! warm-up phase is therefore an integral part of the psychodramatic process. The intense engagement with a topic warms up all participants, for example, through the auxiliary egos’ identify with their roles or when the audience is reminded of similar experiences through the

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protagonist’s topic. In some situations, such effects of warm-up processes may need to be addressed before the session is closed. See Chaps. 2, 4, 7, 10, 19 and Page 13, 31, 32, 44, 48, 50, 107, 142, 302 Warm-up phase The warm-up phase helps prepare participants for a play on all— emotional, cognitive and physical—levels. It also helps identify important topics and reduce inhibitions. There are a number of specific psychodramatic arrangements available for this purpose, and however, the warm-up phase can also be structured along with other non-psychodramatic methods. See Chaps. 2– 4, 6 and Page 13, 25, 48, 88