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Six keywords in psychodrama and sociometry
Psychodrama is an independent psychosocial method concerning
the constructive shaping and structuring of group processes.
Unmistakable characteristics are firstly the process-oriented
relationship work in the group and secondly the work
on and with scenes, which are represented ? on the stage,
and which are together interpreted and changed. Even
when for psychodramatists ? Soziometry is just as important
as psychodrama, the concept of "psychodrama"
has gained common acceptance as the title for psychodramatical
and sociometrical work.
Even though psychodrama can be used with individuals,
the group forms the heart of psychodramatic work. Perhaps
the most brilliant idea of Morenos was to understand
that groups are stronger than individuals and that consequently
it is in the group where reality can be addressed. The
dynamics of the group are used in psychodrama to specifically
and systematically confront existing problems and questions,
to set in motion the processes of change and to discover
and test solutions. In Morenos eyes, mutual help is
the ideal way to improve a situation.
The psychodramatical process of the group is dependant
on the experiences which the individual group members
bring with them. Again and again the process focuses
on a point where individual life-experiences become
the centre of attention. A group member then becomes
the protagonist and shows on stage what happened to
him. Psychodrama has a rich pallet of methods, to enable
better understanding of important situations in mutual
"play". Every play ends with the protagonist
having the experience that there is no situation where
one is quite alone. Simultaneously, the other group
members experience that in every scene there is a core
subject from which they also profit.
Next to the group, the stage is the most important work-place
in psychodrama. This is not generally an actual theatre
stage, but simply the place is there where psychodrama
is played out. It is the place where a better understanding
of situations is achieved. It is the magnifying glass
of psychodramatical work. In all it's facets a scene
can be investigated, understood and shaped on the stage.
Moreno speaks of a "Surplus-Reality" which
evolves on the stage. There it is possible to take on
roles which are unattainable in normal everyday life.
There it is possible to be a queen, or a crocodile.
I can meet the dead on the stage, see my future or confront
my weaker inner self… All this makes the stage
an incalculably valuable analytical instrument and a
space without boundaries for discovering good solutions.
A human being is never isolated. He is always bound
into relations and relationship networks. These networks
can support, protect or impede – but they always
determine our life. Nevertheless, most people know frighteningly
little about these relationship networks. Because Moreno
understood this, he was able to develop tools to make
these relationships visible. Using the tools of sociometry,
psychodrama helps to make visible the closeness and
distance, sympathy, antipathy or indifference, repulsion
and attraction that exists between people. It is clear
from everyday experience that relations can only be
changed when they are properly understood. And: People
live more happily if they can learn to actively shape
their relationship networks.
Because Moreno identified foci and central mechanisms
of human life with stunning intuition, he was able to
build a very flexible and practical method from psychodrama
and sociometry. It does not matter if it is a professional
or private situation or whether the task is therapy
or training, advice or supervision. The questioning
of important relationships and the understanding of
key situations after the interaction and individual
experiences of those involved is always relevant. Psychodrama
is accordingly used by all psycho-social professions.
It is used in schools and in self-experience, in consultation
and advice contexts,
in personal and organisational development, in practical
work and supervision, in the fields of education and
social work, in the jurisdiction of family matters and
in innumerable other forms. Thus it is now an easy task
to adapt psychodrama to new fields and to investigate
challenging situations psychodramatically.