This is a series of article about the Action Method of Psychodrama by Sharmini Winslow.
“Reverse roles!”, the group leader shouted, and two people switched roles on stage and began enacting the opposite part. I was in the middle of my first Psychodrama workshop and all seemed chaotic and yet pleasantly therapeutic. What was going on? My desire to explore psychodrama had brought me here to a large room with a group leader and several very friendly people. Soon I was learning the ropes and I tried to make sense of things. 7 years later, I am still held captive by the magic of psychodrama.
Often people ask me,”what is Psychodrama?”, and I ask if they have 10 minutes to listen. It is a therapeutic action method that usually is done in groups. So here is a short description that will suffice for now.
Psychodrama, is the brainchild of Dr J.L. Moreno. It comes from two words, Psycho and drama. Psycho (not like in the movie where someone slashes you in the shower with a knife), is derived from the word ‘psyche’ which means the mental or psychological structure of a person. Drama refers to the enactment or action that happens in the session.
There are 5 instruments in Psychodrama
In the group, the therapist or group leader takes on this role and keeps the action flowing and gives structure to what evolves on the stage.
This can be any space set aside for the enactments to occur. In a group, the stage is the space apart from where group members are seated. Moreno built a stage in New York specifically for psychodrama which had the audience seated at a different level. I had the privilege of directing a drama on the original stage.
These are the group members who are not involved in the drama but who act as witnesses and can respond to the action on stage as a normal audience would, often yelling encouragement to the protagonist.
This is the person who represents the main concerns of the group. Usually chosen by the group, the Protagonist gets to put into action a concern, a challenge or an event that they would like to have turned out differently. In psychodrama, past, future and present can coexist in the Here and Now.
The Auxiliary or sometimes called the Auxiliary Ego is the group member chosen to be a certain element or person in the drama, for example the protagonist’s Sister or maybe their addiction.
Each session has a warm up, an enactment phase and time for sharing. In the sharing segment, group members get to share something about their own lives that is connected to the drama.
So in Psychodrama the protagonist’s inner world gets “‘concretized” or made real, and the Director helps the Protagonist explore and work spontaneously to create new ways of being that are more helpful in living with whatever challenge was enacted. New perspectives are discovered; insights and conclusions made that bring healing and newness. The Protagonist and group members experience the wonder of being spontaneous and are positively energized!
*Psychodrama is used in group sessions run by Sharmini as part of her practice at Promises.
At Promises Healthcare, we are committed to helping you through your journey to recovery. Discover a new life and find renewed hope. Please contact our clinic today if you or someone you know needs mental health support.
Have you ever wondered why it’s so tough to stick to your new year’s resolutions? According to Statistics Brain Research Institute, only 9.2% of Americans feel like they have achieved their resolutions in the past year. Here are some strategies from psychologist and behaviour change expert, Dr Paul Marciano, and the American Psychological Association to help you with sticking to your resolutions this year.
Set realistic resolutions
Most of us are guilty of making impractical resolutions that we can’t keep. For example, we aim to exercise more regularly, from barely going to the gym once a week, to aiming for seven days. Instead of setting unrealistic resolutions, you can try starting with something that’s small, practical and within your abilities. Rather than aiming for seven days of exercise, you could start with three or four. Josh Klapow, an Alabama-based clinical psychologist says, “It is far better to succeed at a smaller, more manageable resolution than to fail at a larger, loftier one.”
Bad habits develop over time. Similarly, it also takes time to substitute bad habits for good ones. When making resolutions, we often overestimate ourselves and try to re-evaluate our lives. We have to accept that development is rarely consistent and aim to change one behaviour at a time. Hence, having the patience to work through on resolution at a time will help you stick to them.
Talk about your goals
Having support from your social group is vital. Sharing your goals with friends and family increases the chances of success. Rather than trying to achieve your goal alone, you could join a fitness class at a gym, join a support group to quit smoking, or even just have someone to check in on your progress (accountability partner). Having social support and people to share successes and failures will make the process less daunting.
Resilience is vital in achieving your resolutions. When you slip-up and get discouraged, it is important to remember that it’s impossible to achieve perfection. Just because you were busy and didn’t manage to go for your gym classes doesn’t mean that you have failed and should give up your goal to be fit. What is critical is to bounce back from your mistakes and continue to work towards your goal. According to founder of MoneyCrashers, Andrew Schrage, it is useful to set targets throughout the year, so that you can keep yourself in check and your momentum going.
When you’re feeling overpowered when trying to achieve your resolutions, it is important to remember people who can listen and care for you. Seeking professional help can reinforce your resilience and manage stress stemming from your resolution. For example, a psychologist can suggest ways for you to fine-tune your goals to make them more achievable.
Make your resolutions more precise
Dr. Marciano recommends setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals. Instead of just setting a goal to lose weight, you should be more specific and aim for a particular weight or body-fat percentage goal, or allocate a time every day to go for a run.
Track your development
Reflecting on your starting point and the developments you have made creates feedback loops. This allows you to track improvements during your endeavour and it will be an incentive to continue. It also enables you to reflect and adjust your strategies accordingly when you’re declining or when you’re not improving as much.
Set aside time for your goals
Allocate time for your resolutions and make them a priority by putting them on your schedule. This way, you won’t have the excuse of not being able to find the time to complete something. If you’re trying to get fit, block out certain hours of the day to complete your run or schedule certain fitness classes into your calendar. Treating your fitness classes or runs as though they are scheduled appointments can help you stick to them.
At Promises Healthcare, we are committed to help you through your journey to recovery. Discover a new life and find renewed hope. If you or someone you know needs mental health support, please contact our clinic for inquiries and consultations.