Psychodrama is a form of group therapy developed in the 1920s, providing the opportunity to explore life situations from the perspectives of the present, past, and future.
The psychodrama therapist will draw on the group’s energy and spontaneity to explore the protagonist’s situation; how past experiences have influenced the protagonist, how these will shape the protagonist’s future, and so on. Using this creative method and the support of the group, themes from the past can be explored, reviewed, and understood from a broader perspective.
J L Moreno, the developer of psychodrama called it the “scientific exploration of truth through dramatic method”. It offers clients a safe space to explore major life themes, new solutions to challenges, and new perspectives.
A typical psychodrama session will typically involve a director, a stage area, and participants. The therapist is usually the director, facilitating the session and encouraging participants to share how they related to the session and what they learnt.
Typical psychodrama techniques include role reversal, doubling (a group member will replicate the behaviour of the protagonist), mirroring, and soliloquy.
Psychodrama can address most mental health concerns such as depression, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, self-harm, addiction, relationship issues, and family difficulties.
The main difference between psychodrama and dramatherapy is that psychodrama identifies a specific protagonist with a specific issue with whom the therapist works directly, maintaining focus on this problem throughout the session. In contract, dramatherapy can work in a way that offers the client distance from the dilemma, making it easier to perceive the issue from a different angle.