Psychodrama: A Unique Way to Solve Problems

Psychodrama is type of therapy that uses theatrics as its primary tool. Children, adults, and seniors can participate in this type of therapy. It can allow you to get in touch with the deepest parts of yourself and face what overwhelms you. It’s a very creative way to solve your problems.
Psychodrama: A Unique Way to Solve Problems

Last update: 02 November, 2018

Psychodrama is a type of therapy that seeks to solve problems through theatrical demonstration. The therapist analyses the participants’ performances to determine the correct course of action. Jacob Levy Moreno, a Romanian psychiatrist, came up with the idea that it was therapeutic to act out what happens to us. In this article, we’ll explore how this can help you solve problems.

“Life is a play that does not allow testing. So, sing, cry, dance, laugh, and live intensely, before the curtain closes and the piece ends with no applause.”

-Charlie Chaplin-

Patients in group therapy session.

What is psychodrama?

Psychodrama is used in psychotherapy as a way for patients to solve their issues. It can be applied to individuals, couples, families, and other groups. It all depends on the patient and the therapist. This form of intervention usually follows this process:

  • Warm-up. In this first stage of psychodrama, the participants perform exercises to familiarize themselves with the process. This gives them an awareness from the start.
  • Dramatization. The patient is encouraged to visually explain the problem they have. The patient can act it out or choose someone to act it out for them.
  • Group analysis. In this stage, the participants share what they learned from being a participant or from being a spectator.
  • Closing. After each participant shares what they learned during the session, the therapist explains their analysis.

During each step, the therapist intervenes whenever necessary to facilitate the flow of the session. For example, if a person reacts strongly or needs to emphasize something, the therapist will make sure they do it in an orderly fashion. Also, each person in the group is an active participant, not just during the dramatization but also during group analysis and closing. This makes each participant an essential part of the process.

This process puts the participants at ease because each step encourages openness and inclusion. This is not only encouraged at the psychological level, but also at the physical level by the exercises outlined by the therapist. Thus, this isn’t complete improvisation. The process is thoroughly outlined by the therapist, who knows what’s best for the group.

Why does psychodrama work?

When we have problems, sometimes it’s hard for us to digest and understand them. It’s even difficult to know exactly what’s happening to us. Through psychodrama, those thoughts and emotions that make us feel bad take shape. The representation, in this case, is like a blank page for you to write on.

Demonstration makes it easier to express those hard to understand feelings. This is because the patient is able to see the problem from a different perspective. This way, they can mentally or physically explore different possible solutions. The patient also feels supported by the therapist and the group. The exercises allow the patient to let go and really show what’s happening to them.

Woman with a mask.

The facilitator, the person who guides the process and helps to determine different ways to solve problems, is indispensable. The therapist is also essential because they guide the process and determine what the group needs. They also analyze the things presented during the session. For example, you get a lot of information from non-verbal body language. Observing that is a great way to determine unspoken feelings.

Psychodrama also works because it promotes personal growth through simulated direct experience. Also, by encouraging that we must live in the present moment, it broadens horizons. That is to say, it focuses our attention on the here and now and allows us to see problems from different angles. Therefore, it helps us understand our ideas and thoughts from a broader perspective.

Psychodrama techniques

In psychodrama, there are many different ways to demonstrate issues. Therapists offer patients different ways to express themselves in order to find the best solution to the problem. So, each psychodrama session is different. Let’s look at some different ways to physically express yourself during psychodrama:

  • Sculptures. The patient tries to create a sculpture of one or more persons that expresses the feelings and thoughts that overwhelm them. The patient can also sculpt themselves. This is a wonderful way to creatively demonstrate the issue.
  • Mirroring. Other people act out the patient’s issue, allowing them to view it from the outside. Not only does the patient learn as an observer, but the participants learn by demonstration.
  • Soliloquy. The patient talks about what’s happening to them as if they were thinking out loud.
  • Role-play. This is where one person plays the role of another participant at some point in the demonstration. This allows that person to see the problem from the other participant’s point of view. It also allows the person to better understand the outside view.

These activities are always chaperoned by a therapist who analyzes and makes suggestions to foster a therapeutic environment. And everyone who participates learns from the experience.

The type of activity depends on the needs of those involved and the problems that need attention. Since the therapist is the expert, they know what needs to happen in order to foster an atmosphere of learning and expression.

What do you gain from psychodrama?

Psychodrama benefits the patient in many different ways:

  • Helps them become aware of their problems.
  • Allows them to explorate different solutions.
  • Improves their self-knowledge.
  • Helps them understand other people’s feelings.
  • Boosts their self-reliance.
  • Boosts their creativity.
  • Helps them be more spontaneous.
  • Helps them live in the present.
  • Allows them to channel their emotions.
Psychologist talking to a patient about psychodrama.

Through demonstration, interpretation, and analysis, we can come to understand what happens to us with the help of group work and a therapist. Psychotherapy is a wonderful way to get to know yourself, develop your creativity, take charge of your life, and understand others.

Psychodrama is a useful resource that can help solve your issues. Each time you participate, you increase self-awareness, strengthen empathy, and foster creativity. It can free you from whatever thoughts and emotions are holding you hostage. Psychotherapy is not only a therapeutic tool, but it’s also a form of expression and a solution to the things that are bothering you.

“Psychodrama is a new form of psychotherapy that can be widely applied.”

-Jacob Levy Moreno-

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.