About Psychodrama

What is Psychodrama?

Psychodrama, conceived and developed by Jacob L. Moreno (1889-1974) is  guided dramatic action, which allows individuals to enact scenes from their lives; past, present or future.   In this process, individuals are able to gain new insights, try out new behaviors, and express unexpressed feelings.  Psychodrama, a holistic method, assists with integration on the affective, cognitive and behavioral levels. Other essential aspects to psychodrama are role theory, sociometry and group dynamics.  A cousin to psychodrama, sociodrama, focuses on concerns or issues raised by the group; rather than the individual.

In traditional psychodrama, there are five elements:

  • The Protagonist: Person whose issue or story will be enacted during the drama. Typically, this person’s story represents the overall concerns of the group.
  • The Auxiliary Egos: These represent the other important individuals or aspects in the drama. For example, group members may play the roles of a family member, friend, transpersonal figure or even a place in nature, such as the beach.
  • The Stage: This represents the area where the action will take place. Typically, an area of the room is designated as the stage.
  • The Director: The therapist, or trained psychodramatist, who will lead participants through each aspect of the drama.
  • The Group: The group holds the container and creates a safe space for the protagonist to do the work.
Each psychodrama session has a warm-up, enactment and sharing. 

What is Sociometry?

In addition to psychodrama, Moreno also developed sociometry, which is the study and measurement of interpersonal relationships in a group. In any group, as we enter the room, we make a decision about where to sit, who we feel drawn to and who we would like to avoid. When we identify connections we have with others, it helps to promote a sense of safety, connection and cohesion in the group. While some information is easily observable such as eyeglasses, color of the skin and height; other information, such as who likes skydiving, is bisexual or divorced is not readily apparent. Sociometric exercises are designed to help uncover some of this information and build community. Sociometry is an important component of psychodrama and is used to build safety and connections among the group members.
The video below, from Denmark, is a wonderful example of applied sociometry, it shows how to build community among individuals by helping us to see “all that we share.”

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