The Association was founded on 27th of August 1989 in Amsterdam as „Psychodrama-Institut Europa e.V.“ – in a time nobody dared to hope, that three months later the wall in Berlin would have been fell down as the beginning of the Fall of the Iron Curtain between the NATO states and the states of the Warsaw Pact. It was founded by 28 Psychodramatists from 10 European Nations.
The initiative for founding this association started from Ildikó Mävers, who already enjoyed an excellent reputation as psychodramatist in Germany in this time and who already worked with psychodrama in her native country Hungary since the middle of the eighties. There she noticed, how much people in socialist systems could benefit from group psychotherapy. But it was enormously difficult to organize groups in socialist countries of those days, in a system which had great misgivings about letting people become more self-assured or self-analytical. Every kind of individual or group psychotherapy was perceived as being against the system. As there were crowds of training institutes and young psychodramatists in West Germany in this time, Ildikó Mävers had several particularly talented candidates in her training groups of German, Polish, Rumanian and Hungarian origin. As she looked at the East – her home region and the neighbouring socialist countries – the vision emerged – to take psychodrama to them. It did not take long before she had found allies – primarily the candidates who themselves originated from the Eastern European countries. Their collective energies and knowledge brought about establishment of the Institute. As pioneers of this work have to be mentioned: Hilde Gött, Gerd Pischetsrieder, Eva Roine, Sonja Beloch and especially Helmuth Beloch, who organised the structure of the Institute and developed the statute of the Institute which is still the basis of our Association.
After the founding meeting in Amsterdam in August 1989 the association was finally registered as „Psychodrama Institut für Europa e.V.“ according to German association law.
The first board was composed of members from 5 Nations: Ildikó Mävers (Germany/Hungary) as elected chairperson, Helmut Beloch (Germany) as the 1st vice-chairperson, Eva Roine (Norway) as the 2nd vice-chairperson, Lászlo Zichy (Hungary) as a secretary, Zsuzsa Tóth (Hungary) as a deputy secretary, Monica Westberg (Sweden) as a treasurer and Kazimierz Bierzyński (Poland) as a deputy treasurer. The following years were characterized by the implementation of numerous training groups in Hungary, in Poland, in Romania and later in Ukraine. Alongside training in psychodrama theory and practise, the trainers of the Psychodrama Institute for Europe also mediated humanistic and Christian values, tolerance for the diversity of others, since these values suffered severely under socialist regimes. The transparency which the trainers introduced into their groups was quite a new thing and contradicted everything which had been experienced in socialism in terms of caution, mistrust and fear. The work of the founder generation of Psychodrama Institute for Europe made a major contribution to the fact that Eastern and Western Europe have made a big process in growing together in a mental and intercultural context. Political minorities had to have guaranteed the same chances of development within the group as the majority. A balance had to be found regarding historical animosities for example between Hungarians and Rumanians or between Russians and White Russians. In dealing with these processes the group dynamic knowledge of the group leaders was just as much required as was tact and diplomatic skill, all employed for a higher goal: Sociometric equality of opportunity. Thus the training groups of Psychodrama Institute for Europe have always been not just psychotherapeutic further education in action-oriented psychodrama but also a high-level schooling in intercultural tolerance and competence.
After leading the association for 14 years, Ildikó Mävers handed over the chair to Hilde Gött in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) in 2003 and became honorary member of the association. Hilde Gött guided and shaped the organization for the next ten years in her position as chair and implemented the psychodramatic summer-academies in Romania and the special psychodramatic and sociodramatic project „Confronting the Holocaust“. Led by long-standing member Yaacov Naor (link to news) and Hilde Gött this project was offered especially to second and third generation descendants of victims and perpetrators in Oświęcim/Auschwitz in Poland and became indispensable component of the associations activities.
In 2013 Hilde Gött handed over the chair to Evaldas Karmaza – psychodramatist from Latvia, who focused together with his colleagues in the board Fred Dorn (Germany) and Eduardo Verdu (Norway) on the work of training in the Baltic States and in Belarus.
A maxim of action of the Institute was always the spreading of psychodrama in European countries by ensuring the trainings in first level and upper level groups and the needed supervision as long as young national trainers have been enabled to build up an own national structure of a high-quality psychodrama education. To make this mission of international partnerships more visible in the name, the Institute is continuing it´s work since 2017 under the name „Psychodrama Association for Europe e.V.“.