Six keywords in Psychodrama and Sociometry
Psychodrama is an independent psychosocial method concerning the constructive shaping and structuring of group processes. Unmistakable characteristics are firstly the process-oriented relationship work in the group and secondly the work on and with scenes, which are represented ? on the stage, and which are together interpreted and changed. Even when for psychodramatists ? Soziometry is just as important as psychodrama, the concept of „psychodrama“ has gained common acceptance as the title for psychodramatical and sociometrical work.
Even though psychodrama can be used with individuals, the group forms the heart of psychodramatic work. Perhaps the most brilliant idea of Morenos was to understand that groups are stronger than individuals and that consequently it is in the group where reality can be addressed. The dynamics of the group are used in psychodrama to specifically and systematically confront existing problems and questions, to set in motion the processes of change and to discover and test solutions. In Morenos eyes, mutual help is the ideal way to improve a situation.
The psychodramatical process of the group is dependant on the experiences which the individual group members bring with them. Again and again the process focuses on a point where individual life-experiences become the centre of attention. A group member then becomes the protagonist and shows on stage what happened to him. Psychodrama has a rich pallet of methods, to enable better understanding of important situations in mutual „play“. Every play ends with the protagonist having the experience that there is no situation where one is quite alone. Simultaneously, the other group members experience that in every scene there is a core subject from which they also profit.
Next to the group, the stage is the most important work-place in psychodrama. This is not generally an actual theatre stage, but simply the place is there where psychodrama is played out. It is the place where a better understanding of situations is achieved. It is the magnifying glass of psychodramatical work. In all it’s facets a scene can be investigated, understood and shaped on the stage. Moreno speaks of a „Surplus-Reality“ which evolves on the stage. There it is possible to take on roles which are unattainable in normal everyday life. There it is possible to be a queen, or a crocodile. I can meet the dead on the stage, see my future or confront my weaker inner self… All this makes the stage an incalculably valuable analytical instrument and a space without boundaries for discovering good solutions.
A human being is never isolated. He is always bound into relations and relationship networks. These networks can support, protect or impede – but they always determine our life. Nevertheless, most people know frighteningly little about these relationship networks. Because Moreno understood this, he was able to develop tools to make these relationships visible. Using the tools of sociometry, psychodrama helps to make visible the closeness and distance, sympathy, antipathy or indifference, repulsion and attraction that exists between people. It is clear from everyday experience that relations can only be changed when they are properly understood. And: People live more happily if they can learn to actively shape their relationship networks.
Because Moreno identified foci and central mechanisms of human life with stunning intuition, he was able to build a very flexible and practical method from psychodrama and sociometry. It does not matter if it is a professional or private situation or whether the task is therapy or training, advice or supervision. The questioning of important relationships and the understanding of key situations after the interaction and individual experiences of those involved is always relevant. Psychodrama is accordingly used by all psycho-social professions. It is used in schools and in self-experience, in consultation and advice contexts, in personal and organisational development, in practical work and supervision, in the fields of education and social work, in the jurisdiction of family matters and in innumerable other forms. Thus it is now an easy task to adapt psychodrama to new fields and to investigate challenging situations psychodramatically.