Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Enhanced Simulation (More)

Originally posted on January 22, 2018

Enhanced simulations should be used as a kind  of therapy, and indeed, as part of the training of helpers, paid professionals. It’s also a part of therapy, including  psychodrama, drama therapy, and related approaches, may be thought of as a kind of education. Simulations should be applied not only as therapy but rather for all sorts of other purposes, community building, social skills education, etc. It’s a stretch to superimpose the medical model of "you-sick- I’m-well let-me-help-you." (And more, “I get to charge you for my services, too.”) Rather, enhanced simulation suggests: let’s explore this together; I don’t know what’ll work for you. Maybe we’ll come up with it together.

This takes into account an increased range of possible variations. A certain percentage of situations have outliers, people who are rather dull, or otherwise resistant to standard approaches for whatever reason. In other words the situations are more complex than what can be taught as a standard approach.

This technology of simulations addresses the outlying problems and cannot be taught according to the book. There needs to be a “getting the knack” process. It acknowledges that the situation presented may well transcend both there being a supposed “right way” to cope with the situation. What is needed instead for training is something that breaks out of the therapy model but in fact is being used by many educators as simulations.

Applied to therapy, one can add "voice over" (in psychodrama, "asides") and thus enhance the simulation, allowing people involved to articulate what they imagine is called for. (Enhancing the simulation thus is like adding cognitive therapy to ordinary simulated crises, military, surgical, medical, police—it helps to pinpoint the cognitions that underlie behaviors). In another view, of course, this is all role playing, and yet I see it becoming the way training operates. It’s more holistic and flexible. Some situations are easier than you’d expect and some a lot harder, so simulations becomes a teaching modality where the teacher doesn’t have to anticipate all eventualities.

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