Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Combating Stereotypes About Psychodrama

Originally posted on October 6, 2011

The term is being misused! The word, “psychodrama” is applied by journalists to describe any sort of emotionally-laded complex situation. Actually, it’s a method for problem-solving that involves improvised role playing. People play mainly themselves or others in various of their own life situations. The goal is not to entertain any audience, but rather as a kind of social experiment in the equivalent of a social “laboratory,” and although it sometimes gets emotional, that’s not the point. The game is to explore one’s own deeper feelings; through role-reversal, to better empathize with others’ viewpoints; to try out different approaches and see what fits. It’s a kind of learning-by-doing.

The use of drama as exploratory, imaginative play is what kids do. It need not be “dramatic” in the sense of exaggerated emotions. Sometimes exaggerating is what’s fun or releasing, but it’s not an essential element. The point here is to differentiate psychodrama from its common associations with histrionics, “drama queens,” and the performance element that dominates much of the profession of theatre. That has its place, but psychodrama or sociodrama can also be relatively matter-of-fact and in this way is also used in business and education.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *