Psycho Drama (Storytelling)-A Unique Experience





Due to my deep passion and interest in storytelling, I am always keen to explore new aspects of story and storytelling. So when I got an email about a program on Psycho Drama (Storytelling), it made me curious. 

I decided to wear the 'Learner's Shoes' and landed up at the 2 day workshop, "Introduction to Psychodrama" organized in Delhi by the Indian Institute of Psychodrama (Founder- Magdalene Jeyarathnam) in association with Sue Daniel, who is the Founder of Psychodrama Institute ofMelbourne (Australia). World Storytelling Institute, Chennai also helped in organising the event.


The workshop was organized in the third week of December 2013. The Trainer was Ms Sue Daniel who is also the Director, Psychodrama Institute of Melbourne, Australia.



 

Introduction

Psychodrama is a group-method utilizing role-playing. It is an excellent method to use with children and adults, for exploring challenging situations, improvising dramatic play, soft-skills and life-skills training, etc.


Psychodrama is a creative way of exploring the world of individuals, families and organizations using action methods and spontaneous drama. It is an enlivening framework in which the use of the imagination is central. 

It is an experiential group work method based on the principals of Dr J. L. Moreno (1889-1974).  Psychodrama has been the basis of many theories and practices of group work since 1923, particularly role theory.  It has applications in a variety of settings.  Psychodrama is an action method and involves the use of dramatic enactment to explore themes, events and stories in our lives.


The Experience
The best part of the experience was that there was hardly any theoretical teaching. The role plays were conducted consecutively and the theories were discussed as part of the discussion of the role play. The participants volunteered to enact an actual life experience and played both the roles (the self and the other person in the interaction). 

Role reversal is in fact a critical part of psycho drama and is useful for developing empathy. Sue constantly stressed upon the fact that there will be no attempt to give advice and judge the participants in the role play. 

Yet participants were free to share their perceptions and views focusing on, “What I would have done in a similar situation?” rather than, “What was wrong in the way things were done?” She constantly repeated that what we are sharing is merely our individual perception and not reality, making the complex role of perception in our day to day lives very clear.


We live in a society where we fail to express our emotions and real selves for a plethora of reasons. The exercise was especially useful in releasing emotional blocks, sharing and expressing emotions openly and co-creating a positive and supportive environment for everyone. An atmosphere of high trust was created, so that the participants could behave and express themselves without any inhibitions or fears. 


It was not just breaking of the ice and participants getting friendly. As a result of Sue’s excellent facilitation skills and the trust levels, a strong bonding quickly developed among participants, which rarely happens in real life. It was rather surprising that by the end of the two day workshop, it seemed the participants had bonded so well, as if they had known each other for years. 


Participants surely enjoyed themselves in a relaxing environment, as well as learnt about this creative and positive method, with relevance in both personal and professional relationships.


The psycho drama is useful for developing empathy, becoming more authentic and healing oneself of emotional baggage. In fact, I would recommend every counselor, Life coach and Relationship Coach to attend Pscyhodrama workshops, as no tool is as powerful as psycho-drama, in making us shed our masks & inhibitions and develop empathy to put ourselves in the other person's story. 

In fact after completing the workshop, I wished, "If only we could stop the drama in real life and become more authentic and real." The society is actually moving towards more and more authenticity, though at a slow pace.

To me the unmasked drama of two days, looked closer to real (authentic) life and the masked real life we live appeared more to be a drama.


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About the Trainer, Ms Sue Daniel

Ms Sue Daniel, BA, DipT, MApS, TEP is a psychodramatist and psychotherapist in private practice in Melbourne, Australia. She is the Director of the Psychodrama Institute of Melbourne and a Visiting Professor at the Muroran Institute of Technology, Hokkaido, Japan.  Sue is the founder of the Moreno Psychodrama Society and Chairperson of the Australian and Aotearoa (New Zealand) Board of Psychodrama.   

She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Group Psychotherapy and Principal Trainer at the Indian Institute of Psychodrama, based in Chennai.  She is an international trainer, educator and practitioner who conducts workshops and educational seminars in communities, institutes and organizations worldwide.  Sue’s writing on psychodrama has been published in books and journals.
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Brief Profile  

Dr Amit Nagpal is Chief Inspirational Storyteller at AL Services. He is a Social Media Influencer,  Author, Speaker/Trainer and Coach. To know more, visit www.dramitnagpal.com. (His special interest and expertise lies in inspirational storytelling, anecdotes and visual storytelling)

AL Services offers content development/story writing, consulting, training and other services in the area of brand storytelling. To know more, write to amit@dramitnagpal.com

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