What is Psychodrama? | Addiction Treatment at Passages Rehab

What is Psychodrama?

By Susan Finley, Ed.D., NCC

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. –William Shakespeare

Developed by social scientist, Jacob L. Moreno, MD, psychodrama is a method of guided dramatic action in which the participant(s) choose a problem and within a supportive group setting, practice new and more effective behaviors through role-play to address the problem. Dr. Moreno argues that healing can begin when there is the use of spontaneity, creativity, and love within a dynamic community. The use of psychodrama with a trained facilitator works by clarifying issues, increasing physical and emotional wellbeing, enhancing learning and encouraging the development of new skills. – American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama (ASGPP).

The three phases of psychodrama as described by ASGPP:

  1. The warm-up: The group theme is identified and a protagonist, person(s) selected to “represent the theme/issue,” is selected.
  2. The action: The problem is dramatized and the protagonist explores new methods of resolving it.
  3. The sharing: Group members are invited to express their connection with the protagonist’s work.

Benefits of psychodrama: Psychodrama facilitates insight, personal growth, and integration on cognitive, affective, and behavioral levels. It allows an individual to safely explore an issue in a supportive environment.

Selected resources

What is Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Sociodrama? –American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama (ASGPP).

Susan Finley, Ed.D., NCC is an educator, published researcher, and social media consultant. She is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC) (e-therapy) and Suicide Prevention Instructor (QPR) under the National Board for Certified Counselors.


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