Psychodramatists work with a wide range of individuals and groups in order to improve and develop new perceptions and abilities in many areas of life. Their approach is developmentally oriented, and they seek to take account of the whole person.
Clinical psychodramatists do this work in many settings. They assist individuals, families or groups in private psychotherapy practices and in organisations which specialise in family therapy, family life education, relationship counselling, life transition, education, sexual functioning, sexual assault, post-traumatic stress in individuals and groups, alcohol and drug addiction, mental health including depression, community programmes, spirituality, pastoral work, or in correctional services.
The psychodrama method entails exploring people’s functioning and every aspect of a situation and arriving at a clear clinical assessment. The process and outcomes include an expanded vision, resolution of conflict, assessment of relationships, integration of fragmented aspects of the personality, and well-organised planning for the future. Verbal interaction, dramatic enactment, and reflection are all designed to enable individuals to see themselves from a fresh point of view and generate and integrate new behaviours. This comes about when a person sees themselves through the eyes of the people who are significant to them at different life stages, as they take on their roles, through experimentation and through observation of accurate portrayals of their functioning in a non-judgemental atmosphere.
There are a number of specialised applications of the psychodramatic method. A role trainer works with individuals and groups to develop specific aspects of functioning where there may be over- or under- development or absence. A spontaneity trainer stimulates new or adequate responses, often in a light-hearted atmosphere, where previously despondency or passivity may have been prominent. A sociometrist assists an organisation to become aware of its relationship system, including the dynamic relations of sub-groups, and to mobilise staff resources more effectively. A sociodramatist investigates and stimulates new approaches to social issues. A psychodramatist who works as an organisational consultant, creates images of working systems and interventions that draw out leadership abilities. One who works as a staff trainer develops attitudes, values and work functioning consistent with the overall goals of an organisation.
The training of psychodramatists is conducted by training institutes, accredited by the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Psychodrama Association Inc. (AANZPA), that have developed training methods and detailed curricula based on the pioneering work of J.L. Moreno. A pre-requisite for training is a tertiary qualification or equivalent. Certification requirements include completion of 2400 hours of supervised experiential learning, demonstrated mastery of the theory and practice of the method, completion of written papers and a practical assessment, and identification with the high ethical standards integrated during training and set out in the AANZPA Code of Ethics.
Psychodrama Australia psychodramaaustralia.edu.au