Sociodrama is....by Margarida BELCHIOR & Manuela MACIEL (Portugal)
Moreno, the creator of Psychodrama, Sociodrama, sociometry and sociatry, said:
“A truly therapeutic procedure cannot have less an objective than the whole of mankind. But no adequate therapy can be prescribed as long as mankind is not a unity in some fashion and as long as its organization remains unknown.” J.L. Moreno, Who Shall Survive? (1934)
Blatner (2011), an American sociodramatist with worldwide recognition, writes: “Sociodrama was Moreno’s extension of psychodrama, applying this approach to the problems of groups who have role conflicts.” (p. 47)
Maciel (2011) says: “Psychodrama deals with intra and interpersonal conflict, where Sociodrama deals with social conflict, while axiodrama deals with cultural conflict” (p. 288). This means that “the focus is on the group in its collective roles and not the individual or private roles.” (p. 288)
Even if our social and collective problems come from different social and cultural contexts, they are interrelated. Zuretti (2011), from Argentina, learned from Moreno that the individual and its environment are interrelated, too. She created the Sociopsychodrama “to understand in both directions the individual process within the wider social structure and also to understand the social structure from the minimum atom of its constitution, the persona.” (p. 61)
Sprague (2005), referring to Wiener (1995), mentions that sociodrama has three aims: “an improved understanding of a social situation, an increase in participants’ knowledge about their own and other people’s roles in relation to that situation, and an emotional release or catharsis as people express their feelings about the subject” (p.249).
So sociodrama can help:
To train general spontaneity, by helping people to improvise their thoughts and their behavior;
To learn how to deal with non-verbal communication: how people can use their body, their face and action to express themselves in a congruent way or to help people to identify others’ incongruity;
To train assertiveness: to learn different forms of bonding and to get others’ attention in a modular way;
To train empathy, by role reverse with others, to understand them better;
To train and analyze roles by participating in others’ scenes, by doubling and by sharing, by exploring social roles which they are not familiar with; to learn how to behave in a job interview or how to present yourself in new social situations;
To learn how to solve conflicts, how to get support, how to clarify or how to negotiate;
To promote self-knowledge, by using technics as soliloquy, mirror, double and other techniques. (Batista & Regala, 2013)
Batista, V. V., & Regala, M. J. (2013). A arte em ação: técnicas psicodramáticas em contexto educativo. Imaginar, 56, 50-57.
Blatner, A. (2008). “Mais que meros atores”: aplicações do psicodrama na vida diária. In Psicodrama no século 21: aplicações clínicas e educacionais, 119-131. São Paulo: Ágora.
Blatner, A. (2011). Reflections on Sociodrama. In Wiener, R., Adderley, D., Kirk, K. (Eds.) Sociodrama in a Changing World. UK: Lulu Ed., pp. 47-60
Maciel, M. (2011). Sociodrama in Portugal: an overview. In Wiener, R., Adderley, D., Kirk, K. (Eds.) Sociodrama in a Changing World. UK: Lulu Ed., p. 287-290
Moreno, J.L. (1934). Who Shall Survive? ASGPP, online Edition: http://www.asgpp.org/docs/wss/wss.html, accessed on the 16th February 2017
Sousa, S., Queirós, C., & Marques, A. (2014). Programa de b-learning (sociodrama & e-learning) na diminuição do auto-estigma na esquizofrenia: «Curso de Educação e Formação para a Vida Ativa – CEFVA». In Prista Guerra, M., Lima, L. & Torres, S. (Eds.), Intervir em Grupos na Saúde (pp. 255-297). Lisboa: Climepsi
Sousa, S. (2012). Auto-estigma na doença mental grave: desenvolvimento de um programa de intervenção com recurso ao sociodrama e ao e-learning. Phd Thesis. Faculty of Psychology. University of Porto.
Sprague, K. (2005). Permission to interact. A who, how and why of sociodrama. In Karp, M., Holmes, P., Tauvon, K. (Ed.), The Handbook of Psychodrama. UK: Routledge, pp. 247-262
Zuretti, M. (2011). Sociopsychodrama – a vortex for understanding relationships. In Wiener, R., Adderley, D., Kirk, K. (Eds.) Sociodrama in a Changing World. UK: Lulu Ed., p. 61-70
Sousa et al (2014) mentions that from an educational point of view Sociodrama is a process of learning in group, which brings participants closer to each other relying on common features of human experience. It does so encouraging openness to express thoughts, feelings and hopes of the participants and it also gives them the opportunity to learn more about themselves, about the world and about their role in it. Sociodrama also gives participants the possibility to live the joy of playing the role of the other, as well as the chance to expand their own life roles, in a liberating and nonthreatening way, without judgements.
Mentioning Moreno (1953), Sousa et al (2014) assumes that Sociodrama is thought to be educative, clarifying, and to provide energy to all group members, so that it can stimulate spontaneity and creativity, love and empathy.
Referring to Sternberg & Garcia (2000), Sousa et al (2013) also says that Sociodrama is a unique and effective methodology, which provides an experiential and cognitive learning, easily adaptable to several educational backgrounds and different populations. Using Sociodrama, participants - instead of listening to a speech - can find the answers to their problems or questions by themselves according to their specific phase of development.
Sociodrama is used in many fields of human activity as a very flexible and powerful technique. It is a group method of education, which gives us the possibility to use our imagination and to practice living in the sociodrama group without being punished for making mistakes as it could happen if one did the same thing in everyday settings (Sprague, 2005).
The 1rst International Sociodrama Conference was held in Portugal, in 2007. It was organized by a group of supervisors in sociodrama, whose chairperson was Manuela Maciel.
In the global world, where we all live now, we can no longer live alone and we are all part of networks which we contribute to. We share our knowledge and our “how-to-do”, but we also learn from each other’s experiences. That’s why Sociodrama can be so helpful to face the serious problems humanity needs and answer for.