Rounding Up the year 2020 & Looking Forward to 2021

Beloved Psychodrama Enthusiasts,

Happy Holidays!

2020 has been a year of great change for us all and running psychodrama groups during this pandemic has called for greater spontaneity in all of us.  After a trip to Arizona in January where I had the delightful experience of attending Tian Dayton’s workshop on using psychodrama with trauma clients, I was feeling re-energized!  Stopping over in Los Angeles, I was asked to run a half day of psychodrama group work for men in recovery from sex addiction. This was an amazing time in which I saw the method working as I followed the warm up of the group. 

Before we had time to organise an Open session, the restrictions hit Singapore and we were unable to meet in person. However as always, spontaneity prevails and following the lead of others using Zoom to run psychodrama groups, we started our first group online. The response was enthusiastic and the group was comprised of women only. This ran for 4 weeks followed by the start of another group with both men and women.  Our Women’s group continued to flourish for 16 weeks which took us all the way to September. Each week dramas would be directed as creative ways were discovered to do role reversal and doubling.  Amidst much laughter as well as tears, healing was experienced by many and we formed connections that continue to grow.  

Following this, a group of NUS students asked to do an interview and proceeded to make a mini documentary about psychodrama for a school project. We were able to have an Open session with them so they could experience psychodrama first hand. We hope they get a good grade as they were the only ones to actually get involved in the therapy they were researching. 

As the year comes to a close, we have planned to run an Open session which will be limited to 6 people on 8th Jan 2021.

Jan 2021 Open Session

Also in the pipeline is a new group for personal growth to be launched on 15th Jan 2021.

PGG Jan 2021

Do keep your creativity going as we endeavour to make psychodrama more accessible.

As JL Moreno, the father of psychodrama, put it;

“A truly therapeutic procedure cannot have less an objective than the whole of mankind.”

— J.L. Moreno, M.D. (1889-1974) 

May you be blessed with a safe and healthy year end — Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year! We look forward to seeing you next year.

Warmest wishes,

Sharmini Winslow

Role Reversal

This poem quoted by JL Moreno is an illustration of the concept of role reversal in Psychodrama.

When someone steps forward and says ‘yes’ to being spontaneous and thereby to being creative, they are open to the possibilities of changing perspectives.

As I’ve directed Psychodramas over the years, I have come to see the Psychodrama Stage as a laboratory where the protagonist experiments with different possibilities and outcomes. Relationships are explored and as role reversal takes place, the protagonist gets to experience the Other and the psyche of the Other that lives in them.

We all have a version of our Mother, our Father, our sibling, our enemy that lives in us. This version when brought on the stage gets concretized (or made concrete/ real) by the use of another group member who takes on the role as an Auxillary. As the protagonist reverses roles and takes on the role of the Other, he or she can then take on the posture, speech style and warm up to being that Other person. Their version emerges and the encounter with the Auxillary playing them takes place. They then reverse roles and the Auxillary (as the Other) will repeat what has been said and the protagonist experiences a dialogue with the Other. This goes on with several role reversals until the Protagonist’s purpose has been achieved with the Director.

This experiencing of a different perspective engages empathy and deepens understanding of the Other. Moreno called this the Encounter.

The poem quoted is from his seminal book “Who Shall Survive”.