In a captivating video titled “Trying Psychodrama Therapy For The First Time | My First Therapy with Sharmini Winslow,” Zula influencers Chow and Fauzi embark on a remarkable journey of self-discovery through the transformative power of psychodrama therapy. This 24-minute video captures their profound experience as they delve into deep emotions under the expert guidance of psychologist Sharmini Winslow.
Sharmini Winslow’s Expertise and Background:
Sharmini Winslow, a respected psychodramatist known for her expertise in psychodrama therapy, leads Chow and Fauzi through this groundbreaking experience. With her extensive knowledge and compassionate approach, Winslow creates a safe and supportive space for their therapeutic exploration.
The First-Time Psychodrama Experience:
Chow and Fauzi eagerly embrace the opportunity to try psychodrama therapy for the first time, expressing their excitement and curiosity. Guided by Sharmini’s warm and professional demeanour, they embark on a profound journey of self-discovery, eager to uncover and explore their deepest emotions.
Unveiling Emotions through Psychodrama Vignettes:
Sharmini skillfully facilitates a series of psychodrama vignettes, inviting Chow and Fauzi to externalize their inner experiences and engage with their emotions on a profound level. Through these enactments, they courageously express and confront unresolved issues, gaining valuable insights into themselves and their relationships.
The Transformative Power of Psychodrama Therapy:
As Chow and Fauzi immerse themselves in the transformative experience of psychodrama therapy, they are astounded by its profound impact on their emotional well-being. The video beautifully captures their personal growth and self-discovery, showcasing the potential for healing and transformation that lies within this therapeutic modality.
Sharing Their Insights:
Throughout the video, Chow and Fauzi generously share their reflections and insights, offering viewers a glimpse into their transformative journey. Their vulnerability and openness inspire viewers to reflect on their own emotional landscapes and consider the profound possibilities that psychodrama therapy can offer.
“Trying Psychodrama Therapy For The First Time | My First Therapy with Sharmini Winslow” presents a heartfelt and enlightening exploration of the transformative power of psychodrama therapy. Guided by Sharmini Winslow’s expertise and compassionate support, Chow and Fauzi embark on a remarkable journey of self-discovery and personal growth. This video invites viewers to contemplate their own emotional well-being and consider the potential for healing and transformation through the profound practice of psychodrama therapy.
Sharmini Winslow was interviewed by Expat Living Magazine on how Psychodrama can help those suffering with Anxiety. Read on to find out what was shared.
What is psychodrama and does it help anxiety?
Since 2011, Sharmini Winslow has been a pioneer of psychodrama in Singapore and holds sessions with Promises Healthcare. After pursuing a career in dance and choreography, and founding her own Pilates studio, Sharmini discovered her natural affinity for forming connections with people – notably her close bonds with her Pilates students. Facing anxiety and feeling burnt out by the trials of running a business, she took a degree in counselling and eventually discovered the concept of psychodrama, where she found her own inner breakthroughs.
Here we find out more about this unique form of therapy and how it’s helped people with depression, anxiety and other issues.
Can you explain to us what psychodrama is all about?
Psychodrama is not drama therapy. Psychodrama has its own canon of theories and philosophies – it has a very coherent methodology. Jacob L Moreno was the psychiatrist who founded psychodrama and came up with a theory of personality, philosophy and methodology. It’s a very comprehensive way of working with clients that can also be adapted to work with other theories.
Psychodrama is basically taking whatever is in your psyche (“psycho-”) and putting it into action (“drama”) in the therapy room. We use objects and people to represent things or people from your life that you can interact with on the stage. In psychodrama, you can explore issues you want to deal with and the feelings that are coming up.
Can you give an example of what happens in a psychodrama session?
We begin with warm-ups to help participants connect and feel comfortable with each other and the director. A protagonist is chosen either as a volunteer or by the group. The protagonist is the group member who wishes to explore a situation in their life. A scene is set and group members are chosen as auxiliaries to play the roles of people, things, emotions or anything of significance in the story. The psychodramatist, also known as the director of the drama, facilitates the unfolding of the drama on the stage. The stage is the space set apart specifically for the action to take place. The rest of the group act as the audience who witnesses the drama. These are the main elements in a psychodrama.
In a drama, the protagonist might go to a scene from the past, the present or even a desired future. The protagonist usually experiences a new perspective; something in their psyche shifts and they can engage in the present with more energy and life!
In a psychodrama, we have many ways of facilitating healing and closure so we don’t re-traumatise people – that’s why it takes about 800 hours to become a qualified psychodramatist. There are protocols to follow to create safety and confidentiality, which is an important aspect of group therapy.
What do you think the main advantages of psychodrama are?
The main advantage of psychodrama is that it takes less time to get to the heart of the matter. It helps the client cut through the clutter of their intellectualisation and explore new problem-solving skills. It’s also a holistic form of therapy that embraces spontaneity and body awareness.
Psychodrama is relatively new in Singapore; does this cause any challenges? How do you address this?
There are many misconceptions and one of them is that you have to reveal your personal life to a group of strangers. In actual fact, great care is taken to build trust in the group, and if you’re still not warmed up you can participate as an audience member. I offer open sessions that allow people to experience what goes on in psychodrama. This helps to demystify it and make it more accessible. For those that want to dive deeper, I hold Personal Growth Groups that run for six to eight weeks. I believe that if people are willing to try it, they’ll enjoy it. But there’s always a hesitancy and fear about trying something new.
Is psychodrama more effective for certain kinds of people?
Psychodrama works best for people who are willing to be honest and open and want to deal with their issues in more creative ways.
Can it help with anxiety?
It helps with anger issues, depression, anxiety, stress, relationship issues, low self-esteem and even addictions.
What are some of your success stories?
I had a client who was too afraid to speak because of anxiety and his addiction issues. He was put into our group of men with addiction issues, and he was very quiet in this group. We started doing warm-ups and for the first time in his life people were relating to him as an equal, a peer. Nobody was talking down to him because nobody knew about his background except for me. He had become anxious as a result of years of drug use, and had some neurological issues.
After a few weeks, he started talking in short sentences and told us he had gone to a concert. All the guys in the group were slapping him on the back and cheering him on. His family was really grateful. He didn’t even do his own psychodrama, he was just part of the group.
What advice do you have for people who want to become professional psychodramatists?
Be patient! It takes many hours. If you’re committed to it, stay the course and don’t give up. Supervision is part of the learning process as it’s a very powerful method. Don’t neglect this important aspect of your training.
Want to discover psychodrama for yourself?
Sharmini is hosting an open session/introduction to psychodrama on 12 August for Expat Living readers – visit the Psychodrama website to sign up. She also holds training sessions for those interested in taking up psychodrama professionally. Sharmini is a Certified Psychodramatist, accredited by the American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy
This article first appeared in the July 2022 edition of Expat Living and on their website.
Written by Dinesh Ajith
Dinesh is a seasoned writer and editor with seven years of experience covering travel, restaurants and bars. His interests include film photography, cheesy 90s monster flicks, and scouring the island for under-the-radar craft beer bars.
It’s been awhile since we had our last newsletter. We are looking forward to serving up a series of workshops to “ Improve Your Serve” as Therapists and Coaches.
In 2012, as part of my desire to share the joy of Psychodrama with others in Singapore, I invited Rob Brodie from Adelaide, Australia to run a 3-day Psychodrama Training Workshop. We began with an Open Session which was filled to capacity, in our training room.
The 3-day workshop had the effect of inspiring many to continue training in Psychodrama and our Facebook Group was started to share more about our sessions. This inaugural workshop in 2012, was the launch of many more in the years to come. Several trainers flew to our shores from Australia, New Zealand and the USA!
As part of our 10th Anniversary celebrations, we’ve dropped the prices of our full-day workshops. Do sign up! You will receive certification hours which are recognised by the American board of examiners in Psychodrama sociometry and group psychotherapy. CPD hours with SAC are also available. (Click here for workshop details)
As we take Psychodrama Singapore through to the next leg of our journey, we hope to pave the way for more Certified Psychodramatists from Singapore. It is our hope that a community of Psychodramatists and enthusiasts will bring new meaning to the idea that Jacob Moreno had – “A truly therapeutic procedure can have for its objective no less than the whole of Mankind.”(J.L. Moreno, 18189-1974)
We look forward to continuing this exciting journey with you. Blessings, Sharm’
Moreno would meet with actors and artists at the Café Museum in Vienna. He enjoyed the creative energy that these meetings sparked in him and eventually got the loan of a theatre owned by the father of an actress. Vienna at the time was going through political upheaval and the Austro-Hungarian empire was crumbling. This idea came to him to put on an event about finding a new King for Austria. He publicised the event and promised that the new king would be in attendance. Politicians, clergymen and other influential people were invited and on the day of the ‘show’ there were about 1000 people at the theatre in attendance. On the stage was a plush red chair with gilt arms and back. On the seat of the chair was a crown.
Moreno appeared on the stage and announced that he was the King’s jester. He asked the audience for volunteers who would like to come up on stage to be the king. The audience had mixed reactions. Some stood up in disgust and left the theatre. Others shouted and jeered using the event to voice their political views. Nobody came up on the stage to play the role of the king. Moreno states that this was the day that psychodrama was born, April 1st 1921. Later he would acknowledge that it was actually a Sociodrama. This acting out of a common concern of a group using made up roles had its first appearance on that day.
It is this date, April 1, 1921, upon which psychodrama was born, Moreno maintains, and every serious student of psychodrama learns this fact, even though the event itself is what Moreno would later call Sociodrama, and even though there were events preceding and subsequent to this one that are considered as germane to the origins of psychodrama. The one that most closely resembles therapeutic psychodrama occurred a couple of years after this official “birth” of psychodrama.- Nolte 2014
The first quarter of 2021 has passed by like a whirlwind! What will the rest of 2021 bring?
In February, I received exciting news from the American Board of Examiners (ABE) that I had passed my psychodrama exams and am now a Certified Psychodramatist by the ABE. Being the first fully qualified Psychodramatist in Singapore certified by the ABE has been a long journey. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the years of my own growth as a director of psychodramas and of group psychotherapy. I recently also received news that I am now a PAT or Practice as Trainer. This opens more doors for me to give out psychodrama training hours that can count toward certification with the ABE!! So, look out! Our training program towards certification as Experiential Facilitators and Psychodramatist is in the pipeline! I will start running short training workshops in which you can start accumulating your hours sometime soon!
In the meantime, keep coming for our Personal growth groups so you get to do your own work and experience the action method of psychodrama in more depth.
After having our first in-person Open Session in January, we ran a Personal Growth Group that comprised of mostly counsellors and facilitators. Many psychodramas were done on various themes including Chinese New Year and the Chinese Zodiac animals. We thought about which animal we would prefer to be and had some hilarious fun!
Following this we started a Womenâ€™s group called â€œDisarming My Inner Criticâ€. The 6 week group is almost finished and we plan to run another one beginning in May. Having women of all ages in the group has been a real gift as mothers in the group gain perspective from younger women who have them play the role of daughters. The healing in the group has been amazing to witness. Do join us for the next one starting on 22 Apr – â€œReady Set Glowâ€.
Our Open sessions have been held monthly with the participation of people from all walks of life. Our last one was fully subscribed and we had to start a waiting list as spaces are limited due to Covid-19 restrictions. We have 2 bottles of sanitizer in the room, tissues and wipes, as well as extra masks in case people need a fresh one. All the necessary precautions are being taken to ensure we all stay safe! Join us or tell your friends about it!
As the pandemic continues to challenge all our spontaneity, I am encouraged by the number of people who have turned up for our Open sessions and our Personal Growth Groups (PGGs). We have had quite a few runs and have managed to experience full psychodramas produced in our studio at Promises. We have also launched an Instagram page for Psychodrama Singapore, and our Facebook page is still up! Do join our FB group or Instagram Page to avoid missing out on upcoming workshops and training.
Several queries have come in asking for training in the Psychodrama method, and we are planning a series of workshops to be run in January 2022. Our pilot series of workshops run so far has been received with enthusiasm, and this we will be offering in 2022. The series, ‘Creating An Atmosphere of Hope’, will be in 4 parts. Each workshop is a stand-alone session, but if you attend all four, you will benefit greatly as they build on the skills learned in the previous workshop. There is a bundle discount, of course, for all 4 so do sign up quickly. Unfortunately, places are limited due to pandemic restrictions.
As always, do come for our Open sessions or join one of our Personal Growth Groups, which have been fantastic for supporting people through much of this year! Do bring your friends and introduce them to this wonderful method. We find that word of mouth is our best marketing tool! So, if Psychodrama has done something amazing for you, spread the joy!
Lastly, we want to hear from you! Let us know how we can better serve you. Do fill out our survey to give us feedback on what your needs are. Our hope is that a community of psychodrama enthusiasts may affect change in the lives of people around us. As Moreno put it, “A truly therapeutic procedure can have for its objective no less than the whole of mankind.”
The pandemic changed the way I run groups and has called on me for greater spontaneity and resilience.Â What I took so much for granted has become a luxury today.Â Having large groups in a room, smilling about and shaking hands is a sweet memory from a day I hope will return someday.Â
This year in January 2021, we began our first group in Singapore after the number of cases dropped and the situation remained fairly stable. We were allowed a total of eight (8) people in the room, including myself. With two large bottles of sanitizer and a box of disposable masks, we began our first session. We sat one meter apart (roughly 39 inches), and began with introductions. So how do group members see each other and have connection with faces obscured by masks and social distancing creating further separation?
With only eyes exposed and body language to read, the power of tele still is at work.
Tele, a term coined by Jacob Moreno, is referred to by him as the invisible connection that flows between two people. Ann Hale, in her book, *â€˜Conducting Clinical Sociometric Explorationsâ€™, states Morenoâ€™s definition of it as, â€˜insight intoâ€™, â€˜appreciation ofâ€™, and â€˜feeling forâ€™, the â€˜actual makeupâ€™ of the other person. Most of us have experienced â€˜teleâ€™. That inexplicable feeling that you â€˜clickâ€™ with someone after talking for a short time. Often it starts before you meet, when you see each other across a room and know that you would like to meet this person. It is that intangible element that attracts people to each other and starts the process of communication. These connections between people were observed by Moreno who began to map them out in his studies of social networks. This study of connections between people he termed as Sociometry from the Latin root words â€œsociusâ€™ for companion and â€˜metrumâ€™ for measurement.
Planning the sessions, I always begin with Sociometry. As Ann Hale says Sociometryâ€™s purpose is to reveal information about group members and to show, â€œâ€¦ the connections which exist between group members.â€ Shared experiences people have are discovered as we do warmups such as â€˜Polaritiesâ€™, Locograms, Spectograms and other sociometric structures. These exercises get people moving and into their bodies, thereby assisting them to access their spontaneity more easily.
Sociometry includes having people choose based on certain criterion with a view that the choice will lead to an action. For example, asking the group, â€œWho would you like to have lunch with later today?â€, means that their choices will be followed by them having lunch with the person they chose. Thus tele comes into play as people make choices. The work of a group leader is then to pick warm up exercises that help to reveal more about each individual so that each group member has a higher likelihood of being chosen by others. So the outliers who are shy reveal surprising details about their lives and interests that make them more attractive as choices to others in the group. This has the power to often re-distribute the attention from the most chosen person in the group to others, thereby creating more inclusion and group cohesion.
During one of our sessions the protagonist chose someone to play her younger self, feeling ashamed that she couldnâ€™t understand the language everyone else was speaking in the pre-school. She felt alone and that nobody was going to help her. After the drama, the auxillary she chose shared a story about how she had also been shamed for not being able to speak the language in pre-school and was still carrying the trauma and shame. The person the protagonist had chosen to play the teacher, shared that he comes from a long line of teachers which was why he could take on the role so easily. This all came as a surprise to the protagonist who had no idea about the backgrounds of these two group members, but she acted on her sense of connection and insight into the makeup of people in the group.
In another session, a woman who was doing a drama about her mother chose someone who had a mother with similar issues. This was not known to the protagonist and during the sharing, the auxilary spoke about having a similar mother who was clinically depressed and stayed in her room all the time just like that of the protagonist. She was able to play the role so well because it was so familiar to her! Many such â€˜coincidencesâ€™ have led me to consider tele as an almost intuitive knowing that we each have within us. This knowing seems to be activated by our spontaneity as we go with the flow. There is almost an existential aspect to it which echoes Morenoâ€™s theory that we are all connected via the universal consciousness of the â€˜Godheadâ€™, as he put it.
As I look back on these sessions, I am once again blown away by the power of the action method of psychodrama and sociometry. Using it to build the group, I see how true Ann Haleâ€™s words are when she says Sociometry is â€œâ€¦a methodological necessity for the conscientious group leaderâ€¦â€. I echo this sentiment as I lean on sociometry to build connections far beyond what the eye can see!
*Hale, Ann E. (1981). Conducting clinical sociometric explorations. Royal Publishing Company: Roanoke, Virginia.
Time has flown by this year and we hope it’s been a year of discovery and enlightenment for you – but if it hasn’t, no worries!
We’ve lined up some great events for you to close off 2019 with a skip in your step!
Personal Growth Group: Rising Above II (5 Weeks)
Our Personal Growth Groups will use psychodrama which employs a combination of experiential methods â€“ sociometry, role theory, and group dynamics â€“ to facilitate insight, personal growth, spontaneity, self-discovery, and integration of the mind, body and emotions.
Experience the fun and spontaneity of working together in a group of individuals from all walks of life. Participants will be given the opportunity to explore their own Psychodrama in this group within the 5 sessions.
Places are limited to 8 individuals for this group with 5 consecutive weekly sessions starting 22 November 2019, every Friday from 7.00pm to 9.30pm.
Schedule*: â€“ 22 November 2019 â€“ 29 November 2019 â€“ 6 December 2019 â€“ 13 December 2019 â€“ 20 December 2019 *subject to change
Standard: SG $250.00
*Open Sessions are a prerequisite for first-timers intending to join Personal Growth Groups.
This workshop will equip you to engage your group members in activities that will promote spontaneity and deeper sharing; that goes beyond talk therapy. Participants will learn how to warm their groups up and to facilitate lively role playing and group participation.