Psychodrama with children: psychotherapy, care and education - First Part (Simultaneous Translation)
Chairman: Luigi Dotti
Rebecca Walters (USA)
Sociodrama with children groups.
Sociodrama, like Psychodrama, is a way for children to tell their story; find commonality, decrease isolation, express their feelings, help find words, find a safe place to contain strong emotion, create a role that provides impact, provide a corrective experience and expand their role repertoire. Sociodrama typically focuses on large social and political issues involving oppression, social justice and social and political issues of a local and global scale. Sociodrama can also be used with children who are being brought together to address common issues such as divorce, ill siblings, bullying, racism, parents with mental illness, parents who are deployed, family disruption due to war and natural disaster…. and to address other community issues where children might prefer not to reveal so much of their own personal story as they would in a psychodrama group. Without a commitment or contract to offer therapy or counseling, sociodrama works also well in settings such as the classroom, community groups, religious centers, etc. Sociodrama can also be used in residential schools where confidentiality and emotional safety cannot be guaranteed, with short term groups where people do not have time to develop cohesion and safety with one another and in groups where group members are not able to manage their own emotions and have a tendency to become disregulated when addressing issues head on. Sociodrama can also be a deeply therapeutic modality. It can be used to address traumatic issues in children’s personal lives such as abandonment, physical and sexual abuse, parental absence, removal from the home, etc. It is especially useful in settings when the group does not feel safe or cohesive enough to enter into a psychodramatic exploration of a theme. Sociodrama provides the necessary distance for them to manage their emotional regulation. It allows them to stay in their ‘window of tolerance” rather than become hyper- or hypo aroused even while addressing difficult issues. It is often the method of choice when working with younger children. It is, essentially, Play Therapy in Action.
Fabian Blobel (Germany)
About transformers and avatars
The symbol play of the child is a representation of the inner state and the functioning of the psyche.
These narratives reflect the inner working models of the self, the interpretation of its surrounding and the dealing with difficult emotions. This structure of the individual psyche is created and influenced by its personal history. By bringing the inner narratives and fantasies on the outer stage the child is able within the symbol play to repeat, transform or completely leave reality. As psychodramatists it is our aim to explore, to develop and intervene in this surplus reality in a helpful therapeutic and pedagogic way. There is a wide range of different concepts and theories to help the psycho dramatist to analyze and plan adequate interventions. One of these helpfull theories is the consistency theory.
With this theory Grawe (2000/2004) is differentiating scientifically four psychological basic needs of the human being:
- need for relationship and belonging
- need for orientation and control
- need for augmentation of self esteem
- need for seeking pleasure and avoid unpleasure
The healthy child is trying to find an equal satisfaction of all these needs. Challenging relationships and traumatic experiences can change the motivation to realize and satisfy these needs.
Using these four needs as an Interpretation frame we have a powerful tool to analyze the narratives and fantasies of a child. It helps us to see balances and gives us a helpful lead for interventions in redirecting motivation and re-balancing all needs in the surplus reality.
Integrating the concept of the basic needs in the therapeutic, symbol play helps the child to transform his mentalization towards a healthier and more social accepted approach towards relationships and live.
Angela Sordano (Italy)
The adolescent and the virtual body
Social phobia, Hikikomori syndrome, eating disorders present some clinical similarities: the difficulty to define a boundary between the self and the other, to differentiate the subjective reality from the virtual one, and to procede in the separating and individuating process from the family.
A clinical case will be presented and the methodological choises and the theoretical perspecitves at the basis of the passage from an individual setting to a group one pointed out.
Our psychodrama approach integrates morenian technicque, junghian psychodinamic theories and intersubjective group analysis. The focus of the clinical work is based on cohesion, considered as the main therapeutic group factor, and on imaginary process.
The group in this setting becomes a resonant intersubjective collective space, a unique body container able to connect dissociated parts and to reintroduce the adolescent in a developmental register.
The knots in the direction will be evidenced
Key words: adolescent, body, clinical group
Luigi Dotti (Italia)
Psychodrama and sociodrama in the school - The group as a good positive container of fragility and hyperactivity
This report speaks of psychodramatic activity with real groups of children (class groups in the school), with particular attention to the issues of hyperactivity and the difficulty of controlling motor skills and action.
The psychodramatist who works with real groups must pay particular attention to two aspects:
1: the enhancement of the therapeutic function of the peer group (citing and paraphrasing J.L. Moreno
"Every child or child can be a caregiver for another child or girl")
- Attention to the responsibility of the psychodramatist (awareness of the consequences in the real life of the group of psychodramatic activity with the real group).
Some aspects are particularly important in the work with class groups:
- Importance of the relational gaze with respect to listening to the other:
look as an encounter, importance of the act of looking at the other and being seen and recognized by the other, relational awareness, awareness of the sociometric position in the group
- Importance of dyad spontaneity - creativity (factor S-C) and dyad spontaneity - control (action and body awareness, action and self-observation)
- Enhancement of the activity with respect to hyper-activity.
The activity is hic et nunc, spontaneous role (s), therapeutic function of the ritual
hyper-activity is the crystallized role, there and then, repetition, perceptive and emotional egocentrism.
- Importance of the group creation SYMBOLIC, EXPRESSIVE and NARRATIVE, which promotes a new symbolic narrative of the group (group co-unconscious)
Stefan Flegelskamp (Germany)
"The pirates and the cannibals".
The language of children is play; they try to make sense of the world around them in action and not in conversation.
The possibilities offered by “as-if” and “make-believe” open in the most literal sense new playroom, in which children can experience themselves as creators and put the world in their order
Traumatized children seldom express their feelings verbally.
They do not have words for the horror they have experienced. But they express it in a symbolical way in their games.
To understand their trauma and support their way to cure it, the therapists have to enter this world on the psychodramatic stage as an active participant of the story, that has been developed together with the children and in the role, the children chose for them. Children are still in contact with the amazing human creativity. With some support they change painful experiences in a symbolical play into powerful roles, helpful to overcome the trauma and find solutions for their conflicts.