Iron 20: The Psychodrama

Project Start: July 17, 2017

Project Completion Goal: September 6, 2017

Description: Participate in a psychodrama group which blends theatre and therapy

September 6, 2017: Can't we just act like nothing is wrong?

The day of our group therapy session finally arrived. There were five of us, including Claire, and we were all understandably apprehensive. The idea of being vulnerable with friends and/or strangers is not a comfortable place to be for most. But Claire put us right at ease with some warming up exercises. The thing about this kind of therapy, it is very physical. You have to get out of your seat, movement is coupled with talking. And often, when you get to much into your head and out of your body, the therapist will bring you back, by literally inviting you to engage your body (unfold your arms, look at where you are, feel your feet touching the floor, take a step and begin again). Trust was expected and given, and we did several different exercises over the course of 3 hours. For about 1h15m we focused on one member of the group and we then began to "set up a scene" also called a "sculpt". The results are often surprising. For example, you may have some issue you'd like to sort out...something left unsaid or unfinished with a parent. In a case like this, one of the members of the group will play the role of your parent, and you will then describe your relationship, how they are, things they were likely to say. Then, the scene begins to play itself out. It seems like it would all be so pretend...but then in magically isn't. In many ways, it is the same as the ability to take on the feelings and emotions of your favorite character on TV. Only in this case, the character is you. We were so happy to complete this Iron, and are likely to try and do more work with Claire in the future. It is fascinating to see how the art of theater and acting can have such a powerful affect in the science of psychotherapy!

July 17, 2017: When simply talking isn't enough

There is a fascinating discipline of psychology that delivers therapy coupled with re-enactments, acting, and well: performing arts! This is something that Steven has had some experience with through personal and leadership retreats at a wonderful program outside of Nashville called Onsite. In Utah, we also have many trained therapists in this discipline, one who we know is Claire Fierman Mattison, CMHC and we thought: Why not take on an Iron that really is personal, and host a group psychodrama session. Now, what is expressed and dealt with in a therapeutic setting is no one's business but the willing participants -- so for this Iron, we will use some discretion and focus more on sharing what it means to match up art and psychology, and why that can be such a powerful tool.

Check out this video about psychodrama from Lesley University's Master Degree program. Photo credit to them for the Image used in the title bar, too.