Psychodrama & Creativity:
Applications Ready-To-Use

© Copyright
2007, Rob Pramann, Ph.D., TEP, CGP
Shepherd's Staff Training in Psychodrama
January 27, 2007 2:15 pm - 3:45 pm

The following is an outline to a presentation given at the Idaho Counselor Association Annual Conference, Developing our Creativity as Counselors -- Put Your Signature on the World, January 26-27, 2007. PDF and Word versions are also available.

Synopsis: Early on, J. L. Moreno (1889-1975), was struck by the creativity of children and this intrigue is at the core of Psychodrama, the approach he developed. Come to participate in this didactic, experiential, and question and answer session to the degree you are comfortable.

Participants will learn:
The theory behind how one learns roles/role of psychodrama director,
A variety of readily usable psychodramatic techniques,
How they could be used in the participant’s setting, and
How they could be used to develop into a full psychodramatic enactment.

Moreno’s Role Theory Applied to Learning Roles/Directing Psychodrama

Moreno believed that the personality develops out of the roles we have learned rather than personality dictating the roles we play. Hence in his view hesitation about directing psychodrama or action methods can be viewed not as timidity or an introverted personality but rather as the result of an undeveloped or underdeveloped role.

Role Development Related to the Canon of Creativity

Note. From “Conducting Clinical Sociometric Explorations: A Manual for Psychodramatists and Sociometrists” (p.8), by A. E. Hale, 1981, Roanoke, VA: Royal. Copyright 1981 by Anne E. Hale. Reproduced and adapted with permission.

In his way of thinking learning a role begins with perception of the functions and actions that comprise the role and expectations about the enactment of the role based on observation of others enacting it. Often a person’s taking on a role is the result of “act hunger,” seeing what they want and pursuing it. The first attempt at role taking is one of imitating the observable behavior and behavior patterns of others. As such, a person is taking on a conserved role, because there is little spontaneity or creativity involved in the enactment. As the person learns the various aspects of the new role through role playing their enactment of the role can become increasingly novel and effective. Roles are complimentary and reciprocal.

Learning to direct in psychodrama then occurs experientially through observation and experience. Starting out one can begin by imitating the more basic behaviors and gradually increasing their repertoire.

Readily Usable Psychodramatic Techniques

Warm Ups [additional information: description of effective warm ups for adults (Pramann, 2005) and my edited list of warm up ideas for children and adolescents (Pramann, 2002)]

1. Well of confidentiality.
2. Human map.
3. Human time line.
4. "Greet this stuffed animal as if it were you."
5. "Introduce yourself through the eyes of someone else in your social atom (someone who knows you).”
6. Spectrograms
a. How connected to the group do you feel?
b. How safe do you feel in the group?
c. How committed are you to this program, treatment, etc.? Where are you now? Where do you want to be?
7. Empty chair – is there some one you have a communication difficulty with? Or unfinished business?

Auxiliary Ego/Role Reversal Exercise [additional information: descriptions of functions and kinds of auxiliary ego roles, including doubling, and role reversal (Pramann, 2004)]

1. Form small groups of five maximum composed of persons with varying levels of familiarity/experience with psychodrama.

2. Each individual is to identify someone to whom they would like to talk.

3. Identify the person who will serve as the first protagonist, have them choose who will play the role of the auxiliary ego (the one to whom the protagonist would like to talk), and identify someone to serve in the role of director.

4. The protagonist will begin by talking briefly about the other person to be played by the auxiliary and then begin by the protagonist talking to the other person (the auxiliary ego). When the problem has been briefly stated or the auxiliary is asked a question they can not answer the director should ask the two to change roles with the auxiliary repeating the last couple of statements or the essence of what the protagonist said.

5. When the protagonist has responded for the other person the auxiliary, at the direction of the director, will resume the role of the other person and repeat the essence or last few words that were just portrayed to which the protagonist will be allowed to respond.

6. In this fashion the role will be changed twice more ending with the protagonist saying their last and closing words to the person played by the auxiliary.

7. End this exercise by deroling the auxiliary, sharing (no questions, analysis or advice, but just what the observers learned from the drama for themselves), and processing (talking about the technique, how it was helpful or not, etc).

Psychodrama and Action Techniques in Your Setting

Counseling and psychotherapy, teaching, training, consultation.

How They Develop Into A Full Psychodramatic Enactment

Warm-up: the director's warm-up, the group warm-up, the sociometric choice.

Action: contract, periphery to the core, catharsis, ending in the present, role training.

Sharing: deroling; no questions, advice, analysis, how you resonated with the protagonist, issues raised for you, "love back," sharing from roles played/self.

Processing (a training phase): director's experience and evaluation; protagonist's experience, feedback, and evaluation of the director; auxiliaries' experience, feedback, and evaluation of the director; audience/group experience, feedback, and evaluation of the director; questions about the process and use of the method; and trainers' teaching points.

Questions and answers.


Hale, E. (1981). Conducting Clinical Sociometric Explorations: A Manual for Psychodramatists and Sociometrists. Roanoke, VA: Royal.

Pramann, R. (2002). Peter Rowan's Warm-Ups and Techniques to be Used with Children andAdolescents. Retrieved January 22, 2007, from

Pramann, R. (2004). Auxiliary Ego Functions: Outline, Guidelines and Experiential Exercises. Retrieved January 22, 2007, from

Pramann, R. (2005). Warm-Ups for Your Back Pocket. Retrieved January 22, 2007, from








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