By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
This year, psychodrama is celebrating its 100th year. That’s a lot of years.
It's been an interesting century. Every serious psychodrama student knows the history of this amazing method. A young physician, fascinated by theater and priding himself a rebel to the Freudian philosophy of the time, rents a theater in Vienna on April 1, 1921. He dresses dramatically as a jester and places a throne on the empty stage. With dignitaries watching, he invites someone to sit upon the throne, willing to take leadership of still-recovering Austria, which was repairing the ravages of World War I.
In celebrating this psychodrama milestone, we have the opportunity to look at its history and evolution through the years. Indeed, it may be challenging to find a philosophy that is hardly known by the public and at the same time so firmly embedded in our culture with group therapy, support groups, social networks, role play, experiential psychotherapy and other action activities.
By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
Let’s talk about puppets. And play. And why play is so essential for discovery, growth, healing and change no matter who you are or how old you are.
Play is often considered suitable for little people – children – until they are able to grow older and “talk” about their problems and transition into the kind of therapy that “big people” do. Which is why I want to tell you about puppets, stuffed animals and dolls and their value for people of all ages. The fact is that children, teens and adults hugely benefit from play as a genuine therapeutic intervention that not only support learning to emotionally regulate but also to build spontaneity and creativity that is so valued in Dr. J.L. Moreno’s method of psychodrama.
My good friend and colleague Linda Ciotola, M.Ed., TEP, and I have talked a lot about this. We co-wrote the book Healing Eating Disorders with Psychodrama and Other Action Methods: Beyond the Silence and the Fury, where we briefly the use of props in education and psychotherapy, and we mention play in our conversations practically all the time. One of the best times I've had in recent years is sitting in Linda's play room in her home, talking with puppets.
Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, is an author, trainer and psychotherapist who promotes, practices and teaches experiential methods including psychodrama, Family and Systemic Constellations, mindfulness and Tarot imagery.
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