‘Psychodrama, you say?
Sounds kind of kooky, a little bit ‘out there’.
Maybe something for creative types.
But not for me…’

Certainly this is a common reaction to the concept of psychodrama – a form of group therapy which is growing in popularity.

With the support of other group members, participants are invited to act out feelings about issues and events in their lives.

It’s therapy meets drama – and people are discovering it can have a powerful impact in working through pain, trauma, or everyday life struggles.

Psychodrama facilitator Dimitrios Papalexis, who is also on staff at South Eastern Community Connect, recently offered a sampler to attendees of one of our mental health workshops.

After a talk on managing depression by Shai Mikus from Black Dog Institute, visitors shuffled into a warm room with gentle music playing.

Here, Dimitrios asked us to share our thoughts on the talk.

The presentation had included Shai’s powerful story of living with a schizophrenic mother and an abusive father – and managing her mental illnesses as an adult.

We were able to get to know each other before Dimitrios asked us to physically mark out how we were feeling about life this week, from a scale of one to 10.

Some gathered in the ‘I’m struggling’ space, while others, who felt ‘on top of the world’, stood on the other end of the continuum.

We were then invited to reflect with each other on why we chose that place in the scale.

As we sat back down, Dimitrios opened the group up to a discussion.

People began to talk about their frustrations with those who seek to exploit vulnerable people.

One participant, who struggles with depression, spoke about self-help gurus within the positive psychology movement who sought to extract thousands of dollars from people desperate for a cure.

As she spoke, Dimitrios gently invited her to ‘act out’ her frustrations before then asking another group member to pretend to be the self-help guru.

The ‘performance’ was at times funny, at times moving – and never failed to engage its audience.

And as participants expressed themselves, we found ourselves in their story.

Psychodrama, to me, seems a powerful and creative way to safely engage with feelings and ideas in a group setting.

It has the potential to build a sense of community in ways we might never have imagined for ourselves – and I can’t wait to find out more.

Interested in joining our psychodrama workshops this year? Contact us and we’ll get back to you with more information.


* Story by Alison Leader, SECC’s Communications Manager. 

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