Sociodrama is a method for exploring the relationships within and between groups in societies, whether local, national, global or universal. The practitioner learns to analyse such ‘systems’ by setting them out physically (concretising) using objects or group members as representations, giving voice to these identified roles within the system. Through role exploration (role reversal, doubling, mirroring etc), the practitioner becomes a change agent, helping the group to identify where new responses might be possible and to practise the necessary skills to achieve the desired change. The emphasis is always on understanding how individuals, teams, and organisations function.
Sociodrama is based on the work of Dr Jacob Levy Moreno (1889-1974), who is also known for his creation of psychodrama, a method of group psychotherapy which focuses on the inner process of an individual to help achieve understanding and change. Action methods encompass a wide range of techniques and approaches. A simple example would be for members of an organisation to move around in the space and form a ‘map’ of the internal groups or departments, to explore the lines of communication among them. Action methods draw on role theory, role training, sociometry and sociodrama.
Sociodrama and action methods are profoundly effective and are used worldwide in organisational and professional settings. They may be used for many purposes including to:
- assist communication, negotiation, conflict management and team building;
- do stakeholder analysis, action research and strategic planning;
- predict outcomes or rehearse implementation;
- supervise managerial or training problems;
- problem-solving methods that enliven, enlighten and are effective.
International organisations promoting Sociodrama and Action Methods
British Psychodrama Association (BPA)
Federation of European Psychodrama Training Organisations (FEPTO)
Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Psychodrama Association (AANZPA)
American Group Psychotherapy Organisation (AGPA)
International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes (IAGP)
Sociodrama Centre Romania
Sociodrama in a Changing World: Wiener, R., Adderley, D. and Kirk, K. (eds) 2011
Wiener, R. 1997: Creative Training, Jessica Kingsley
Sternberg, P. and Garcia, A. 2000: Sociodrama, Who’s in Your Shoes?
Blatner, A. 2007: Interactive and Improvisational Drama.
Kellerman, P.F. 2007: Sociodrama and Collective Trauma