Sociodrama: Its history, basic principles and structure28.04.2022
Going back to the early 1920s, we find a young imaginative researcher, Jacob Moreno, who placed in the centre of his theory humans as an organic and necessary part of society, in which they participate adapting to various social roles. Moreno studied medicine, mathematics and philosophy. As a student, he rejected Freud's theory - which “moved” individuals away from the “non-human” society of the 19th century and “placed” them in the treatment room to protect them. Moreno was interested in the possibilities given to individuals by participating in groups, and therefore he was one of the pioneers of group psychotherapy.
We want people to talk about their shared experiences in Eleusis. We want to shed light on their patterns, their various relationships (family, friends, social and professional interactions) and how they perceive and experience their living conditions.
We want to look into the internal structure of Eleusis’s community as a social group regarding their social interactions beyond what "meets the eye".
Sociodrama allows participants to take on different roles related to problems that the members of the community face and act on them as if they experienced a real-life situation in a “place-action-motivation” framework.
Finally, it is a method where the group is addressed to the group itself and not to the individuals.
A group methodology - A group experiential process
Sociodrama is a group methodology that focuses on problem-solving practices within human relationships. It cultivates an understanding of the social systems and behaviours that shape individual and collective identities, exploring social issues, social justice, trauma, prejudice, stigma, interpersonal tension, intergroup conflicts, treatment, justice, etc. It also implicates many non-verbal communication indicators (facial expressions, posture, eye contact, gestures, tone of voice, body language, physical movement, etc.).
Furthermore, sociodrama enhances members' understanding of their values and feelings and offers an opportunity to experiment with new behaviours.
The ultimate goal of sociodrama is to enable individuals to distance themselves from social behaviours they are accustomed to and react in a different way and/or role.
Sociodrama also works endoscopically at an individual level. At the beginning of a sociodrama session, once the topic is defined, participants’ common features, thoughts, feelings and hopes are brought to the surface as they explore themselves and their place in society.
Structure of a typical sociodrama session:
- Warm-up: Participants decide on the subject matter they will tackle.
- Casting of characters: Participants either decide on their roles spontaneously or the moderator proceeds with the casting.
- Role Development: Participants expand their roles as they imagine them.
Each sociodrama session ends with discussing the group's approach to the subject, possible solutions, new ideas presented, etc. That works in a mirroring and reflective way, addressing the intellect and the emotion and enabling the creation of synapses between the social roles we take on in real life and the roles represented within the sociodrama sessions.