Humanistic Psychodrama – Charter of advanced training

Advanced Training – Overview

The Psychotherapeutic Insititute Bergerhausen under the management of Hans-Werner Gessmann follows Moreno in his core concept of integrating interactional reality and biographically determined autonomy of the individual and emphasizes the unity of both elements in therapeutic work.

Interactional reality means that sociality becomes true commonality, at the same time creating a social reality that deeply determines the individual in within the situation. As the individual co-creates situational reality, it becomes more than just an other-directed object. Interactional reality can be understood as a function of a creational process towards a kind of commonality. The individual can, however, never be seen as a pure, individuality that exclusively belong to him alone, but always in the current, creative design of his individual biography that is directed towards a certain social situation.

The Psychotherapeutic Insititute Bergerhausen under the management of Hans-Werner Gessmann follows Moreno in his core concept of integrating interactional reality and biographically determined autonomy of the individual and emphasizes the unity of both elements in therapeutic work.

Interactional reality means that sociality becomes true commonality, at the same time creating a social reality that deeply determines the individual in within the situation. As the individual co-creates situational reality, it becomes more than just an other-directed object. Interactional reality can be understood as a function of a creational process towards a kind of commonality. The individual can, however, never be seen as a pure, individuality that exclusively belong to him alone, but always in the current, creative design of his individual biography that is directed towards a certain social situation.

Sociality, however, has not only a material value that enables the individual to express himself in a social context, but it is an active factor itself that, together with individual biographical proportions, creates interactional reality. This situation is called expressive state. It serves as the base for psychodrama therapy and en ables therapeutically guided work with the expressive state.

The expressive state sets in when people come together and the lower the official part of the situation is, the higher is its degree of openness. It includes many different factors, such as: the situation’s societal and cultural conditions, spatial and temporal circumstances and especially biographical individual shares of those involved.

Every interactional situation manifests as an integration of social and individual-psychological shares. An expressive state is created that, depending on its compounding conditions and factors, can be rather flexible or rather encrusted.

Humanistic Psychodrama, at this point, starts with an active and integrative process in the encounter of people. Due to the many group-therapeutic experiences with psychodrama, methods have been developed that support the formation of a group with an open expressive state, that can incorporate other, or more biographical parts that are possible for the participants in their normal life.

Together with their therapist and based on their interaction with each other, the members of the group create a therapy situation that provides an extended space for experience and action for the individual. Based on that, therapeutical forms of theater and role play are used to intensively shape the experiences, memories and desires that have surfaced during the group’s interaction and to develop and experience them in the context of the current expressive state.

Humanistic psychodrama has only briefly been touched upon in terms of theory and practice and some important thoughts have been outlined. It is based on the works of Jakob Levy Moreno and has also incorporated newer psychotherapeutic developments.

At the same time humanistic psychodrama relates to the therapeutic experiences of humanistic psychology. Humanistic psychology wants to provide a scope of action and experience for the individual that is based on shared social experiences and that aims to enable the individual to unfold his spiritual and mental potential in his social reality. The therapeutic play within the group, offers the possibility to realize both contents in therapy, resulting in a healing and resolving experience.

Humanistic psychodrama as a form of therapy can be applied in special therapeutical groups, but can also be realized as a method within „life groups“. Thus, psychodramatic methods can be used in stationary institutions, homes, therapeutical communities and in special outpatient patient groups. Humanistic psychodrama has also proven itself in child therapy, gerontological therapy and addiction therapy.

Apart from these psychotherapeutic fields of work it has also succeeded as a accompanying methods for self-awareness work, supervision and as a pedagogical instrument. Depending on its area of application, such as staff development and manager training, psychodrama has undergone certain changes, without losing its core values.

Training as a Psychodrama-Assistent

The advanced training program „Psychodrama Assistant“ includes an introduction into humanistic psychodrama. The participants of a self-awareness group are being familiarized with the structure of psychodrama groups. In this group they learn how to handle to specific diagnostic and therapeutic methods of psychodrama. They are empowered to apply the methods of psychodrama within the context of their own sociality and biography and to adjust their therapeutical work to the group and to every single member of this group and at the same time realize their limits that are posed by their current level of knowledge.

In the accompanying practical part of the training and also in the supervision part, the participants are supposed to transfer their psychodramatical knowledge onto their work experiences and reflect upon those topics within the group.

Psychodrama as a form of therapy and a method of self-awareness is always strongly bound to its practical realization that already takes place during the advanced training for the „Psychodrama Assistant“. The advanced training takes place in self-awareness groups that are the vehicle for gaining relevant practical knowledge. This very practically oriented work is being reflected upon conceptually and systematically in theoretical seminars and displayed in a overarching psychological context.

Advanced Training – Goals

The advanced training aims at:

Enabling the participants to work as an assistant of a psychodrama therapist in psychodrama groups

Lead groups psychodramatically that work with self-awareness and/or themed contents

Developing conflictual experiences, attitudes and behavioral patterns from one’s own biography and socialization and to change, if necessary, one’s own beliefs.

Mastering the psychodrama’s therapeutic and diagnostic methods and being able to apply them to groups.

Tackle problems with a psychodramatic approach, plan their analysis and develop methodological problem solving strategies

Master knowledge about psychological diagnostics, group development and personality psychology that is relevant for psychodrama and to be able to apply this knowledge in psychodramatical practice.

Studying psychodramatical terminology, hypotheses, and models with regard to specific methodological critique.

Advanced Training – Requirements

  1. The admission to the advanced training in psychodrama requires in general a completed apprenticeship, occupation or university degree that are textually related to working with people. The professional range reaches from medical, psychological, social, school educational and theological to nursing professions.

2. The applicant should have some experience in psychodramatic group work or other therapeutic groups.

3. The motivation that drives the participant to take this advanced training course is vital. It is absolutely central to the selection process and can be
    decisive in exceptional cases.

Application

The application for the advanced training needs to be handed in in written form. Please send it to the office of the PIB GmbH.

Please hand in the following documents:

– personal data sheet

– passport photo

– letter of motivation

– certificates of your school and professional career (copies)

The applicant will be invited to an interview. The decision about the applicant’s admission to the advanced training will be made by the examination board of the institute.

The focus of the advanced training in humanistic psychodrama is the acquisition of competence in therapeutic acting. The base consists of psychodramatic diagnostics and methods. Consequently, the advanced training is very practically oriented.

The advanced training takes place in an experience group that serves as the environment that allows them participants to learn essential therapeutic contents of psychodrama within in the frame of their current social and psychological situation. Content of the advanced training are never solely presented in an abstract manner but rather taught with by taking into account one’s own self-awareness.

The advanced training takes place as tangible therapeutic work that is complemented by systematic phases of reflection and is brought back to the reality of the self-awareness group through exercise sequences. The course makes sure to integrate professional and private experiences of the participants into the advanced training.

Every pschodramatic method and concept of action is therefor practiced within the current group situation, that requires the application of these concepts and methods, making sure, the advanced training remains related to practice.

In order to also warrant this practical relevance outside the advanced training group, a supervision is required that enables the participants to gain additional knowledge. These experiences are being documented and studied in the supervision group. This practically oriented learning method that is based on awareness is complemented by theory sessions that allow for a theoretical reflection of the course’s contents and their systematic development. These theoretical sessions are not merely restricted to humanistic psychodrama but they also include distinctions from and similarities to other forms of therapy.

As the contents of the advanced training feed on the current situational developments within the group, the teaching methods complicate the determination of a fixed cycle of advanced training with a single topic for every lesson. Nevertheless, there are possibilities and the need to plan the basic topical course of the advanced training.

Advanced Training – Structure 

The advanced training takes two years to complete. In this period the participants personally work on psychodrama in order to obtain the desired qualification. The advanced training consists of 208 practical lessons, 32 supervision lessons and different theory seminars.

In order not to interrupt the learning process of the group and the participants, an continuous participation in all sessions is required. Participants are allowed to be absent with a valid excuse from a maximum of 32 session. Further absence is not permitted and results in the termination of the advanced training.

Possible topics for theory sessions

    • History and development of group psychotherapy and psychodrama
    • Structural and methodological basics of humanistic psychodrama
    • Philosophical and psychological principles of psychodrama
    • Sociometry and group processes
    • Concepts of interaction and communication
    • Role-theories in humanistic psychodrama

Graduation

After completing the advanced training over the course of 13 practical weekends and after completing the supervision work, the final exam can be taken, resulting in the certificate of „Psychodrama Assistant“. The exam is practical and takes place in the group of the advanced training participants. The theoretical exam consists of a written term paper. The participant will receive a report detailing the results of their exams and a certificate for the successful completion of the advanced training. (For further information, please read the exam regulations).