Russian-German Training in Humanistic Psychodrama

Evgeny Sheronov and Pavel Sevastyanov, staff members of the International Centre for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy of the Pedagogical-Psychological Institute of the Kostroma State Nekrassow University, took part in the seminar “Humanistic Psychodrama” from January 30th to February 12th 2014 at the Psychotherapeutic Institute Bergerhausen (Germany, Duisburg) under the direction of their scientific supervisor Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Gessmann. Pavel and Evgeny were accepted into the Russian-German training group, which consisted of colleagues from the Moscow State Psychological-Pedagogical University as well as psychologists working in social institutions in Duisburg and surrounding cities. Dr. Rimma Chirkina, head of the Laboratory for Youth Technologies of the MSPPU, accompanies the Russian participants as coordinator.

E. Sheronov: “Although this trip was no longer our first internship in Germany, we had prepared very carefully for it. The journey to our destination took 9 hours: Kostroma-Moscow, Moscow-Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf-Duisburg. Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Gessmann, Director of the PIB, warmly welcomed us. Food and stay were organized by his institute.

The next day we visited an anatomical exhibition “Körperwelten” in the city of Bochum. Currently, more than 37 million people have visited this exhibition. 200 real human bodies, including plastinates of individual body parts and organs, are exhibited, which in the opinion of the organizers, are suitable to demonstrate the visitors the possibilities and the beauty of the human body. All over the world there is a discussion about the ethical side of the production of such exhibits.

After a short rest we went into the seminars. The courses took place every day from 10 to 16 o’clock. Not only Humanistic Psychodrama, but also the German-Russian composition of the group was very interesting for us.

Pavel Sevastyanov carried out the simultaneous translation of the professor’s work and the feedback, which enabled the Russian and German participants of the group to cooperate. These were very interesting experiences! At the end of each event we wrote a protocol. This enabled us to obtain a certificate of our participation in the Institute’s training programme. In order to receive the Psychodrama Assistant Diploma, the participants need 208 hours of seminars, 40 hours of supervision, and a written theoretical paper on Humanistic Psychodrama. The examination should also be passed. We plan to continue the training with Prof. Gessmann. The possibility for that exists at the International Center for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy of the KSU (ICCPP). Prof. Gessmann has been working at the ICCPP for several years in April and September. In the middle of our training the school group from Moscow visited us. Prof. Gessmann told them the story of his institute, which is one of the oldest private psychotherapeutic institutes in Germany. The students became very interested and asked many questions.

At the centre of our training we were invited to the city of Kempen for a second special exhibition. Hermann and Ute Schmitz have been involved in charity in Paraguay for 20 years. They develop foundations for humanitarian aid and provide free medical aid. With this exhibition they wanted to draw the attention of the visitors to the way of life of the native Paraguayans, their social and everyday problems. After the exhibition, during a dinner together in a Turkish restaurant, Hermann Schmitz told us about his initiatives, about what has been done and what is still planned. A larger number of people in his area are willing to commit themselves for a long time to help the needy.

On the last day of our trip we were invited by the music therapist Lüdger Sümpelmann to visit the city of Mühlheim. Lüdger introduced us to the organisations where he works with children and young people. One of them – “Ginko” – is a foundation for the prevention of addiction (alcohol consumption, smoking, drugs). Armin Köppe, an employee of the foundation, introduced us to his professional work. We were amazed at how large the organization was and how many methods it used. For example, there are about 130 branches in North Rhine-Westphalia alone. We also visited some children’s homes where they work on psychological development with children in complicated social situations and difficulties. It is interesting that they live, learn and are treated therapeutically in one and the same institution, which is very well equipped.

The free time in the evening and another day off enabled us to arrange the training and travel program through German cities. We would like to express our gratitude to the head of the Kostroma State Nekrassow University, to the head of the Bergerhausen Psychotherapeutic Institute and to Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Gessmann personally.