Psychodrama: techniques

Role reversal, doubling, mirroring - important techniques in psychodrama

Although psychodrama sets the framework, the design of the game is open. The players should finally implement the theme according to their own ideas and their creative and spontaneous possibilities. The variety of techniques within the Psychodrama is great, because it is not, as often assumed, a simple role-playing game.

Distribution of a classic psychodrama

A classic psychodrama consists of three parts:

  1. The warming-up phase: She enlists the group, defining a topic or problem that the group wants to work on psychodramatically.
  2. In the game phase, the theme comes on stage and is presented in scenic terms.
  3. In the final phase, group members explain to the protagonist their experiences that are similar to the theme or conflict depicted. The players inform about what and how they experienced and felt in the respective roles.

The role reversal is considered the most important element in psychodrama. The game master asks the protagonist to take on the role of another person. The goal of the role exchange is to gain an understanding of the other person and to experience situations from the perspective of the other. When doubling, a second person takes the same posture of the protagonist behind him and expresses feelings, sometimes even thoughts in the ego form, that could correspond to the emotional state of the protagonist.

In psychodrama the doubling person is called "auxiliary ego". The keyword here is sympathy. In this way, he comes more easily in contact with his own feelings. The protagonist may also correct what has been said. This technique makes it easier for him to come back to experience and action, especially in the case of inner blockades such as suppressed desires and emotions.

When mirroring, the protagonist should look at his own scene from a distant perspective. A "doppelganger" repeats a game scene of the protagonist and imitates it in verbiage, facial expressions and gestures, so that he looks at himself with the view from the outside as if in a mirror - this is where emotional distance is formed. With the group leader he can discuss questions or impressions regarding his own behavior. New ideas arise as to how one's own behavior can be changed.

Through the emotional distance even from sometimes incriminating topics you get an overview and releases creativity.


The spectrum for psychodrama is comprehensive: as individual, family and group psychotherapy, in the drug work, personnel or team development. Situations within the group, in couples or in one-on-one sessions, for example to clarify problematic interpersonal relationships, can be identified and treated in psychodrama.

In the game, the participants recognize communication disruptions and reveal causes of conflict. Deadlocked role patterns can be broken down and practice new behaviors. Participants recognize and accept boundaries and or learn to overcome the associated insults and frustrations.

Therapies with the help of psychodrama in Germany - unlike in Austria - are not recognized as outpatient procedures by health insurers. In Germany, "psychodrama as a therapeutic procedure, therefore, preferably in hospitals" fed, write M. Rosenbaum and U. Kroneck in their book Psychodrama . Very often, therefore, one finds psychodrama in educational and business areas.

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