By: Tammy Stoner, LCSW
Some times the basic presumptions of
psychotherapy conflict with managed care requirements of gathering
information extraordinarily fast, and helping people get treatment
results at full speed. At times assessing problems, and developing
effective treatment plans take longer than the traditional
psychotherapeutic process has trained us for. It's not our fault
that it takes so long to get treatment results, there is a shortage
of treatment tools.
Psychodrama, a method of practice developed by J L Moreno, can be a
highly effective method of generating breakthrough results
extraordinarily fast. All integrations of human beings are accessed,
creativity, thinking, family relationships, healing and
spirituality, are incorporated into the process, and techniques
taught that can be applied outside of the counselor's office, and in
the home, work, and relationship settings are learned.
What can you expect from psychodrama in a clinical setting?
As you might expect, psychodrama involves skills and techniques from
the acting world, combined with psychological and sociological
training, to produce dramatic action. Just as in drama, a skit is
developed and written, out of the purposes and needs of the
individual, of which it is being applied. Group members take part in
each others dramas, so that they can bring these dramas as close to
home as possible. They become real, and surreal characters.
Characters found in their own lives, mapped out as MeBears.
This has the effect of encouraging group participation so that
learning can be applied. Individuals can practice new skills, and
teachings inside the group, inside a "safety net", before taking
them home to practice with "real life" relationships.
The process of psychodrama reaches into the subjective experience of
human beings. Through the subjective experience, old agendas can be
healed and completed. The individual can explore the past, present
and future through acting out skits, and real life scenarios.
Movement by movement, living sculptures are designed, built and
evolved. An exploration of self in relation to others is molded
through the subjective experience, and participants benefit with
greater insights and the ability to step into another's life
experience through role play, and drama. It adds the element of
entertainment, drama, and play. It's fun.
The movement in psychodrama in a clinical setting is powerful
leaving profound impacts. Yet like other art forms, it has
limitations. It takes quite a bit of skill and leadership to guide
it, and it can be a bold step, too fast for a psychosocial
evaluation, before adequate trust and safety has been established.
It's a direct and active approach. It depends upon more than one
person to act out the scripts for best results, and group is the
The Teddy Bear Technique® applies an active direct approach through
the application of MeBear Family members, and also has limitations,
as it is being introduced as a "playful object for adults" of both
genders. However, since it has huge appeal as an object, and
generates extraordinary curiosity, upon learning it will be used as
a treatment tool, it's easy to engage with this object, and,
relatively simple to break through resistances, even with adults.
The teddy bear adds an element of safety, throughout all phases of
the treatment process. Projection onto a teddy bear is easy. Like
many skits in practice, it's movement is in and out of the MeBear
Transitional objects, such as the MeBear Family applied, in the
Teddy Bear Technique® demonstrate a moving tool, and technique, and
add a level of safety, in applying elements of psycho drama in a
session. Safer because it doesn't ask "people to move", it asks
people to move "MeBears", adding a depth, unique as an art form, and
an "infantile" element of safety as an object. Naturally the Teddy
Bear Technique® evokes conversation, and stories while adding the
element of play, and creativity in it's application.
Psychodrama sets the stage, for people to act. The Teddy Bear
Technique® establishes a floor plan, for teddies to interact as
objects, narrated by self, through scripts designed by director. The
treatment provider helps create the parameters, to give the tool
form, and help with "set" and "stage" design. The setting, and time
established, change between past, present and future as the stories
flow, and objects move.
While the process of the Teddy Bear Technique® frequently begins
with everything beginning with the Me MeBear, and then extending
outward into other relationships, tremendous opportunities to shift
roles, and explore others perspectives of position exist.
Opportunities to play out characters, through the MeBear Family,
extend into describing a myriad of relationships, and rescripting
them in sculpture.
The applications of the Teddy Bear Technique® have been evidenced
based, and conducted in community mental health centers, child and
family welfare agencies, hospitals and schools, and amongst private
practice practitioners More information can be found at
The author sells the Teddy Bear Technique® Toolkit to treatment
providers including a complete program with the MeBear Family,
specifically designed for this model.
Look for seminars, workshops and new ebooks coming to the website
June, 2007. Tammy Stoner All rights reserved.