a) J.L.Moreno himself was always concerned with research and , in particular,
measures. Sociometric test is a good example. But it is more useful
in sociological research of small groups than in clinics. Sociometric
practice is widely used in therapeutic psychodrama , but not with the scientific
rigour we need in psychological or psychiatric research . See, for example,
"Forbidden agendas" by Anthony Williams (Tavistock/Routledge,1991).
b) As far as I know, other tests, as the spontaneity test, have
not been developed, after Moreno, in a useful way in psychodrama research.
Could it be, as Moreno suggested, a psychodramatic measure of general psychopathology,
useful even in a non-psychodramatic context? Could psychodramatic methods
add something to the clinical evaluation , even made by non-psychodramatists?
If we say yes, could we teach our colleagues psychodrama as a pattern of
communication (or to understand communication), and not only as a technique,
and could this aim be achieved without a complete and formal training in
2nd - Psychotherapies
a) Psychotherapy research has always been a difficult subject. Russell
and Orlinsky have recently reviewed the history and phases of psychotherapy
research (Archives of General Psychiatry, August , 1996,708-715).
Their orientation tends to be an eclectic or integrative one. But, as Richard
P. Halgin and Robert A. Murphy say ("Comprehensive Textbook of Psychotherapy",
eds. Bonar and Beutler, Oxford ,1995,chap.22), "can they really know how
to be eclectic without having first been exposed to the traditional models
of therapy from which experienced therapists have chosen their techniques?".
Halgin and Murphy also say that "complicating the task of training ..."-
and I say not only the training - "...is the fact that so little is understood
about how psychotherapy really works" (underline is mine).
b) The question is, from my point of view , as follows: how can Psychodrama
be in this debate and participate in the research of the "common factors"
in psychotherapy , without loss of identity ? (I think this is valid for
whatever model of psycotherapy, but I feel that the attempt to search what
is common and/or explanations for "how it works" crossing different models
, makes sense and is probably necessary when we must think about mental
health care policies).
a) Some criticism about Psychodrama is based on its lack of visibility
in the general field of the psychotherapies. In our Portuguese journal
"Psicodrama" (3, July 1995) we have published
an article with a similar viewpoint , written by A. Branco Vasco, who is
professor at the Faculty of Psychology of Lisbon and defines himself as
an Integrative Cognitive-Behaviourist based psychotherapist. This lack
of visibility results from a small interest of psychodramatists in general
in research and/or in publish their results in generalist psychological
or medical journals. But it is also true that we (psychodramatists) make
little effort to answer questions like the efficacy of psychodramatic treatments
, the indications and contra-indications , the failures , the alternative
handling for specific psychopathologic conditions, etc., or to add some
kind of scientific evidence to our answers.
b) Since the beginning of Psychodrama, a considerable evolution on the
methods of research in psychotherapy field has been done. Probably a research
design on the results of psychodramatic treatments needs evaluation methods
that would be non-dependent of psychodramatic theory, like well established
questionnaires and scales. These methods must be in confront with the results
of a psychodramatic evaluation. This is important from both research and
clinic viewpoints, particularly on respect to follow-up studies.
4th- Humanistic approach
a) Psychodrama must continue to be considered an humanistic psychotherapy,
as its experiential and holistic roots widely confirm. There is probably
an unsolved contradiction which concerns the scientific research methods.
Efficacy is not the only aim to be considered , but we must pay attention
to the philosophy and ethics of a suitable concept of cure.
b) This kind of research (or reflection) is essential to maintain the
spirit of Morenian Psychodrama. Of course the validation of this research
will be made in a different level, but we must not neglect it nowadays
, in the conditions of the post-post-modern mankind . Psychodrama could
be programmatic in reframing the therapy itself. In my view, Grete Leutz
has tried to reflect it, particularly in her text "Mettre sa vie en
scčne" (EPI,1985) - see chap.7 "Les correspondances..."
5th- Theoretical research
a) Theory has an heuristic value that gives support to new hypothesis
which are essential for all research. Different theories give support to
different models in psychotherapy. Theories must change to continue to
be stimulants for research. Psychodrama theory has changed less than other
psychotherapeutic theories probably because of the grandeur of Moreno's
contributions and the difficult mourning of psychodramatists after his
death. It would be ironic if Psychodrama theory became a kind of "cultural
conserve" . Psychodramatists must be creative also in theoretical
b) Developments in different fields bring new questions in Psychodrama
theory. Research on child development and neuroscience raise questions
in the search of a biological basis to Psychodrama procedures. I think
Moreno's contribution on psychosomatic roles was only a beginning
- Rojas Bermudez "ego nucleus" theory may constitute a guideline for ulterior
research linking child development, neurophysiology and the nuclear concept
of role. Rojas Bermudez is also interested in the links between
Psychodrama and the right and left hemispheres of the brain . Recent contributions
of a Portuguese neurologist living in U. S. A. , Antonio
R. Damasio, on prefrontal damage ("Descartes's
Error - emotion , reason and human brain",Grosset/Putnam,1994)
give interesting data about the role of the body and the action
in human emotion and reasoning that seems to me relevant for Psychodrama
theory (Damasio speaks of "somatic markers: theatre in the body or theatre
in the mind?").
c) Ethology and anthropology also give much relevant information to
Psychodrama. An important branch in research on Psychodrama may be in a
transcultural level. I think that psychodramatists may study some popular
rituals and feasts in different cultures as non-formal but eventually therapeutic
psychodrama-like procedures (an example may be the study in a region of
the North of Spain, near and similar to Portugal, made by the Spanish psychodramatist
Marisol Filguera, with Lamas Grego, on "Pranto, a popular psychodrama
against pathological mourning",Vinculos, 4,1992), and other phenomena as
the procedures on trial and justice, or even the more recent "reality shows"
d) Theatre (as a root of Psychodrama), of course, seems to me an important
field we must accompany, but personally I think that the cinema and the
modern "media", including the arising "cyberspace" (with new ways to face
an audience), merit at least attention.
e) I am also interested in the connections between Psychodrama and the studies on communication from MRI in Palo Alto (particularly the concepts of metacommunication and paradox and its use in Psychodrama, or how Psychodrama works with them before such theoretical formulations have been done) ; the systems theory (with a similar emphasis in group and in context) ;and more recently the constructivist and narrative theories ( and the questions of reality , aesthetics , etc. in therapeutic practice).
f) There are, of course, many other fields to be considered .
6th- Clinical research
a) Those of us who work in a clinical context may be aware of the importance
of studies on some specific psychopathological conditions. Unfortunately
there are few psychodramatic studies of a similar kind. We must remember
the work of Rojas Bermudez with psychotics (and the theoretical formulation
of intermediate object and the hypothesis of a lack of well enough developed
and differentiated roles in schizophrenia and the clinical use of puppets
in such conditions) , and the work of Anne Ancelin- Schutzenberger with
cancer and other somatic illnesses (and the connections of sociometry
and social atom and genograms in a transgenerational family perspective)
, as an example of experiences that merit to be known outside the restrict
field of psychodramatists. I am interested myself in a psychodramatic work
with bulimic patients and I have been inspired in it by both of them.
b) My training with Brazilian psychodramatist Alfredo C. Soeiro gave
me the opportunity to learn a consistent way of psychodramatic handling
of the different personality or psychopathological types, inspired by a
modified concept of psychosomatic roles and the "ego nucleus" theory
of Rojas Bermudez. The formulation of Paul Holmes inspired by Kernberg
and the "object relations" theory seems to me also an attractive and consistent
one. I think we need some kind of consensus in this area to make possible
more objective and not regional limited research designs.