On changing the name of psychodrama: Good luck with that.

National Psychodrama Training Center nptc at snet.net
Sun Feb 19 08:42:43 PST 2017


Moreno pointed out the “drama” came from the Greek for act, action, or a thing done. Etymology of psyche gives us the soul, mind, spirit, breath, the animating priniciple, and self. Put the two together and you can get “the self in action,” or “the mind in action,” either of which does a pretty good job of describing psychodrama. The problem that we face is a strong emotional reaction to the word when it is first heard. I conducted a small research project many years ago, using the Osgood Semantic Differential Scale but have never reported the results which were that psychodrama was perceived as active and powerful. Many people tend to be cautious about approaching things that are active and powerful, seeing them as potentially dangerous. Others are drawn to such entities, especially if they see a way of mastering or making use of them.
With Don Clarkson, I introduced psychodrama to the legal profession through the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College. Because of the association of psychodrama with psychotherapy, a great deal of effort was made to find an alternate term for lawyers who used psychodramatic techniques in trial preparation. We tried action methods (a term Moreno advocated for psychotherapists who wanted to avoid the word psychodrama) re-enactment interviewing, ( a term that Nancy Drew coined for phenomenological research,) a Native American term for Truth Teller, and maybe something else that I’ve forgotten. Psychodrama prevailed and still prevails almost 25 years later.
I suspect that the term psychodrama is here to stay.
John
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