Working online with a Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM) healing team.
Written by: Hogenboom, Q.M. (Ina), 2021
Changes in TSM team working online.
Changes seem to occur in dealing with spontaneity, creativity, healing and recovery, action and movement, change, new ways of communicating, use of possible techniques, dealing with technical problems.
Working online generally requires more creativity to meet the challenges of working online. Creativity is needed in finding new ways to use psychodrama techniques. As a group leader who works online, you have to organize the group structure more actively, through sociometry and good warm-ups. Sitting and talking generally does not help to achieve spontaneity, creativity, connections and safety. Online, we also need additional rules, for example about privacy, confidentiality and dealing with vulnerable people.
- We use the micro facial cues more often to get information about the other person’s emotional responses.
- Tele- and sociometric connections are present when working online, sometimes visible, sometimes invisible.
- Extra focus on action and movement is needed.
- More encouragement is needed to get people moving.
- More focus on movement, interaction and communication.
- Use catching and contagious positive behaviour in the spontaneity exercises to overcome self-criticism, shyness and inhibition online, as well as a normalizing and positively labelling attitude of the team.
- Online, everybody is a beginner again.
- Connect again to the basic principle of psychodrama theory, warming up to spontaneity.
- Warm up as a team together to strengths and spontaneity.
- Use active spontaneity exercises before, during and after the meetings with strengths, spontaneity, creativity and handling of vulnerabilities.
- Refocus on healing of other team members and in clearing up things that hinder spontaneity and creativity of team members.
- Handle uncertainties about technical issues.
- View working online as a new psychodramatic adventure.
- Feel the challenge to come up with new online applications of psychodramatic techniques, making use of the technical possibilities.
- Use play, activity and humour to increase our creativity and the creativity of the group.
Healing and recovery
- Offer online possibilities to ease the suffering of your clients and trainees.
- Be more alert to the more undesirable effects of working online.
- Find ways to stay in touch (including technically).
- Prevent and handle withdrawal.
- Create supportive connections.
- Allow emotional release in a safe and balanced way.
- It seems that the effects of TSM psychodrama is comparable to the live effects.
Action and movement
- Good preparation of technical matters prevents loss of attention and spontaneity during the meeting.
- Sufficient attention must be paid in the preparation of creating connections and active spontaneity exercises.
- Connect to your flexibility, because new things always emerge
- Deal with ambiguity and ambivalence working online.
- Prepare to uncontrollable things
- Accept things outside the comfort zone, view it as a new challenge.
- Study the needed technology to overcome your uncertainties.
- Technical training is needed and provided to work with TSM online to apply the model to its fullest extent.
New ways of communicating
TSM Psychodrama online tries to find new ways of communicating to get the TSM-work done.
Talking and singing
- Talking together in ‘washing the brain with positives’, only bits and pieces of the messages are heard. Therefore repetition is needed for all messages to get through.
- Let people post their messages in the chat function and read them aloud. This way, no positive message is lost.
- The tele connections proof to be available online.
- The tele is visible when choosing roles in dramas and when working with sociometric choices in action sociograms.
- Make graphs of the sociometric choices, which is not often done in live meetings. This is a great tool to gain insight into non-verbal communication in the group.
- Use more physical exercises and physical ways to do dramas to get more information from the body.
- Make more use of maximizing movement, action and facial expressions, possibly using humour and infectious behaviour.
- Use the chat function extensively.
- Since talking at the same time is not possible, messages and comments from team and group members can be voiced through the chat function.
- Chatting is more accessible for shy and introverted group members.
- Use the chat feature for training comments, healing messages, interpretations of what’s going on, relate roles to the TSIRA, etc.
- The AL can use the chat to make suggestions to the TL without interrupting verbally. This can be done through a public chat or private chat.
- Use private chats between team members to raise concerns about an individual, possible roles to use, and to inform the TL of responses in the group.
- Be prepared to handle muting by participants. Discuss some ground rules.
- Handle distractions by other tasks such as using their phone, typing an email, or talking to another member of their household.
- Prepare to discuss some ground rules about privacy when things can be overheard by people who are not contracted in this group.
- Ask people to unmute, because we need everyone to make a TSM Psychodrama production.
- Use the group is the common brain, which reflects the common theme, problems and strengths.
- Renaming is very useful for TSM Psychodrama.
- Let participants rename themselves with their strengths, a message from the OE, a function they fulfil in the drama, a role that emerges through tele or projective identification. This is a fast way of communicating without any verbal interruptions.
- Create a circle of safety with strengths by renaming the participants to their strengths.
- Renaming is a new way of communicating from the group to the TL and the protagonist.
- The offers of strengths are visible in an early stage of the drama
- The projective identifications are also visible earlier than in live work, with the possible themes to work on.
- Group members work on themselves by acknowledging their response and needs, making them visible through renaming, and providing a possible direction for further exploration.
- Let TAE’s actively encourage group members to use renaming in the different stages of the group and in the different drama’s.
- This process of renaming is crystallizing and refining further and further.
Use of possible techniques
Create sociometric diagrams in the background
- Get a team member (Technical Assistant) to work in the background on creating sociometric diagrams in Powerpoint or Google Slides.
- Create visual representations of the group with spectrograms, locograms and action sociograms (hands on shoulders).
- Use names or avatars (photos) of participants.
- Study and discuss the underlying messages and latent meanings of the group’s sociometric choices afterwards.
Working with screen sharing
- Use screen sharing to present symbols to the group from which to choose.
- Use cards to choose an OE or a defense.
- Let participants make a screen print of their choice.
- Use screen sharing to choose strengths (words or symbols), the Tian Dayton floor check, archetypes and many other useful models.
- Show the choices with their avatars (photos), participants like to see that.
- Use spotlighting with spontaneity exercises. Activate the participants to make special or funny moves and let others encourage them. This increases spontaneity, playfulness and fun.
- Use spotlighting when participants present something in pairs. This is more powerful than when presented with a screen full of videos.
- Use spotlighting with “Hands on Shoulders”. Telling your choice to a specific person on the screen is more powerful. People will use active phrases such as “I choose you”.
- Use an additional screen with a photo as virtual background (magic shop, empty chair, wisdom chair, different coloured chairs, a stage, a symbol, etc.)
- Use an extra screen with a “mystery guest”, an extra role from the TSIRA (prescriptive, trauma or post-traumatic growth), a super power, etc.
- Use an extra screen for recording a meeting, to avoid heavy strain on the original laptop.
Dealing with technical problems
- Technical problems remain a challenge, new unexpected problems will arise.
- Define a new role for working online, which has to be added as a new team-role. Possible names for that role are: Technical Specialist, Zoom Queen Auxiliary, Technical Auxiliary Ego.
- Training for this role is available in TSM. Note that this role is still developing.
Next training: Working as a Technical Auxiliary in TSM groups.
Date: March 4 from 9-11 am for New York, 3-5 pm Central European Time.
Info and registration: Ina@PsychodramaQ.nl