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Written by: Cho-Kin Chan (M. Ed., PGDip., B.F.A.) , Theatre Practitioner, Certified Psychodramatist (BPA/UK, HKPA/HK), Drama Therapist (NADTA, US), TSM psychodrama trainee

 

The Wonderful TSM Wizard of Oz

From Canon of Creativity of Classical psychodrama to TSM Clinical adaptation

I’d like to tell you a story. The story was about a man (P) who arrived at the Munchkinland in the magical Land of Oz. P seek help from the wizard. Meanwhile, he was looking at his history with the lens of Cannon of Creativity from J.L. Moreno and experienced TSM adaptation of Cannon of Creativity from Dr Kate Hudgins.

Once upon a time, when P was a child. He witnessed a lot of quarrels and fights from his parents. From time to time, he experienced the unresolved relationship and often held among anger from the authority. He learnt not to express negative feelings, often shows his smiling face or not to feel in his daily life. This coping pattern, or we might say this “Culture Conserve” (CC), was in his life for many years.

One day, P met a young lady, the ballerina from his fantasy, and she was co-working with this guy. He was struck and couldn’t hold his emotion from the flame of love. He couldn’t find the right words when communicating with this lady nor react appropriately when working too close. P tried to hold himself. He was using his energy to suppress the flame and turn himself to numb.

Suddenly, there was a storm. The air in the house was suffocating. The tornado hide the light from the sky. It turned darkness. P was caught up in a cyclone. Meanwhile, he tried hard to open his eyes and he found that there were some images surrounding him. He saw his parents held the TSM trauma roles of perpetrator and abandoning authority. The child self of him was hiding behind the sofa. After watching the scene of his childhood, he reflected on how those experiences turned himself to someone who couldn’t cope well in his intimacy relationship.

It seems that he witnessed how blaming and scolding self was developed in his life. The trauma experience trapped his spontaneity. He wondered if there was no way to resolve it.  Although P felt stuck and hopeless, he wants to improve, become more mature, or have a better self for his future, especially for the intimacy relationship. The tornado brought P to the Munchkinland in the magical Land of Oz.

 

The falling house had killed the Trauma Witch of the East. P was in shock. At that moment, the body of the Trauma Witch of the East disappeared. It remained her voice from the air. She said, “I shall be back!” P was scared and lost.

 

A TSM wizard (W) arrived in the town and met P.

W said to P, “Let her go away at the moment. I am here with you. What do you want from here?” P wanted to go home.

W brought him a map of OZ.

W said to P “P, you should go to see the Powerful Wizard of Oz. He could help. And I like to introduce you a buddy. She is Dorothy (OE), and she is good at observe, support and remind what you need in your journey to OZ.”

 

P talked to Dorothy about what he wants to achieve in this journey. Dorothy repeated P’s message and supports him in his journey.

Next, W introduced Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion to P.

W said, “These 3 buddies had gone through their difficulties and grown. They can support you too.” (Restorative Roles).  P started to look at these 3 buddies, and he felt that he has similar quality with them. He associated the wise quality with Scarecrow. The appearance of Tin Man reminded P that he has a supportive relationship with a best friend. When P was looking at the Lion, the sunlight was shining on his fluffy fur. P felt the warm and containing energy from nature. Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman, Lion and P started the journey to OZ.

When P stepped on the yellow brick road to OZ, P was shaking with doubt.

“Could I survive this journey? What I should do?”

“Wow….” A little dog called Toto walked to P.

Toto (Roles of Containment) said, “My legs are shaking, and I don’t know if I could survive. I am now putting my feet on the ground and feel the support from the earth. I could take a deep breath slowly, I am with my buddies now. I know it wouldn’t be easy to go to Oz. And I would take the lead in the team with my pace on the yellow brick road.”

Toto’s voice awaked P. He looked at his buddies. P started to realize that he has a lot of support in his journey. He also felt warm and soothing when Toto put his hand on P’s leg. P became energetic, and he put his hand on their shoulder. The team were hopping, skipping, singing and dancing. They created its own rhythm and moving forward to Oz.

The Trauma Witch of the West saw them approaching with her one telescopic eye. She sent a pack of wolves to tear them to pieces, but the Tinman held P’s hand and used his body and axe to protect the team. She sent a flock of wild crows to peck their eyes out, but the Scarecrow and P knew that crow doesn’t like shiny stuff, high voices and noise. They got rid of the crow attack. She summoned a swarm of black bees to sting them, but the Lion brought the team Citronella, Mint, and Eucalyptus plants, which can repel the bees. She sent a dozen of her Winkie slaves to attack them. Dorothy reminded P that he has the team with him. Toto’s helped P in staying awake with a clear mind and felt grounded. P stood firm to repel them.

The interaction of the team warmed P to spontaneously react to the situation. It created a new way to respond to the dangers. P learnt the skills and integrated the element from each buddy to oneself through the Oz journey. He had developed new coping skills, the self-containment and feeling of grounded in his state of mind.  The new “Culture Conserve” (CC), had developed with the guidance from TSM wizard.

The Trauma Witch came back again. She brought winged monkeys and caught the team. P knew that he has to help himself and the team to stay conscious and be functional. He throws a bucket of water on himself to remain calm. Fortunately, the water splashed on the Trauma Witch, and she melted away. All the creatures rejoiced at being freed from her tyranny.

P walked into the castle, and he found a little boy. They called him Wizard of Oz. P was curious about him. “What happens to this little boy?”

The little boy was dejected. P kneels down on the floor, held his hands and gave him the comfort. After, the little boy looked at P. The TSM wizard appeared and stood beside P.

W said, “P, did you recognize who the boy is?”

P said, “he was my childhood!”

W said, “what do you want to do with the little traumatized P?”

P guided his team to create a circle of safety. Little P was standing in the middle of them. He observed the team slowly. After, he was smiling. It seemed that he likes to play with each team member. Later, he looked up, stretched his arms and had a deep breath. The team took a deep breath with little P. He was awakening! The air of the space became warm and comfortable.

Instantly, P began whirling through the air, and he fell off his feet on his home town Hong Kong. He felt grounded with confidence. P said, “I’m so glad to be home again. And it is my safety and comfort home!” Years later, he found his ballerina and married her on his birthday!

Written by: Tan Hong Kheng, Singapore

As TSM has become one of my main practice therapy models for my clinical work, case recording was a challenge. I thought of a way I can maintain a record that not only contains my work done in session, but is also a way for better tracking my client’s progress and follow up. Thus I’ve wanted to modify the existing format expecting to meet my new expanding needs, but it doesn’t.

My thoughts keep escalating and growing—-somehow things doesn’t work out accordingly. Then an idea pops in at the time I’m stuck with a C-PTSD client that I need advice from my supervisor on (Dr. Kate Hudgins). Why not TSM clinical map I asked myself with a sense of excitement!

So, I started by “deconstructing” the existing structure of the TSM clinical map.

Initially, I add only those elements which I realized might contributed to the accuracy of my overall assessment such as major events, medical history, medication, stressor and triggers. Somehow, it’s like something still missing. On second review, “making contract” (goal – types of drama) came right into my mind. Then I took an effort to go through again the seminal book on TSM (Experiential Treatment for PTSD:  The Therapeutic Spiral Model by Kate Hudgins 2002). Eventually, I managed to extract a few more essential elements that patched up the “missing piece”. “The stages of change” was the last piece that I intentionally included in to serve a reminder for counsellor/therapist to be mindful of our client’s pacing and where they are in their healing process. It also aligns with TSM’s value of enhancing safety space for healing.

After some final fine tuning, I took courage to presented it on one of my supervision sessions with Dr. Kate. The effort I’ve put in was acknowledge and affirmed.   Here is what I created and now offer to you.

This template/diagram was then translated into Chinese to meet the need for China Supervision Group as Dr. Kate suggested, where I was provided with a practicum site as AL.

After the completion of 5 sessions, they have given much positive feedback and shared that the whole process of supervision which has stimulated their interest of learning TSM further. Indeed, a very inspiring and reassuring experience for me as well.

My take away from the experience was, firstly, it’s another good way to“concretize and tangibly present” (Hudgins, 2002) the missing of actual/physical TSM Drama work that limited by online setting. Secondly, the diagram provides beginners with a comprehensive yet simplified version of TSM Clinical Map. Thirdly, as a learning material, trainees can use it as a route track on their own learning journey as well as client’s progress. During the China Supervision Group, homework was given at the end of each session in order to enhance their learning and understanding, such as to identify specific strengths and roles then fill in accordingly. Lastly, I’m truly happy that the template/diagram serves it purpose well and am glad to share a token of what I’ve benefited from my learning journey to be TSM Practitioner.

Tan Hong Kheng

Care Corner Counselling Centre

Counsellor

Singapore

 

*Hudgins, M. K. (2002). Experiential Treatment for PTSD – The Therapeutic Spiral Model

All psychodramatic techniques have the goal of making the clients internal reality overly visible both to self and others. That is, psychodramatic techniques concretize and tangibly present all aspects of the clients internal experience, both verbal and nonverbal, for the purpose of increased awareness, exploration and change. (p.32)

Abstract Classical psychodrama embodies the theory and practice of spontaneity and creativity as the goal of all methods of change. In today’s world of post-traumatic growth (PTG), this is a perfect match for the view of humans as resilient and always seeking growth, even following traumatic and often violent experiences. This article of the Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie details the Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM), which is a trauma-informed, stage-process model to change the self-organization of people affected by trauma by using experiential methods. TSM presents the first internal role map for working with parts of self, developed through decades of clinical observation (Hudgins 2017, 2002). TSM connects with advances in clinical psychology on trauma and attachment, and the latest research on interpersonal neurobiology, and makes a crucial turn from interpersonal work in psychodrama to the focus on inner parts of self. The trauma survivor’s internal role atom (TSIRA) is presented as a three-stage model to guide all action methods when working with parts of self that include: Prescriptive (RX) roles, the TSM Trauma Triangle, and roles of transformation and post-traumatic growth (PTG). Composite examples are given from a lifetime practice in the global community to help bring the clinical structure of the internal role atom to life for inner parts work.

Click here to read the complete article

Check out my new interview “The Trauma Therapeutic Spiral Model” with Guy Macpherson on the Trauma Therapist Podcast. Watch Here!

 

Dr. Kate Hudgins shares about how “Courage Is The Fear That Has Said Its Prayers”,  the start of TSM and teaches some Master Classes on Guy McPherson’s great program “The Trauma Therapist”. https://lnkd.in/eiawMrE

There can be positive change after adversity.

By Adena Bank Lees, LCSW

For those who have experienced trauma, it is common to feel like life will never be the same again. As evidenced by a growing body of research, though, humans have the ability to not only “bounce back” from trauma, but to yield a positive life on the other side of a traumatic experience. Those who study and practice in the field of mental health refer to this as posttraumatic growth (PTG), defined as positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning.

About Posttraumatic Growth

The general concept that trauma can lead to positive change is a common theme that has appeared in religious and philosophical teachings for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the term posttraumatic growth was coined by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun.

Tedeschi and Calhoun posit that PTG tends to occur in five general areas:

  1. Appreciation of life
  2. Relationship with others
  3. New possibilities in life
  4. Personal strength
  5. Spiritual change

These five factors make up the general themes of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI), a 21-item assessment tool developed by Tedeschi and Calhoun to determine an individual’s progress in reconstructing their perceptions of self, others, and the meaning of events while they are coping with the aftermath of trauma. PTG does not discount those who struggle with posttraumatic stress. It does, however, offer a new lens through which an individual can explore themselves in the shadows of trauma.

Experiential Methods Can Encourage Posttraumatic Growth
As practitioners, we must meet our clients where they are at and not minimize their suffering by jumping to practical solutions. Most often, our assistance is sought after a traumatic event has occurred, so we need to take great care in introducing PTG concepts. Therapy – especially when experiential learning methods are employed – can help people see that things like these are true for them:

  • I discovered that I’m stronger than I thought I was.
  • I know better that I can handle difficulties.
  • I changed my priorities about what is important in life.

Experiential learning allows healing to take place in “real time” – we do not talk about something, we actually engage in it.

Take Christine (35 years old), for example, who was sexually abused from ages 8-13. Christine felt alone and did not trust others when she entered therapy. In several psychodrama group therapy sessions, Christine experienced group members’ support through their standing behind her with hands on her shoulders. She allowed hugs when crying or frightened. Group members contacted her between sessions to see how she was doing. At the close of the 12-week commitment, Christine reported, “because my group members were here for me and supported me when I was crying and in pain, I am more trusting that I can count on others in difficult times.” She continued with the group and strengthened the relationship aspect along with other aspects of PTG.

According to Dr. Kate Hudgins, co-founder of the Therapeutic Spiral Model, “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is not a terminal illness. It can be treated with experiential methods such as those from the Therapeutic Spiral Model of psychodrama, which addresses trauma in action. As clients build up the strength to face their trauma, they realize that they can emerge victorious into PTG.”

Therapist, author, and lecturer Rokelle Lerner recommends using story writing as an experiential strategy to identify, clarify and solidify posttraumatic growth: “Every time we describe our life’s events, we are both providing and discovering underlying patterns of meaning. It is the meaning we make of our experience that shapes how we feel, think, and respond.” Lerner offers the following outline for writing one’s story:

  • Once upon a time… (wounding)
  • And when he/she grew up… (present)
  • The story changed when… (vision)

At the very least, we can help clients understand that posttraumatic growth is a normal process that can be a possibility for them.

 

References

Tedeshi, R.G., & Calhoun, L.G. (2004). Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundation and Empirical Evidence. Philadelphia, PA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L.G. (1996). The Posttraumatic Growth Inventory: Measuring the positive legacy of trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 455-471.

Tedeschi, R.,et al, (2018). Post Traumatic Growth: Theory, Research and Applications. New York, NY: Routledge.

Article originally posted on Psychologytoday.com

 

Adena Bank Lees, LCSW, is a counselor, speaker, author, and consultant, providing fresh perspective on traumatic stress, addiction treatment and recovery. Her specialty is childhood sexual abuse, and in particular, Covert Emotional Incest. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor, Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress ®, and a Certified Practitioner of Psychodrama. She is the author of Covert Emotional Incest: The Hidden Sexual Abuse, A Story of Hope and Healing, as well as 12 Healing Steps for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse; A Practical Guide.