Tag Archive for: Psychodrama

Written by: Ashfique Rizwan, MPH, MSc; Business Manager, Therapeutic Spiral International (TSI) & Candidate, TSI International Certification using TSM Psychodrama

Observing-Ego (OE) is one of the safety structures of Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM) where the participants are encouraged to pick an animal card, object/scarf to represent their OE and then reverse role with that OE to receive a message from the perspective of no shame and no blame. Often, participants bring objects such as a Monkey to represent playfulness, some bring a musical instrument to represent harmony. The concept of OE is the first step to recognize the observer within oneself. In the Vedic tradition, there is a story of a bird as an observer of another bird who is eating a fruit on a tree. The observer bird represents the soul and the eater bird represents the body or the doer. The Observing-Ego concept can be related to that concept where a silent observer within us observes the activities without any judgment. For example, in mindfulness tradition the person in meditation observes the thoughts without any judgment, the thoughts come and go like movie images and the observer watches as it comes and goes.

There is a similar, yet a bit different process in Classical Psychodrama which is the technique of Mirror. In the Mirror, someone else in the group plays the role of the protagonist to demonstrate an out of awareness interpersonal behavior that might affect the drama and the place of the protagonist in the group. In the Mindfulness tradition, the person who observes from an inner eye gets detached and let the experience move through like a movie screen. OE is in the middle of the Mirror and Mindfulness. It observes the movie, but without shame or blame. It is an active process with an attitude of compassion which transforms the passive mode of Mindfulness.

The word Psyche means soul and Psychodrama is putting our soul into action. Yet, keeping an observer within us which can observe brings awareness into the action. William James defined the concept of I vs me where I is a subjective thinker and me is the objective body which is the doer. When the soul comes into action and observes the thinking and the action of this I and Me, we can call it an observing-ego. One of the spiritual masters of our time Deepak Chopra says “You my friend are not your thoughts, you are the thinker of your thoughts.” An eternal silence within us that has no beginning and end and which can evolve as the universe evolves. Our job is to find that eternal silence within us to bring awareness and the concept of Observing-Ego with concretization exercise with an object can be a stepping stone to make that journey to find our true self which is the silence between our thoughts.

In this today’s violent, aggressive, fearful, and emotionally manipulative world we need concepts and exercises that can lead us to our true nature of silence and silent observer. The concept of OE can bring back the awakening which is much needed in today’s time when our mind is manipulated by politics, media, a social and cultural structure that are constantly trying to disconnect us from our soul. We need to reconnect our hearts and soul to bring back harmony and peace.  Not driving from external manipulation, finding the true inner purpose that can guide us to the light of hope and harmony.

Written by Mario Cossa

Abstract This article in the journal Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie explores the foundations of resilience theory and the application of the Therapeu- tic Spiral ModelTM’s (TSM) form of psychodrama in building resilience in youth through increasing the internal locus of control and supporting the ability to internal- ize the positive regard of peers and adult mentors. The author describes a program developed to serve these goals while working with post-high-school youth, ages 17 to 19, in the Campuhan College Program in Bali, Indonesia.

Click Here to read the article.


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

By Scott Giacomucci & Joshua Marquit

Just writing to share of my new trauma-focused psychodrama research study, “The Effectiveness of Trauma-Focused Psychodrama in the Treatment of PTSD in Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment” in the Frontiers in PsychologyJournal.
This study comes from my work at Mirmont Treatment Center (Philadelphia area) demonstrating hopeful outcomes for the treatment of PTSD with trauma-focused psychodrama – the Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM) & Relational Trauma Repair Model (RTR).

Results demonstrated over 25% decrease in PTSD symptoms for participants in Mirmont’s “Phoenix/Trauma Group” which is based on trauma-focused psychodrama. Considering the average patient only attended the group 4-5 times (2x per week), these results are quite meaningful and 2.5x the level of change in a residential trauma-focused CBT program with similar qualities.

Available here (full article available open access soon): https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00896/abstract
This single group pretest-posttest study explores the effectiveness of trauma-focused psychodrama in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at an inpatient addiction treatment center. The results contribute to the limited research bases of both psychodrama and PTSD treatment outcomes in inpatient addiction treatment. The present study supports the potential effectiveness of two trauma-focused psychodrama models, the Therapeutic Spiral Model and the Relational Trauma Repair Model. Findings of the research demonstrate clinically significant reductions in overall PTSD symptoms (over 25% change) and each PTSD symptom cluster (i.e., re-experiencing and intrusion, avoidance and numbing, and hyper-arousal). Additionally, patient satisfaction exit survey data support overall treatment effectiveness and highlight its tolerability, and capacity for establishing emotional safety, connection, and group cohesion. Patients even described the trauma-focused psychodrama treatment approach as enjoyable and helpful. Overall, the results of this study are promising, and support continued clinical application of trauma-focused psychodrama treatment with other subpopulations diagnosed with PTSD. However, the ability to isolate effects of trauma-focused psychodrama in this study is compromised due to the absence of a control group and participants’ involvement in other inpatient treatment services.
By Anath Garber, PhD, TEP

Anath Garber is a friend and colleague whose expertise in psychotherapy and particularly the technique of psychodrama is very intriguing to me because I believe live theater can be religion and therapy and therapy as drama and healing may be the best invention since the wheel …

Listen to Part 1 Here

Listen to Part 2 Here

By Mario Cossa, RDT/MT, TEP

Norman Garmezy, Ph.D., a Developmental Psychologist from the University of Minnesota, is generally credited with the seminal research on resilience and attempts to define what are now called protective factors—those aspects and experiences in a person’s life that equip them with
the ability to rise above adversity (Konnikova, 2016). Unfortunately, his untimely death caused the publication of his research findings to be posthumous.

In 1989, the results of a three-decades-long, intensive study on resilience were published by Emmy Werner, also a Developmental Psychologist (Konnikova, 2016). Her findings showed that a combination of environmental factors (such as the presence of a positive, caring adult in the lives of her subjects) as well as particular elements of personality (especially a belief in one’s own ability to affect the outcome of life situations) each had significant impact on the development of resilience.

In my work with adolescents both in the USA and in numerous countries around the globe, I have found the Therapeutic Spiral Model™’s (TSM) form of psychodrama (Hudgins, 2019) to be an effective tool for developing and enhancing resilience in youth from diverse backgrounds and cultures (Cossa, 2019, 2006). This article focuses on a specific intervention strategy developed for working with a group of youth in Bali, Indonesia.

Read the whole article here.

By Scott Giacomucci & Amy Stone



This article continues the dialogue started by Skolnik 2018 about the synergistic union of social work and psychodrama group approaches. The theoretical and clinical alignment of psychodrama and sociometry with social work with groups will be described. A practice illustration from Mirmont Treatment Center will be presented and discussed to explore some of the dynamics of psychodrama and, in particular, the therapeutic value of surplus reality. Surplus reality is a creative tool used to provide a therapeutic corrective emotional experience. Integrating insights from neuroscience, this article advocates for psychodrama as a valuable modality for clinical social work- ers engaged in group work. Read more

The TSM Six Safety Action Structures have been developed and used to concretize spontaneity and provide containment and group cohesion for all Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM) groups for several decades now (Hudgins & Toscani, 2013).  The original paper on these safety structures (Cox, 2001) is available on my website at www.drkatehudgins.com.  This handout is an expansion on the original use of the structures with examples of how they can be used in individual, couples, group and family therapy, as well as in communities and organizations.  At the workshop, they are presented in action just as they would be used to start a TSM group in any of the above settings. Read more