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Glossary of Terms



Spontaneity and Creativity –


Spontaneity and creativity are a twin canon. Spontaneity is a new response to an old situation or an adequate response to a new situation. Creativity is creating something that wasn’t there before plus something is made manifest.


Creative Genius –

The fundamental concept in Psychodrama that each of us has an ‘expert with-in’, capable of discovering a solution to even the most difficult of situations given the opportunity to do so. It is the belief that we all have the innate ability to realise our full potential.


Auxiliary –

A person who takes on a role in an enactment for a protagonist. This role could be a person, an inanimate object, or an abstract concept. The auxiliary responds to the protagonist’s needs remaining authentic to their reality, but is encouraged to bring forth what is in them in the role.


Role –

The actual and tangible forms that the self takes. It is a unit of behaviour that is observable. It is specific to a situation and to the people or objects present in that situation. Its meaning as an act cannot be understood outside the context in which it takes place. Roles can be psychosomatic (physiological), psychodramatic (psychological) and the social, and they can overlap. A role also comprises three components; thinking, feeling and action.


Role-Taking –

‘Being” in a role in life itself. It is a social conserve, such as mother, in that they have a finished form. Children learn roles through role taking, as do we all when developing a new role or in the psychodrama, we ask the protagonist to take up the role in the first place and then once they have done that we say role reverse…etc.


Role Play –

‘Playing’ a role by choice in a given setting, for the purpose of exploring, experimenting, developing, training or changing a role.


Surplus Reality –

It's the reality beyond everyday reality, which is not visible, but very real. This foundation of Psychodrama allows a protagonist to have conversations with people not present in the room or in their real life, explore feelings, past events, or future possibilities in a safe space as though it is happening in the here and now, all to heal that which normally would be left unexpressed. Psychodrama techniques such as the director interviewing the protagonist in the role of another, the walls of a room, the boy in the picture on the wall, the protagonist as their favourite toy, for role, as well as other techniques.


Psychodrama Techniques Concretisation –

Enables a protagonist to portray both their inner and outer world from the abstract into a concrete form in the ‘here-and-now’. It can be done through a sculpture, using an object (such as a cushion) or by having an auxiliary take up a particular role, place or thing for the protagonist. This allows the protagonist to interact or act with what has been concretised, allowing a new perspective, role or learning to emerge.


Double –

Is a technique whereby a protagonist chooses a person to be by their side (or wherever feels right for the protagonist) and acts as an extension of themselves during the enactment. A double is used to express that which the protagonist cannot, by using words, sounds or action as a support for the protagonist. Sometimes a double is used when a protagonist is facing an incredibly daunting moment, and having the double physically by their side helps them not feel they are alone in their exploration.


Maximisation –

The act of making a physical action, gesture or sound bigger by amplifying or exaggerating it to help the protagonist deepen their warm-up and move from a low level of spontaneity to a high level of spontaneity.


Mirror/Mirroring –

Is a technique by which an auxiliary takes on the protagonist’s role and the protagonist steps outside the drama to see themselves ‘as if in a mirror’. They are present physically but not psychologically. The mirror deepens the connection and feeling, and helps the protagonist discover a new perspective giving them a clarity and emotional connection to which they can move the action forward. This is particularly helpful if they have become “stuck” and moved out of their body into their head. We can also mirror people by reflecting back to them what they have said or present an image to them so a mirror can be verbal. None of us have had enough mirroring in our lives and mirroring confirms us in our true selves.


Role reversal –

In it’s simplest form it is person A becoming person B, and person B becoming person A. The process of stepping into the other role allows the protagonist to walk in the shoes of the other, and see the world from their perspective. This deepens their connection and empathy and the physical act of moving from one role to another ensures that the protagonist stays in their body and therefore remains spontaneous and in the here-and-now.


Scene Setting –

Scene setting creates safety and warms the protagonist up more deeply to being in the here and now of the event or situation. In order to move into action, the protagonist must first set out the most important things in the scene. For example, if the protagonist wants to explore a recent job interview, they might set out a desk and two chairs. By doing this they are reconnecting with their feelings during this time because they are visualising the scene, and then choosing what needs to be present.


Warm-Up –

Is a readiness for any encounter or situation. It is what warms us up to anything we do in life and can be generated from the outside or the inside, from within. For example, what warms us up to cleaning the house, a desire for peacefulness, a driven-ness to feel like you have your life under control. Warm-ups can be high, low, over-heated, under-heated, conflicted, ambivalent and so on.

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