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Crisis Response Journal Crisis Response Journal

Sociodrama: A therapeutic resource to prepare for pandemics

Posted on 8th April 2020 at 09:19am

Based in southern Brazil, Reverse Vibrational Intelligence (IVR), a research group of the National Research Council at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, has used a pedagogical version of sociodrama for psychotherapy in vulnerable communities and in areas at risk, as well as with professionals who use direct protection and civil defence who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sociodrama is an extension of psychodrama and it involves a group of individuals acting out assigned roles in order to explore and resolved conflicts and issues inherent in social roles.

Antônia Benedita Teixeira, a socio-educational psychodramatist, Theatre Director and member of IVR provides a report of a study carried out in 2018/19.

The concerns of public institutions are usually with the care of the populations suffering the effects of extreme situations but the professionals who serve the populations in extreme contexts – mainly protection, civil defence, health and education – can be forgotten.

With this in mind, through a university extension activity and on an experimental basis, sociodramatic sessions were held with two target audiences – the Comunidade da Serrinha in the vicinity of the Federal University of Santa Catarina and with the 18 managers from the State Department of Protection and Civil Defence of the State of Santa Catarina.

The results achieved were significant in terms of therapeutic change of the referred target audiences both in the sharing of the results of the activities and in the verification from the sociometric test performed before and after the sociodramas.

In the scope of psychodramatic psychotherapy, socionomy, which is the theory that underlies the pedagogical process used, is centred on three major areas: sociodynamics (development and relationships of different personal and professional roles); sociometry (measuring different types of relationships, before and after sociodramas are performed; and finally sociatry (therapeutic process) that uses the sociodrama methodology to treat group cures from a humanitarian and global perspective.

Socionomy was developed by the physician Jacob Levy Moreno as the cure for humanity through group sociotherapy. The concept is therefore contrary to the elitist office care where the therapist-patient relationship has little social impact.

The ultimate goal of sociodramas, in addition to changing the different levels of stress of individuals and groups, is to promote planetary healing from the rescue of spontaneity both for the process of creating new answers to existential questions, as well as encouraging individuals to act at the moment when they are caught by surprise and do not know how to act, either owing to a lack of planning, blocking spontaneity or inadequate knowledge or guidance in a fake news context.

From the results achieved, it is possible to envision the possibility of sociodrama as a methodology of easy application and replication for solving human dramas in extreme contexts, not least in relation to the psychological difficulties and psychiatric syndromes resulting from the isolations of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Source: Dr Harrysson Luiz Da Silva, Associate Professor I of the Department of Geosciences and Professor of the Professional Master's Course in Natural Disasters at the Federal University of Santa Catarina.

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