Saturday, June 23, 2012

What the "empty chair" is not! (But funny!)

The empty chair is the famous therapeutic tool that first started with J.L. Moreno in 1921, when he invited members of the theater audience to take the role of a leader in post-war Austria.  Much of the audience apparently did not appreciate or understand Moreno’s message, and no one was seen as worthy of taking the role.

Later, his collaborator and wife Zerka Moreno expanded the empty chair to use for the protagonist rather than the community. And the famous Fritz Perls, the developer of Gestalt therapy, who was Moreno’s student at one time, borrowed the empty chair and turned it into the “hot seat.”

Here's a funny scene from the television show 30 Rock, in which Jack pretends to be Tracy's parents in a role-playing therapy session

(No, we psychodramatists really don't do this kind of role play in quite this way, but this clip is funny. Enjoy!)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New book mixes 12 steps & abuse survivor healing

Adena Bank Lees’ new book 12 Healing Steps for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Practical Guide shows how the 12 Steps can be converted into a useful guide for recovery from childhood sexual abuse.

The good psychodrama news is that Adena, a licensed clinical social worker and an advanced psychodrama student, is now developing action methods to go along with the book and presenting them on behalf of the Arizona Psychodrama Institute, which is certainly a second contribution to the field.

In this small book, she demonstrates her creativity as a clinician and as a writer. She has taken the venerable 12 Steps – based on Alcoholics Anonymous and that have been successfully employed by millions of people since originating in the 1930s – and illustrates how survivors of abuse can follow these steps to come to peace with early pain.

A big plus of the book is that she converts the sometimes stodgy writing of the 12 Steps to approachable and accessible language. For instance, Step 2, “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” is changed to “Willing to ask for help.”  The traditional Step 4, which states, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves,” becomes simply, “Write your autobiography.”

Each chapter explores a single step, giving a user-friendly explanation of the step and how it promotes healing for abuse survivors. At the end of each chapter is a list of suggested actions to further the recovery process, which may include journaling, making a collage, writing letters, list making, talking to a trusted friend and the like.

Men and women who are already in recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Al-Anon and other programs will find this book both familiar and useful. It’s also a valuable guide for  mental health clinicians, addictions counselors and other health professionals who should consider this book a valuable addition in working with individuals and groups.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Our eating disorders & psychodrama book is on its way!

I'm thrilled to report my new book with psychodramatist Linda Ciotola, M.Ed., TEP, titled “Healing Eating Disorders with Psychodrama and Other Action Methods: Beyond the Silence and the Fury,” has just been accepted for publication by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

We don’t yet know the publication schedule but we're excited and want to share the good news. We think it is the first book to address the topic of eating disorders and psychodrama and in addition to clinical applications, we will be including some great new info about incorporating education, yoga, movement, nutrition, Reiki, family constellation work, mindfulness and more.

We are both psychodramatists and psychodrama trainers, and representative of the many fields  -- mental health, education, law, business and consulting -- that use the valuable method of psychodrama.  I am a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist and personal growth coach and Linda is an educator, fitness trainer and yoga instructor and the founder of Healing Bridges in Maryland.

We'll keep you posted as details arrive from the publisher. In the meanwhile, join our Facebook page and see an earlier blog post which includes a training handout here.