Psychodrama is an action method for individual and group psychotherapy.  Participants in psychodrama recreate life situations from the past to examine conflicts, problems, and/or unresolved issues.  The action method structures spontaneity and aids individuals in experiencing, understanding, and overcoming blocks.  Desired changes become possible.  Each participant elects a time when she/he feels ready to have a personal psychodrama, guided by the Director, and assisted by the group.  During a psychodrama, the protagonist receives unqualified attention to explore whatever basic issues or problems he/she wishes to; the participant decides the depth, duration and extent of the exploration.  The mode is spontaneous improvisation.  The objective is insight and catharsis.

On the stage, the protagonist plays out his/her drama.  He/She selects members of the group to play key figures in the scenes he/she decides to explore, and sets up the scene with the help of the director.  He/She may choose an additional member to back him/her up as a "double."  He/She may "reverse roles" with each of the key figures in the senses he/she enacts.  The rest of the group is around him/her; an intimate participant "audience," watching to see if and how their lives and their concerns are mirrored in the unfolding of the psychodrama.  In the sharing that follows, others indeed bring to light what resemblances his/her psychodrama has to their own lives.  However, each psychodrama is as unique as a fingerprint.  

The basic difference between this form of therapy and the primarily verbal modalities, is that psychodrama both encourages and provides a direct vehicle through which the individual actually re-experiences the central issues of his/her life.  Instead of talking about his/her problems, the protagonist immerses her/himself again into the midst of emotional reality, as in the original experience.  It is here that the true power of psychodrama lies.  The emotional catharsis and realizations that can take place in a psychodrama can be so vivid, immediate, and intense, that the impact is lasting.  A crucial dimension of the experience is that as the psychodramas are enacted, the group is evolving a life of it's own. The intimacy and trust which develop in turn provide a secure contact within which further explorations of interpersonal feelings are possible.

During the journey within the group, and in journeys that have taken place in the past with similar groups, there are times psychodrama emerges at least as much as an art form as a therapeutic tool.  There are precious moments when each participant recognizes the resonance of his/her own struggle, pain, and joy as the drama unfolds.  There are times when the entire group - without speaking - is aware of the basic mythic archetypes of human experience; that the primal underpinnings of what it is to be a human being are suddenly illuminated, and concretized before them.  It is at those times that psychodrama fulfills the original, ancient function of drama; the healing and elevation of the human spirit as a communal and spiritual experience.

Psychodrama is the professional discipline utilizing action methods that incorporate the theory, philosophy, and methodology of J.L. Moreno.  The discipline uses action, sociometry, group dynamics, role theory, and social systems to facilitate change in individuals and groups through the development of new perceptions or reorganization of old cognitive patterns.  Current applications of psychodrama include, but are not limited to clinical, social, educational, and research activities.