What is a Sociodrama?
A Sociodrama is a facilitated group experience that helps a group choose and discuss a topic that is of interest to the group. The Sociodrama helps us understand perspectives and experiences within that topic, provides catharsis and validation, trains participants on roles, and improves communication.
A sociodramatic process can be used by a business or a community to solve a host of problems, from poor communication in a family or among co-workers, to resentment and competing coalitions within a workplace, to aggression and injustice in a community. It brings us together in a respectful way to discuss complex issues and find solutions.
Sociodramas help us gather new information about complex situations and issues. It gives us new perspectives and a deeper understanding of emotions and lived-experiences. This is information that cannot be found by reading an article or discussing an issue with others.
We need this new information to solve social problems at work that may be impeding good team process or to move from a place of anger and frustration about a political issue, to one in which we are less reactive and can see solutions.
Sociodramatic process allows for catharsis of emotion, expanding of perspectives, a deeper understanding of social issues, and more effective communication.
Why is the Sociodramatic process so important now?
In this time of rapid changes to our society and widespread polarization, our old ways of figuring out problems by talking about them and debating them is not working. It only leads to more polarization, anger and frustration.
We need a new and respectful way of engaging people in solving the big problems at hand caused by the pandemic, economic disparities, and racial injustice.
The Sociodramatic process may help now because:
- Complex societal problems not only involve facts and numbers, but also real people. The sociodramatic process gives us the information we need about perspectives, emotions and experiences of real people.
- The sociodramatic process builds community because it purposefully creates safety and trust in a group of people. Each individual feels seen and heard, and not judged, which helps people want to work together, not against each other.
- The sociodramatic process also helps people move from stuckness and fear to creativity and hopefulness. In this way, participants see solutions to complex problems that they didn’t see at the outset.
In conclusion, debate and talk have limitations. They confine us to the cognitive range of our experience. A Sociodrama builds community, deepens our understanding of real perspectives of other people and helps us develop a more open and curious mind. In a time of increasing societal tensions, the sociodramatic process can be utilized to reduce tensions and increase real understanding and encourage productive cooperation between people.