Psychodrama Aotearoa New Zealand

Psychodrama Aotearoa New Zealand (PANZ) is an Aotearoa-registered Charitable Trust (NZBN 9429042614814) operated by a management committee in liaison with a Board of Trustees that offers psychodrama training at campuses throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. 

 Psychodrama Training is recognised by the Psychotherapy Board of Aotearoa New Zealand (PBANZ) as a pathway towards registration as a Psychotherapist. Once qualified as a Psychodramatist a person can apply to PBANZ for registration. Trainees wishing to become registered psychotherapists work with campus trainers to establish adequate supervision, client work and any additional training/tasks that might be required given the trainee’s particular circumstances.

What is psychodrama training

Psychodrama training is a post-graduate level of development based on the work of Dr J. L. Moreno. The programme, outlined in AANZPA Training and Standards Manual, is designed to develop understanding and expertise in relation to individual functioning, interpersonal relations, social systems and group processes which enable a person to be effective, spontaneous and creative in their life and work.

The training is experiential so trainees learn from their direct involvement in the method as a protagonist, director, auxiliary and group member.

Annual training programmes, as well as short training workshops, are provided by campuses that have been accredited by the AANZPA Board of Examiners. A person choosing to complete the requirements over 5-7 years may become certificated as a psychodramatist, sociodramatist, sociometrist or role trainer.

Psychodrama training is relevant to people interested in enhancing personal, interpersonal and group functioning in the fields of health, education, organisational development and creative arts.

Psychodrama training will assist you to:

  • develop your personal and interpersonal capacities
  • deepen your abilities to work creatively with the development of individuals, groups, communities and organisations
  • develop skills in group work and facilitation
  • develop your abilities to explore, understand and intervene in complex social systems
  • learn to work effectively in the moment with emerging concerns
  • develop a presence and authority in groups as a group member and group leader
  • integrate the profound body of Morenian theory about interpersonal relations, groups and human development that you can apply in your chosen field.

The psychodrama method is:

  • an integrated approach to learning involving reflection, action, imagination and memory
  • a recognised approach to psychotherapy and counselling
  • effectively used in education and training
  • a sound basis for organisational development
  • a robust form of leadership training

What is psychodrama?

Psychodrama is a philosophy, a body of knowledge and a method for working with groups and individuals to enable the emergence of spontaneity and creativity. This enhances our ability to respond to our life and work situations in ways that are effective, fresh, vital and relevant. We are invited to leave the conserved patterns in which we find ourselves constrained and to enter into a free situation.

Psychodrama has been referred to as the drama of the soul and the theatre of truth. It is a general term that refers to any approach that expresses the philosophy and methods developed by Dr J.L. Moreno.

‘Psyche’ relates to the mind or spirit, while ‘drama’ relates to action, image, and story. Psychodrama is a form of drama that works to enliven the psyche. By combining thinking, feeling and action, psychodrama enables us to explore life and relationships with their nuances and complexities and to get to the reality beneath the surface.

The psychodrama method is based on the idea of highly motivated human beings acting on the aspirations and deepest concerns of the society or subculture or small group in which we live. In his book Who Shall Survive?, J. L. Moreno wrote: “A truly therapeutic procedure cannot have less an objective than the whole of humanity”.


History of psychodrama

Psychodrama is based on the philosophy and methods conceived of by psychiatrist Dr Jacob Moreno (1889-1974). It grew out of his experiments in Vienna in the 1920’s with the theatre of spontaneity, a form of improvisational theatre. Moving to the USA in 1925 he continued to combine this with his interest in social science, exploring the possibilities of treating clients using group psychotherapy. This work has been further refined by many practitioners and training institutes around the world including in the United Kingdom, Central and Eastern Europe, USA, South America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Though somewhat younger, Moreno was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, and like Freud he developed techniques to get below the surface of ordinary life to help people heal. Yet where Freud used the couch, Moreno used the stage, and instead of sitting passively he was an active participant on this stage.

Moreno developed several techniques related to psychodrama, including sociodrama, sociometry, role theory and group psychotherapy, all of which are studied within the QTIP program.

Psychodrama is being actively used and taught throughout to the world. In places such as North and South America, Canada, the European Union, Russia, Turkey, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, China, Japan.

A meeting of two: eye to eye, face to face. And when you are near I will tear your eyes out and place them instead of mine, and you will tear my eyes out and will place them instead of yours, then I will look at me with mine.
J. L. Moreno

Psychodrama Volume 1 (1949)

Psychodrama assists individuals to:

  • re-examine their current life situations, their past, their social networks and cultural context
  • generate new perspectives on particular events or situations
  • develop fresh responses to entrenched relationship dynamics
  • prepare for future situations in which they wish to function with a greater degree of flexibility, vitality and immediacy
  • bring together action, insight and ‘here and now’ experience as they engage with life
  • enlarge perceptions of themselves and others

Psychodrama assists groups to:

  • examine themselves and constructively work through the dynamics of group life
  • recognise patterns of interaction and interpersonal dynamics
  • investigate both the formal and informal relationship networks
  • recognize their collective functioning and make informed decisions about changing group norms