Belgium has 10,000,000 inhabitants and a surface of 30,000 sq. km. The country lies at the intersection of Germanic and Roman cultures, as also the case with Luxembourg, Alsace and Switzerland. It is, basically, a Federation of three regions: Flanders (Dutch-speaking), in the North, comprising 58% of the population; Wallonia (French speaking) in the South (32% of the population) and, in the middle, the capital, Brussels (bilingual, 10%). There also exists a small, 50,000-people German speaking community in the East.
A HISTORY OF THE BEGINNINGS OF PSYCHODRAMA
PD came from France, where, since 1946, it has mainly developed under an analytical form. Starting in May 1959, Anne Ancelin Schützenberger regularly held T-groups with psychodrama during week-ends at the Belgian ‘EPE’ Ecole des Parents (School for Parents) She was the guest of Pierre Fontaine. It was a great success and, consequently, 10 week-ends were organised during the first year. It was the beginning of the psychodrama held in Belgium.
Schützenberger resorted to PD that she called triadic (in the sense Moreno-Lewin-Freud). In order to provide a more therapy oriented training, it was necessary to organise the PD outside EPE. Thus, the return from the group psychotherapy congress in Milan (1963) marks the creation of a group that grew in importance after the 1st PD congress organised by Schützenberger in Paris (1964). The group was surnamed La Verveine. It convened at week-ends led by Anne Schützenberger, alternating with evening sessions led by Fontaine and Cuvelier. Other foreign animators, as the couple P & G. Lemoine and S. Blajan-Marcus, were also invited for the week-ends.
About 1964, the SEPT of Paris started a basic group in Brussels. Francine Bigwood led it and its members could attend a advanced group in Paris.
In Flanders, beginning with 1965, F. Cuvelier regularly practised psychodrama in Institute. In 1971, after the 6th International Congress of PD in Amsterdam, he organizes a psychodrama training group that attracts many participants from Holland. This training will later be taken up again at Relatie Studio that Cuvelier founds in Gent, where the training has its place in a relation counselling training.
In 1966, during the 2nd Congress of Psychodrama held in Barcelona, P. Fontaine, together with his friend, Dolf Grunwald, were impressed by the psychodrama of the American psychodramatists Dean and Doreen Elefthery. They invited the latter to start training (in English) in Holland and Belgium. These Elefthery groups will continue until 2004. In 1972 they will organise an open International Psychodrama Seminar in Leuven with 107 participants from eight countries.
A National Organisation
A national organisation groups together French speaking psychodramatists on purposes of exchange. It is not an accrediting organization. It was initiated in 1995 under the name ABP (Belgian Association for Psychodrama). See also www.psychodrame.be At the moment, it has 20 members, but we can estimate the number of practising French speaking psychodramatists to be between 60 and 80. Their orientation is essentially clinical and analytical. It is ambulatory and residential, in group and individual. The association organises yearly a meeting. There are papers and panels presented by the members but there is also a one day’s session led by an invited foreign trainer.
The training has always been for psychodrama and through psychodrama. Along the years many have joined the training groups of psychodrama but do not have a psychodrama practice, but they feel more at ease by using techniques such as doubling or empty-chair and/or have acquired a different view on the psychology of everyday life.
Within the Dutch-speaking community, the Belgian psychodramatists can join the Dutch-Belgian Association VvP: Vereniging voor Psychodrama. See here under Netherlands. The number of practicing psychodramatists is lower in Flanders and they are rather oriented towards education and training than towards psychotherapy.
In Flandres. Dutch speaking
Relatie Studio. (former member of FEPTO) PD is present inside a larger training for relational counselor. Voskenslaan 167 at 9000 Ghent. See www.relatiestudio.be
Main trainer: Ferdinand Cuvelier.
School for Experiential-Dialectical Psychodrama. (Member of FEPTO) Founded by Leni Verhofstadt-Denève at the Ghent University, it moved (2007) to the Antwerp University, where it is a part of a postgraduate training Experiential & developmental child and youth psychotherapy. See www.VerhofstadtDeneve.be
Main PD trainer : Leni Verhofstadt-Denève.
CFIP-Verveine (Member of FEPTO). The Verveine Group, founded in 1963, merged with CFIP (Centre pour la Formation et l’Intervention Psychosociologique), in 1975. This centre also provides other training groups, like AT, Coaching, Av. Gribaumont, 153 at B 1200 Brussels. See www.cfip.be
Main trainer PD Chantal Nève-Hanquet.
CDGAI Centre Dynamique des Groupes et d’Analyse Institutionelle, created in 1972 by the Service de Psychologie Sociale de l’Universite de Liege Rue Bois St Jean 9 at B 4102 Seraing. See www.cdgai.be The centre provides training to groups and institutions. Within its framework, it also provides basic training and advanced or didactic training in PD. The latter is in collaboration with the CERP of the l’Ecole Belge de Psychanalyse.
Main Trainer PD: Bernard Robinson.
Fontaine, P (Ed.) (2e 2001) Psychodrama Training. A European view. Leuven: FEPTO Publications. Has been published in Turkish
Fontaine, P. (Ed.) (2008) Psychodrama: Studies and applications. Leuven
Michelet, J. (2008) Handicap mental et technique du psychodrame. Paris : L’Harmattan.
Robinson, B. (1998) Psychodrame et psychanalyse. Jeux et théâtres de l’âme. Paris: De Boeck.
Verhofstadt-Denève, L (2000) Theory and practice of action and drama techniques. Developmental psychotherapy from an existential-dialectical viewpoint. London: Jessica Kingsley.
Fontaine, P et Robinson, B. (1988) Le psychodrame. Simulation et Commentaires. Two videos each 45 min. Louvain-la-Neuve : Centre Audio-visuel de l’UCL
Fontaine, P et Robinson, B. (1992) Formation au psychodrame. La Formation et Le groupe didactique. Two videos each 45 min. Louvain-la-Neuve : CAV de l’UCL.
Folia Psychodramatica. From 1968 to 1972 and in 1988. Issues in French, Dutch, English and Italian.
Professional: ABP is member of ABP (Belgian Association of Psychotherapy), NAO organisation in Belgium for EAP (European Association for Psychotherapy).
Ghent: Leni Verhofstadt-Denève, as professor at Ghent University succeeded in 1984 to integrate psychodrama in the last year curriculum of clinical psychologists. Psychodrama became one of the four major options that students could follow (next to behavioural, psychoanalytic or client centred psychotherapy). Moreover, from 1990 on, she created a Postgraduate specialisation and, in 1996, she founded an Institute now named School for Experiential-Dialectical Psychodrama.
Antwerp: After retirement (in 2006) Verhofstadt moved the main activities of her school from the University of Ghent to the University of Antwerp, where PD is included in her Postgraduate training, recognised on a Post Master level.
Liège: As mentioned Psychodrama training can be done at the Service and training Centre CDGAI from the University
There is at this moment no State law organising psychotherapy. The tendency is to agree 3 modalities: Cognitive Behavioural; Psychoanalytical and Client Centred.
The PD School of Verhofstadt is experiential and would be an option in the Client Centred modality.