PSYCHODRAMA IN GERMANY
By Agnes Dudler
Germany is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe. It consists of 16 constituent states, which retain limited sovereignty, and covers an area of 357,021 square kilometers. Its capital and largest city is Berlin. The seat of government is Berlin and Bonn. Germany has about 81 million inhabitants.
DEVELOPMENT OF PSYCHODRAMA
Psychodrama was brought to Germany by Moreno’s students Grete Leutz and Heika Straub, who have both been in Beacon; they started their first training groups in the early 70s. In 1975 both founded their own institutes, the first ones in Germany: “Moreno Institut Überlingen” (today: Edenkoben instead of Überlingen) and “Moreno Institut Stuttgart”. Both institutes are going to celebrate their 40th birthday together in September 2015 in Stuttgart. Grete and Heike were assisted by Meinolf Schönke, teacher at the University of Münster, who founded the “Psychodrama Institute Münster”, that was closed some years ago. Other institutes followed like “Institute Ella Mae Shearon” and “Psychodrama Institut Rheinland” in the 80s, PIfE and Szenen both in 1991, “ISI” and “Psychodramaforum Berlin” both after 2000.
In the 70s and 80s psychodrama was flourishing and the institutes were growing. At the best time there were about 50 training groups running at the same time. Today the institutes are happy with 2 – 5 training groups; to survive and promote psychodrama they also offer training groups in supervision, group work, organizational development and other fields of application that last less time and use psychodrama as the method of training. Psychodrama was rarely taught at the universities. The major part of psychological institutes at German universities is occupied by behaviorists. Today there is a growing number of professors at colleges, who have a training in psychodrama and use it in their teaching, mostly at colleges for social sciences.
A great problem for psychodrama as for other humanistic methods like gestalt, client centered therapy and some methods of body therapy was the law to regulate psychotherapy in Germany. Since 1999 psychologists like medical doctors for psychotherapy are officially accredited and their work is paid for by the health insurance companies. Before only medical doctors and psychologists with a certified training in psychoanalysis or behavior therapy under delegation of a doctor could do this. The problem for psychodrama was, that only psychoanalysis, analytic psychodynamic and behavior therapy were legally accepted. This meant a dramatic decline of trainees for the institutes, because psychologists and medical doctors turned to training in one of the three accepted methods.
While until the 90s a large number of trainees wanted to become psychodrama therapists, they are now a minority. Many other professions are to be found in the groups and they strive for a certificate as psychodrama director.Still a number of therapists who work in a clinic or a public counselling institution use psychodrama, a large part of them in clinics for drug addicts.
Since the founding of the first institutes psychodrama became one of the sections of the umbrella organization for group therapy and dynamics, the DAGG (Deutscher Arbeitskreis für Gruppendynamik und Gruppenpsychotherapie) that existed more than 40 years. See also > DFP.pdf.
Today we have some institutes who offer training in psychodrama without being accredited by the DFP, the professional accrediting organization.
Since the end of the 90s some institutes have developed a special training for the treatment of drug addicts, which is also accepted officially by the governmental organization that pays for the treatment. There is also a special training of psychodrama with children developed by Alfons Aichinger und Walter Holl, who published 3 books and a lot of articles on this special way of symbolic play with children.
Psychodrama and also sociodrama are vivid in Germany and the community as the public interest is growing. There is a large number of books published on psychodrama and sociodrama. There is also a journal; the ZPS (Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie / Journal for Psychodrama and Sociometry) edited twice a year and some special editions on topics like “Empirical Research and Science”, “The Drama of Addiction”, “Moreno as Prophet”.
Close to psychodrama there is a large community of Play Back Theater in Germany with many groups in many cities. A great part of the members of these groups are psychodramatists. They simply like to play and act, which is getting rare, when you have finished your training and you work as psychodramatists.