Claudia Palmira and Valerie Simon, LCSW, PAT, present an experientially therapeutic exercise you can do at home. This can give you a tiny sample of the power of psychodramatic work, which allows you to give voice to the often unacknowledged parts of ourselves. Our group work during the Retreat weekends brings this to a whole new dimension.
Hi I’m Claudia
And I’m Valerie
And we’re here to talk to you about Restart Retreats. And today we have a special treat for you, which is that Valerie is going to give you a a little at-home psychodrama work you can do.
And first off, a little, brief explanation, because sometimes when people hear the word psychodrama, it’s a little bit intimidating. Really, it’s this method that was created almost 100 years ago, quite honestly, by a psychiatrist who started out in Europe, he started creating it when he was in Vienna, and then brought it to the United States. It’s really using role-playing in a way that helps us get in touch with different parts of ourselves, and it helps us tap into emotions in a way that just intellectually talking about something might not.
So something you can try at home if you’d like to …. The method is also used–in groups – it’s really effective because people play roles for you. And you don’t have to be an actor or performer to do this kind of work. But you can also do it one on one, I do this sometimes with clients. Or even just if you’re home by yourself, you can try this little exercise as a little demo of the method.
So let’s just say you had a situation, you think back over your life. Something that maybe happened to you when you were younger. And just think about the age you might have been when something that happened to your life. You can do one of two things. To have a conversation with yourself back at that age – so you can either put literally an empty chair down and talk to the empty chair. Sometimes people put a stuffed animal or something in the chair, or you can just have it empty. And talk like you are talking to yourself at that age. Say if something significant happened, say your parents got divorced when you were 9 years old. Talk to yourself, from the adult you are now to where you were back then. Then you can even do something, switch chairs and answer as that 9-year-old. And you will be amazed at what we can connect with. Because where we have little wounds within ourselves, a little part of us maybe gets blocked there. So giving that part a voice can just really help us connect and break through some different blocks we might have and just help us – when we’re talking about authenticity – help us to move forward to the authentic life we want. Because sometimes it has to do with something that happened so long ago.
So you can do this either – like I described with an empty chair. The other thing you can do is write a letter. If you’re more comfortable doing it this way, sit down and write a letter to yourself at a certain age. So, I’ll use myself as an example: ‘Dear 9-year-old Valerie, I’m so sorry such and such happened…’ or whatever the content is. Just let yourself write. And, then you can even let that 9-year-old write a letter back to you as an adult. So you really have an opportunity to give voice to a part of ourselves that sometimes we didn’t even know got buried, got lost, went invisible. And it can be a really healing experience.
Fantastic. Two wonderful ideas. Talking to the empty chair and writing a letter.
Yeah, and that is a tiny, little taste of of what we do at our Retreat in Tuscany. It’s much more involved. But that is a little exercise you can try at home.