It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to this edition of Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie that is dedicated to research undertaken in many forms and places. Kate Kirk was honoured to be asked to be part of the editorial team by Michael Wieser and Christian Stadler. We must not forget someone who was present though more behind the scenes, Konrad Schnabel in a supportive role of reviewer of statistics. This edition’s content is much more than simply a German or even European journal, it is international. This project demonstrates the breadth of psychodrama research taking place in parts of the world.
Of course, we cannot have a journal dedicated to psychodrama psychotherapy research without mentioning the influence, role and support of the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR). Psychodrama researchers have been active in presenting at SPR annual international conferences—look out for details for SPR Jerusalem 2016. Some of the co-authored studies are evidence of SPR collaboration across modalities, as well as countries. One exciting aspect of this journal is to see the studies that have been conceived and observed through their gestational process at meetings of the Federation of European Psychodrama Training Organisations (FEPTO) research committee. Here is the delivery of these FEPTO babies for the scrutiny of the psychodrama research community and they demonstrate the liveliness of European psychodrama studies.
So without further ado let us give you a flavour of the contents held within this edition full of riches related to psychodrama research influencing theory and practice.
The contents are divided into four sections:
1 Research instruments, methods, and network research
The opening article is drawn from an original unpublished manuscript from the late David Kipper. In Factor Analysis of the Revised Spontaneity Assessment Inventory (SAI-R) Kipper and Beasley use this scale designed to assess spontaneity; they highlight three factors that support theoretical views on spontaneity. The use of SAI-R is described in the following two articles. The first is a comparative study across two countries (Testoni et al.): Austria and Italy; whereby levels of spontaneity are correlated with levels of psychological well-being using SAI-R and CORE-OM and Beck’s Depression Inventory. This study is seen as a helpful pre-cursor to a study of clinical population.
The next article, by Rabung et al., that uses SAI-R is Psychometric Evaluation of the German Version of the SAI-R. In a development of SAI-R, a German translation was applied in two settings: non- clinical and clinical populations. The findings reveal the reliability, acceptability and validity of this German SAI-R.
From Portugal, Pio-Abreu and Villares Oliviera’s article introduce readers to their method of measuring tele in material derived from sociometric tests. They describe the four indices that comprise the measure and describe its application and analysis to both real world and virtual groups. A second Portuguese article entitled Towards the Development of Helpful Aspects of Morenian Psychodrama Content Analysis System (HAMPCAS) by Cruz et al. demonstrates the innovation and development of a psychodrama specific data collection method, based in previously validated instruments. It has been exciting to watch the process of this research from conception and delivery in the arena of FEPTO research committee through to dissemination in this journal.
Dima and Bucuta represent Romania with their article entitled ‘The method of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) in psychodrama research’. Their article takes the reader through the theory and practice of IPA in a simple instructive way. The final article in this section is both geographically broad and culturally sensitive. Drawing on new material from Hong Kong and Hungary the results were compared by Stadler et al. with a 2009 study from Germany/Austria, Israel and Nigeria the focus was not surprisingly on ‘Intercultural network-research: Cross-cultural analysis of social network characteristics and life satisfaction’.
2 Clinical research with adults
Debus and Ahrens present their psychodrama research from the toughest corner of clinical work: inpatient psychiatric ward with violent patients and situations. In a sensitive exploration they demonstrate ways of using psychodramas of conflicted and difficult situations to inform and promote alternatives to other more oppressive ways of managing challenging patients; if, it seems, the therapist is willing to undertake the role reversal required to gain understanding. The setting for Fingerhut’s research was in a psychiatric outpatient clinic with material drawn from two psychodrama groups. Changes are demonstrated through case studies and the presentation of post-group evaluation of patients over 2 years.
The final article in this section is from Slovenia, Prosen’s psychodrama research follows 7 years of clinical psychodrama with clients who have eating disorders. She presents not only the themes but tentatively suggests a degree of effects and the relevance of psychodrama with this client group.
3 Clinical research with children and young people
In an appropriately playful entitled article, which highlights role expansion from shark to bank teller, Uschold-Meier and Wagner’s research takes place in a German children’s home. They use a psychodrama specific tool (RDI) to measure change, in conjunction with other tools, from different perspectives. They found the method effective in practice and that it supported therapists’ own reflections. The next article is from Austria. Köfeler and Krall’s study has been followed with keen interest in the FEPTO research committee; it focuses on promoting social interaction with children who have selective mutism. This study uses multiple collection methods: specially designed questionnaires and video analysis; importantly they include the children’s views. They found that some psychodrama interventions were directly related to an improvement in social interaction.
Scheuffgen et al.’s study population are boys who are in a specialised unit for trauma and sexually abusive behaviours where psychodrama is an intrinsic part of treatment. This long-term study from 2010 has been evaluating the boys’ progress at 6 monthly intervals from three perspectives: their own, their therapists and their pedagogues. When there is agreement across the three perspectives this is viewed a success; differences are explored further through supervision for the therapist involved. Results are also given from an interview survey of previous clients who were asked about their experiences of psychodrama group psychotherapy.
In the final article in this section, Gstrein’s study focuses on a specific, and unusual, application of psychodrama; i.e. with young people (17–19 years) who have mathematics anxiety. She ran ten psychodrama sessions for students and evaluated the changes in their presenting problems using a number of tools. The results, gained from combined qualitative and quantitative data collection tools, demonstrated the positive impact of psychodrama on their struggles.
4 Research in supervision, education, and training
From Hungary, Marlok et al. test Krüger’s technique of self-supervision with role reversal (SSRR) in promoting the relationship between the client and therapist. They compared SSRR with a modified writing exercise. Their results demonstrated both methods effective in dissolving blocks and containing therapists’ feelings; however SSRR promoted more empathy and helpfulness towards clients.
Daniel’s Australian phenomenological study sought to replicate a previous study and further to explore the experiences that supervisees had of role reversal in one-to-one supervision. Her findings revealed similar themes to those noted in the earlier study: increase in spontaneity and confidence and a decrease in anxiety. She reflects on the dynamic of holding multiple roles in relation to her research participants, with a side effect of causing some anxiety in the beginning.
Çam’s study explores the role psychodrama plays in promoting self-disclosure in Turkish university students who, as a consequence, recognised the need to improve their communication and social skills.
Fürst and Krall describe one snapshot of their work training trainee psychotherapists in research skills and awareness alongside their psychotherapy training. TRAIN (Towards Research Applied in an International Network of Trainees) has been in development in FEPTO research committee for some years, instigated and continued by the Austrian authors. This article reveals the results from interviews with trainees who have been on the receiving end of psychotherapy training that is steeped in research from the beginning. The findings reveal what has been helpful and hindering in the process and also the students’ recommendations for future training.
From Germany, Schnabel and Reif’s article ‘Ways to Evaluate Psychodrama Training’ aims to fill a gap in the research literature, i.e. research into the effects and quality of psychodrama training. An interesting finding from their study suggests that the earlier trainees engage in psychodrama enactment predicts the likelihood of them continuing their training. They recommend self and observer feedback as part of evaluation in training and as a way of measuring the long term effects of training.
In the final article of this section we return to Austria and Hintermeier presents 8 years worth of psychodrama psychotherapy master’s theses. In a detailed description she lays out not only the subjects under exploration by students’ but also the research methods they have used. What emerges is a wealth of material that could be a great resource for other students and researchers, so as not to reinvent the wheel but to use as a starting platform for their own studies. We are sad that it is in German and so not accessible to other students in other countries.
By way of closing the circle, in some way, you find that Kirk has written the Epilogue. It is a reprint and updating of a letter written in surplus reality to Dr Moreno. We are pleased that things have moved on since the original letter was written.
So here you are, a progression from Stadler and Wieser (2011), 4 years on and a second issue focussing on research. Will we have to wait another 4 years? Or, will you submit snapshots of your own research studies, works in progress and results? Please do submit proposals to the editorial board of the ZPS: email@example.com. On another but related matter, there are moves afoot to start a European Psychodrama Research Journal. So look out for information on this development.
Happy reading and good luck with any of your own research projects.