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    A psychodrama workshop promises to help Chennaiites sort out their problems while having fun

    The shrink’s couch could soon become defunct. Therapists have a new tool now — psychodrama. A creative group method that uses role playing and spontaneous dramatisation to address challenging situations, psychodrama is a concept that is quite popular abroad. But it is as yet underutilised in India. Magdalene Jeyarathnam, the director of East-West Center for Counselling and Training and the Indian Institute of Psychodrama, plans to change that.

    Paving the way is a seven-day psychodrama workshop being organised in Nungam-bakkam from December 13 to 19. The workshop will be moderated by Sue Daniel, a psychodramatist and psychotherapist from Melbourne, Australia. “Psycho-drama is not taught in any psychology department in the country,” says Jeyarathnam. “So we bring in trainers from abroad.”

    In the workshop, participants can expect to deal with multiple life situations that have relevance to everyone. Each situation will be handled by one person in the group — the protagonist — who will script the role play and ensure the group’s participation. “People who participate come away with answers to questions they didn’t realise they had,” she says. A background in psychotherapy or psychology is not a prerequisite to participate. In fact, Jeyarathnam hopes to attract a small group (not more than 15 to 17 people) from diverse fields like teaching, human resources and social work.

    News of the workshop is also sparking interest because of Jeyarathnam’s husband, Eric Miller, the man behind the World Storytelling Institute. Though there isn’t an overt resemblance between storytelling and psychodrama, he feels people will be able to find a connection because “a storyteller puts her listeners into the roles of the characters being addressed by her character… and this is similar to conducting psychodrama sessions.”

    At Nungambakkam, from 9 am to 4 pm. Cost: Rs 8,500. Details: 9840394282

    — Surya Praphulla Kumar

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