The Effectiveness of Psychodramatic Techniques Essay

Effectiveness of Psychodramatic Techniques

Kipper & Ritchie (2003) describes a study that evaluated the effectiveness of psychodramatic techniques. According to Kipper, & Ritchie (2003), despite the development of psychodrama as a form of psychotherapy in early 20th century, its application in the clinical practice has been diminishing over the years. The major reason attributed to diminishing application is infrequency of research data to validate its effectiveness. There are only few studies involving clinical observations on the effectiveness of psychodrama. Additionally, the available data on the effectiveness of psychodrama are often based on weak experimental designs hence reducing their validity.

The low rate of studies on psychodrama is attributed to the fact the most pyschodramatist are clinical personnel and hence they are reluctant to engage in scientific research. Kipper and Ritchie conducted a Meta-analysis on the effectiveness of psychodramatic techniques. The Meta-analysis conducted based on 25 experiments showed that there were high improvements on the overall effect size than the commonly reported in-group psychotherapy. Out of the four analyzed techniques, role reversal and doubling emerged as the most effective techniques of psychodrama (Kipper, & Ritchie, 2003).

The Meta-analysis on the effectiveness of psychodramatic techniques was significant since it helped to validate use psychodrama in clinical practice. First, it helped in elaborating the correct definition of psychodrama. According to (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2013), psychodrama refers to psychotherapy method that use dramatization of personal experiences through role-playing and enactment in various conditions. The study also helped to give an insight on various techniques of implementing psychodrama therapy in a group of people. According to Kipper and Ritchie (2003), there are four commonly used psychodramatic techniques which include role reversal, doubling, role-playing and mixed techniques.

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Kipper and Ritchie, (2003), points out that, role reversal technique is an enactment that involves changing the initially given role with the role either of another person who may be present or absent. Meanwhile, Role-playing technique refers to the enactment of roles either scripted or spontaneously using own identity. When using this technique, the actors maintain their own identity during the entire enactment. On the other hand, doubling technique refers to an enactment where an actor and the auxiliary or a helper works alongside each other (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2013). In this context, the actor portrays her identity, and the auxiliary emulate his identity. Mixed technique refers to enactment where actors combine role playing, doubling and role reversal (Kipper, & Ritchie, 2003).  However, out of the four, the study concluded that role reversal and doubling were the most effective psychodramatic techniques in the clinical practice. Proponents of the study indicate that the researchers avoided biases by selecting the inclusion criteria for the study independently (Smit, et al., 2012).

On the contrary, opponents of the study indicate that the researcher failed to indicate the inclusion criteria of the participants. Equally, the Meta-analysis only included studies that were published in the English language and thus there was a high potential for biases in the selection criteria and this limited the validity and reliability of the analysis (Feng, et al., 2012). The Meta-analysis also included old studies that were conducted between 1965 and 1999; this employment of old data compromised the reliability of the study since interventions have changed over the period. Most of the studies that were included in the Meta-analysis involved students as the participants hence the effectiveness of psychodramatic techniques could not be assessed in different populations limiting the application population, extend of generality and desired application areas. Above all, the analysis also gave limited details of the participants, interventions, and outcomes of the study. Lack of detailed information affected the reliability of the study in demonstrating the effectiveness of the study (Smit, et al., 2012).


Corey, M., Corey, G., & Corey, C. (2013). Groups: Process and practice. Cengage Learning.

Feng, C. Y., Chu, H., Chen, C. H., Chang, Y. S., Chen, T. H., Chou, Y. H., … & Chou, K. R. (2012). The effect of cognitive behavioral group therapy for depression: A meta‐analysis 2000–2010. Worldviews on EvidenceBased Nursing, 9(1), 2-17.

Kipper, D. A., & Ritchie, T. D. (2003). The effectiveness of psychodramatic techniques: A meta-analysis. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 7(1), 13.

Smit, Y., Huibers, M. J., Ioannidis, J. P., van Dyck, R., van Tilburg, W., & Arntz, A. (2012). The effectiveness of long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy—A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical psychology review, 32(2), 81-92.