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Module 1: Basic Concepts of Psychodrama and Sociometry and Basic Psychodrama Techniques

Role Reversal, Doubling and The Empty Chair

On Demand
0 CE Hours

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The two fundamental techniques that accompany psychodrama/role play are doubling and role reversal. Understanding how to use these techniques allows clinicians to incorporate them into one-to-one therapy, couples, family and group therapy.


In this module, participants will learn a basic history of how JL Moreno’s triadic system of psychodrama and sociometry developed and the role his wife Zerka Moreno played in its continued development. Participants will learn how to do an empty chair role play and how to incorporate “doubling” and “role reversal” into the Empty Chair technique or into any form of therapy.


Psychodrama is a full, complex form of therapy that requires much training. However, psychodrama’s basic techniques of doubling and role reversal can enrich and extend many forms of therapy. 


In role play we “talk to, not about.” A client can, for example, put a person or part of self into an empty chair and talk “to” them, then reverse roles and talk “as” them, back to themselves.


Doubling allows clients a short-cut way of “dropping down” into themselves and giving their inner world a voice; it offers a form of introspection that is direct and embodied. 


Role Reversal allows clients to experience both sides of a relational dynamic that they may be having an issue with, they can speak as themselves, then reverse roles and speak as the other person or “part” of themselves. Role reversal gives clients a visceral experience of standing in the shoes of the “other,” building empathy, insight, flexibility and strength. 


Both can be incorporated into most forms of therapy, transforming and enhancing the way your clients experience themselves and others. Through role-play, clients can talk to parts of themselves as well as attachment figures from the past or present. Through sociometrics they can experience and practice new relational behaviors in the here and now.

Educational Goal

The educational goal of this module is for clinicians to better understand and incorporate the techniques Role Reversal, Doubling and The Empty Chair into their practice. 

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the basics of doubling and role reversal.

  • Identify 3 or more interventions/ processes to introduce experiential healing into programming for treatment centers, IOPs and groups.

  • Explain the basic techniques of psychodramatic role play and how to make them portable.

  • Demonstrate how emotion and context are stimulated through the alive, interactive process of role play.

Tian Dayton MA, PhD, TEP

Tian Dayton, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow at The Meadows and a nationally renowned speaker, expert, and consultant in trauma, addiction, and psychodrama. Dr. Dayton is the director of The New York Psychodrama Training Institute and author of 15 books, including the soon-to-be-released Treating Adult Children of Relational Trauma, Sociometrics, Emotional Sobriety, The ACoA Trauma Syndrome, and others. A board-certified trainer in psychodrama, sociometry, and group psychotherapy, she’s spent her decades-long career adapting psychodrama and sociometry for work specifically with relational trauma and addictions. Her trademarked processes, Relational Trauma Repair/RTR-SOCIOMETRICS, are used nationally and worldwide. Dr. Dayton is a fellow of the American Society of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy ASGPP, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, their Scholar’s Award, the President’s Award, and former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy. She also won The Marty Mann Award, The Mona Mansell Award, and The Ackermann Black Award. Dr. Dayton earned her masters in educational psychology and Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She served on the faculty at NYU for eight years and has appeared as a guest expert on NBC, CNN, MSNBC, and other major media outlets.


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