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Vol 21, No 2, Article 04: PDF

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A Psychodrama Strategy for Conflictual Interpersonal Relationships: Theory and Practice
Leni M.F. Verhofstadt-Denève

The present article suggests the application of a strategy, originating from psychodrama, for tackling interpersonal conflicts, in which the direct dialogue between two opposing protagonists is prepared step-by-step through an indirect intrapersonal phenomenological dialogue, where both protagonists simultaneously operate as actor and as silent observer; this method is referred to as the “Simultaneous Action-Observer Strategy” (SA-OS).
   The first part of the article briefly explores the theoretical background, with a special emphasis on the Phenomenological-Dialectical Personality Model (Phe-Di PModel). The second part describes the procedure through its five action stages, each accompanied with a spatial representation of the consecutive actions and a theoretical interpretation in relation to the Phe-Di PModel in both the actor- and observer-mode.
   The article concludes with a discussion of some variants of the SA-OS and an attempt at explaining its power: i.e. in relation to recent neurological insights and the notion of “Empathic Accuracy”(EA).
Keywords: psychodrama, conflict, dialectics, observer-mode, actor-mode, mirroring, mentalising, empathic accuracy

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