Dramatherapy and psychodrama, as creative action methods in psychotherapy,
can then be seen to overlap. They facilitate the development of
the person through encouraging spontaneity and creativity. They
are within the humanistic, existential and phenomenological traditions
of therapy. Dramatherapy is influenced as much by developments in
20th Century theatre and drama as by its interface with schools
of therapy. This makes generalisations about the methods difficult.
One potentially useful distinction between the two methods is the
degree of ‘distancing’ used. (Casson, 2004, 67-8)
We are individuals because we can separate from the other. To separate
we must have appropriate boundaries and be able to express and assert
ourselves in relation to the other, people and the world. To do
this we need to achieve a ‘middle’ distance in our relationships,
neither too distant nor too close: we must mediate our closeness,
negotiate our intimacy and regulate our distance so as to be neither
overwhelmed nor too isolated. We must also mediate our relationship
with ourselves: the I-me relationship, so that we are not overwhelmed
by our own experience nor too distant from our own needs: self aware
and able to achieve a balanced, self regulated sense of self. In
order to survive we need relationships: we are social creatures.
Withdrawal into isolation may be healthy sometimes, giving us time
to think, breathe, relax, contemplate, and so moderate the impact
of the other, people/world. Letting ourselves be engulfed by others,
giving up our separateness may sometimes be healthy: in the ecstasy
of love/sex, in football crowds, in political or religious experiences.
But between these extremes we need a middle distance, a fulcrum,
to hold these polarities, of extreme isolation on the one hand,
and merging so we lose identity on the other hand, in balance. Birdfield
(1998/9, 27) proposed a middle path between underdistance and overdistance
which he called therapeutic or aesthetic distance.
(Casson, 2004, 119-120)
The Communicube then provides sufficient distance and a containing
structure for material that might otherwise overwhelm. It is a development
of dramatherapy and psychodrama practice which emerged during research
and is soundly based within these therapeutic disciplines. It is
an open and flexible method and is being used by therapists from
many different orientations.