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Magagna, J. (1993). Paul Holmes and Marcia Karp (eds), Psychodrama, Inspiration and Technique, London and New York: Tavistock/Routledge, 1991, 256 pages, pb £ 14.99, hb £37.50. Free Associations, 4(2):305-309.

(1993). Free Associations, 4(2):305-309

Paul Holmes and Marcia Karp (eds), Psychodrama, Inspiration and Technique, London and New York: Tavistock/Routledge, 1991, 256 pages, pb £ 14.99, hb £37.50

Review by:
Jeanne Magagna

Marcia Karp, trained by Dr J.L. Moreno and Berlia Zerka, founded the Holwell Centre for Psychodrama with her husband, Ken Sprague, an artist and socio-dramatist. Holwell Centre is a farmhouse with a theatre, set in the Devon hills and inhabited by the Harp—Sprague family and fellow psychodramatists participating in week-long psychodrama training events. An intimate, cheerful atmosphere surrounds the psychodrama sessions participated in by six to twenty-five people coming from all parts of the world. One must see Marcia and Ken at work to appreciate the imagination, curiosity, playfulness, and courage involved in the psychodramatic method. The gradual build-up of inner dramatic tension in the protagonist enables deep levels of the hidden personality to be reached. Marcia and Ken's task as directors is to enable the protagonist who, when the moment feels right, volunteers to participate in a psychodrama. The protagonist often reaches a climax of feeling which can foster a flow of intense emotions, producing ‘shock’. Arising from the return of projected and repressed feelings, catharsis is a rich experience for insight and thought, to be applied at that moment and in the subsequent group discussion.

The psychodramatic method provides a very valuable learning experience for all psychotherapists, regardless of their theoretical orientation. Anyone who has the courage to face themselves honestly, in the context of a supportive group, will find the staging of their own lives and that of others to be a most dramatic moment.

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