Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies


The purpose of this study was to explore Adlerian psychotherapists’ perspectives on using psychodrama in the treatment of neurotic clients, its therapeutic value, and the training requirements to implement a psychodramatic intervention. The study explored whether and how the use of psychodrama affected therapists, clients, and the therapeutic process. Forty-five Adlerian psychotherapists attended a single psychodrama workshop designed to train them to implement a psychodramatic intervention previously used in a pilot study. Following the workshop, 21 participants implemented the psychodramatic intervention with 42 clients previously assessed as neurotic. Following the workshop and implementation of the psychodramatic intervention, participants completed a survey questionnaire that evaluated the intervention’s feasibility, effectiveness, and value. Participants were interviewed about their experience. The qualitative data were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis, revealing the psychodramatic intervention provided an out-of-the ordinary experience and had a valuable therapeutic impact. Seven themes emerged. Three themes characterized the nature of the intervention: (1) different experience, (2) visualization, and (3) emotional expression; four described its value: (4) discovering strengths, (5) insight, (6) behavioral change, and (7) therapeutic relationship. The intervention was experienced as a unique and multifaceted experience that illustrated the clients' unrealistic goals and the gap between their real and ideal-self, eliciting strong emotions. Participants reported the intervention helped them to find strengths in their clients, promoted cognitive and behavioral change, and strengthened the therapeutic relationship. These findings not only support previous research on the feasibility and value of using nonverbal methods in psychotherapy, they also contribute to the field of expressive arts therapies by deepening the understanding of the applications of expressive methods in verbal psychotherapy. More research is needed to gain understanding of using action methods in psychotherapy in general and in the treatment of neurotic clients in particular.

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