The Teddy Bear Technique and Psychodrama | by Tammy Stoner, LCSW - Talk About Marriage
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The Teddy Bear Technique and Psychodrama | by Tammy Stoner, LCSW

Some times the basic presumptions of psychotherapy conflict with managed care requirements of gathering information extraordinarily fast, and helping people get treatment results at full speed. At times assessing problems, and developing effective treatment plans take longer than the traditional psychotherapeutic process has trained us for. It’s not our fault that it takes so long to get treatment results, there is a shortage of treatment tools.

Psychodrama, a method of practice developed by J L Moreno, can be a highly effective method of generating breakthrough results extraordinarily fast. All integrations of human beings are accessed, creativity, thinking, family relationships, healing and spirituality, are incorporated into the process, and techniques taught that can be applied outside of the counselor’s office, and in the home, work, and relationship settings are learned.

What can you expect from psychodrama in a clinical setting?

As you might expect, psychodrama involves skills and techniques from the acting world, combined with psychological and sociological training, to produce dramatic action. Just as in drama, a skit is developed and written, out of the purposes and needs of the individual, of which it is being applied. Group members take part in each others dramas, so that they can bring these dramas as close to home as possible. They become real, and surreal characters. Characters found in their own lives, mapped out as MeBears.

This has the effect of encouraging group participation so that learning can be applied. Individuals can practice new skills, and teachings inside the group, inside a “safety net�, before taking them home to practice with “real life� relationships.

The process of psychodrama reaches into the subjective experience of human beings. Through the subjective experience, old agendas can be healed and completed. The individual can explore the past, present and future through acting out skits, and real life scenarios. Movement by movement, living sculptures are designed, built and evolved. An exploration of self in relation to others is molded through the subjective experience, and participants benefit with greater insights and the ability to step into another’s life experience through role play, and drama. It adds the element of entertainment, drama, and play. It’s fun.

The movement in psychodrama in a clinical setting is powerful leaving profound impacts. Yet like other art forms, it has limitations. It takes quite a bit of skill and leadership to guide it, and it can be a bold step, too fast for a psychosocial evaluation, before adequate trust and safety has been established. It’s a direct and active approach. It depends upon more than one person to act out the scripts for best results, and group is the primary modality.

The Teddy Bear Technique® applies an active direct approach through the application of MeBear Family members, and also has limitations, as it is being introduced as a “playful object for adults� of both genders. However, since it has huge appeal as an object, and generates extraordinary curiosity, upon learning it will be used as a treatment tool, it’s easy to engage with this object, and, relatively simple to break through resistances, even with adults. The teddy bear adds an element of safety, throughout all phases of the treatment process. Projection onto a teddy bear is easy. Like many skits in practice, it’s movement is in and out of the MeBear Family character.

Transitional objects, such as the MeBear Family applied, in the Teddy Bear Technique® demonstrate a moving tool, and technique, and add a level of safety, in applying elements of psycho drama in a session. Safer because it doesn’t ask “people to move�, it asks people to move “MeBears�, adding a depth, unique as an art form, and an “infantile� element of safety as an object. Naturally the Teddy Bear Technique® evokes conversation, and stories while adding the element of play, and creativity in it’s application.

Psychodrama sets the stage, for people to act. The Teddy Bear Technique® establishes a floor plan, for teddies to interact as objects, narrated by self, through scripts designed by director. The treatment provider helps create the parameters, to give the tool form, and help with “set� and “stage� design. The setting, and time established, change between past, present and future as the stories flow, and objects move.

While the process of the Teddy Bear Technique® frequently begins with everything beginning with the Me MeBear, and then extending outward into other relationships, tremendous opportunities to shift roles, and explore others perspectives of position exist. Opportunities to play out characters, through the MeBear Family, extend into describing a myriad of relationships, and rescripting them in sculpture.

The applications of the Teddy Bear Technique® have been evidenced based, and conducted in community mental health centers, child and family welfare agencies, hospitals and schools, and amongst private practice practitioners More information can be found at
The author sells the Teddy Bear Technique® Toolkit to treatment providers including a complete program with the MeBear Family, specifically designed for this model.

Look for seminars, workshops and new ebooks coming to the website soon. Email:
June, 2007. Tammy Stoner All rights reserved.

Chris Hartwell, MSW

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