The Therapy setting

Setting for therapy

Three children and two therapists (play director and co-therapist) form a group around a round table, divided into individual territories but with a collective water space at the centre. The rule is to sit in a place (always the same) and take possession of a set of figurative objects (always the same, and of the same colour), which have been personally allotted to each member of the group. The play director always uses white objects. Two other therapists (session director and observer) form an outer circle around the group at a distance from the table. They represent a containing envelope

Video extract about the equipment

Basic rules

Once the child has placed the objects according to his chosen scenario they will make it possible to play out the stories invented and presented by each child before the group play session. The session director ensures the rules are respected: inviolable territory, respect of time sequences. Sessions last three-quarters of an hour, and the time is divided into 5 sequences: group introduction time managed by the session director – personal time for choice of objects and scenario creation – personal time for scenario presentation – group time for playing out the different scenarios – group time for closure indicated by the session director, who is responsible for the exchanges leading to closure

Video extract Basic rules

Individual story presentation

The time to tell the stories will begin only when each member of the group has finished his own construction and clearly announced he is ready. The person who start saying he is ready will then tell his story first. The second saying he is ready will be the second to tell his story etc. As the therapists are to develop relationship with and among the children, they will listen to the children’s stories first and then will quickly try to coin stories interrelated with those of children so as to favour multiple exchanges. The playing director will be the last to speak so that he can better articulate his own story with the children’s. Both the playing director and the co-therapist represent a group-containing envelope.

Video extract everyone tells his own story

Collective play

The purpose of role playing games is to develop relashioship among children while reassuring them. In order both to reduce trespassing fears and sustain identities. Everyone is reassured with their own personal territory which are protected by barriers. When someone wants to enter another’s territory to pay a visit, he needs the owner’s agreement first. The barriers are then slightly opened as a doorway. The brim around the basin can be used as a public path to move from a territory to anotherone. This is the only time when the children can walk around the table. The playing director helps sustaining group interelations more particularly during this role playing period. The latter possess a few specific objects that represent the ultimate functions of law (supreme judge), protection (supreme police officer, fireman, doctor, rescue officer…) and equipment for contention (hospital, prison, enclosures for dangerous animals) which he can use in the course of the role playing game.

Video extract Collective role playing

Two films have been made from one year’s recording of weekly Scenodrama sessions.
The first film (35 minutes) has been made in cooperation with the university department (U.E.R. Info-Com) of Rennes II. It was selected at the festival of Lorquin in 2003. The purpose of this film is to show how this therapy actually works (with its rules, setting…)
The second film (68minutes) is structured in four chapters. This film has a didactic purpose, it shows clinical vignettes so as to think over the following aspects of group work through Scenodrama:
1- Expression of pulsions in transfer : work by therapists (2 extracts)

2- Expression of separation fears – work to contain them, contribution to their structuring (4 extracts)

3- Development of metaphorization (5 extracts)

4- Aesthetics in the psychotherapeutical process (4 extracts)

These films were produced with the agreement of the families concerned, in accordance with current legislation protecting individuals and their right to control of their image and to confidentiality. They can only be presented in the context of training sessions or scientific presentations under the responsibility of Madame Baron-Preter, creator of Scenodrama, co-producer of the films and, until the present day, only therapist qualified to oversee the training.