The First Step

From Rosemary Nourse who ran a workshop,Spontaneity when mediating conflict, on Sunday morning of the Conference.

The first step is a structured intervention Carlos Raimundo developed using psychodrama principles and Playmobil figure. It is especially helpful in prompting changes in perspective in conflicted situations.

Several protagonists can be produced simultaneously.

  1. Place a stage in front of the client and direct her/him to choose a figure to be themselves.
  2. “Place her/him where s/he is.”
  3. “Choose people to be all the other people who are here/all the people important in her life/important in parenting /important to the children/significant in this situation” (depending on the situation and purpose).
  4. “Place them how they are in relation to each other.” It is often helpful to add that they can move arms heads etc.
  5. “Who else is here?”
  6. Check that everyone is here who needs to be here.
  7. “Watch the stage. I am going to turn it around. Change anyone/anything that needs to be changed for this to be how it is/accurate.”
  8. Allow time for clients to make adjustments.

     When people place an auxiliary off the stage to create distance, direct them to place the figure on the stage. Otherwise some containment is lost. Also, that auxiliary would be left out of any change of perspective generated when the stage is turned around.

  1. “If this were a movie/book/poem, what would you call it?”

Some people have difficulty with this step, making comments like “I’m “I’m no good at this”. These people often also experience difficulty generating and considering options when in conflict, so it can be helpful to spend time doubling/playing with possible titles etc to encourage a shift back into progressive functioning .  

  1. Provide a second stage beside the first, on the right for right handers and left for left handers. “Choose another figure to be you and set out the situation etc as you would like it to be/the ideal/if it were working really well etc.”
  2. Check everyone here.
  3. Turn the stage around, “Adjust anything you need to for this to be the ideal/how you would like it/working for everyone etc ….”
  4. “If this were a movie/book/poem, what would you call it?”
  5. “Look at both ‘Disaster’ (first title) and ‘Hope’ (second title) and take the first step that would transform ‘Disaster’ to ‘Hope’.
  6. If the client has moved her/himself, leave figure where it is.
  7. If the client has moved an auxiliary, put figure back where it was. “What is the first step xxxx (client’s name) would take to transform ‘Disaster’ to ‘Hope’?”
  8. “What would this step be in real life?”.

Have people share what their first step is.