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Journal of Instructional Psychology

Survey of psychodramatists’ opinions: professional issues post 9/11

Survey of psychodramatists’ opinions: professional issues post 9/11

Peter L. Kranz

To find out psychodramatists’ opinions about issues facing the profession that might have been affected by the terrorist acts of 09/11/2001, a survey was mailed to 200 individuals selected at random from the Directory of the American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy. Of the 78 respondents, 45 (58%) indicated that they felt the terrorist acts changed the profession “some-to-extensively”. Client issues, populations of clients served, approaches to psychotherapy, and training in psychodrama were major areas of perceived change. While 78 respondents may not represent the entire profession, it was hoped that the opinions conveyed could guide discussions as the healing professions attempt to cope with the after-effects of acts of terrorism.

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Introduction and Method

To ascertain psychodramatists’ opinions about issues facing the profession that might have been affected by the major acts of terrorism in the United States on September 11th, 2001, a survey was mailed to 200 individuals selected at random from the Directory of the American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy. Two doctoral-level psychologists, one of whom has extensive training in psychodrama, designed the survey, which contained primarily closed-ended questions for ease of response. Respondents were encouraged to provide additional qualifying information for each area of perceived change.

Of the 78 respondents, 67 provided demographic information. Of those 67, 40 were female and 27 male; 64 indicated that they were White, 1 responded Asian/Pacific Island American, and 2 indicated “other” as their race/ethnicity. In terms of age, 5 were 30-39, 11 were 40-49, 34 were 50-59, 12 were 60-69, and 5 indicated “over 70”.

Twenty-six of the 67 respondents providing demographic information indicated they were certified at the Practitioner level and 41 said they were credentialed at the Trainer, Educator and Practitioner (TEP) level. The average number of years indicated in practice as a psychodramatist was 19.0, with a range of 2-50 years. Twenty-nine self-identified primarily as a psychodramatist, and 38 indicated that their primary professional identification was other than as a psychodramatist. Of the latter 38, 12 self- identified as psychologists, 8 as psychotherapists, 9 as social workers, 4 as professors, 2 as professional counselors, 1 as a clinical consultant, 1 as a music therapist, and 1 as a lawyer.

Results

Following is a summary of the 78 responses to the survey of significant issues facing the psychodrama profession following the terrorist events of September 11th (commonly called 9/11).

Of the 78 survey respondents, 11 (14%) felt the terrorist events of 9/11 changed the profession of psychodrama extensively, 34 (44%) felt those events changed the profession “some”, 26 (33%) indicated no change, and 7 (9%) left the question blank. When asked about areas of the profession that might have changed as a result of 9/11 events, “client issues” was indicated as the area of greatest change, with 53 (68%) of the respondents indicating “some-to-extensive” change. “Population of clients served” was another area of notable perceived change, with 44 (56%) of the respondents indicating “some to extensive” change. In addition, a notable number (42 or 54%) of respondents felt that their approaches to psychotherapy were changed because of 9/11 events. Training in psychodrama was also an area of perceived change, with 31 (40%) of the respondents indicating “some to-extensive” change.

Survey respondents who provided qualifying narrative information indicated that:i) there was a need for more training in how to deal with trauma, anxiety and stress; ii) more training was needed in trauma debriefing, iii) trauma was a notable after-effect; and iv) many clients were seeking effective ways to find healing from the traumas of 9/11. Many perceived that the greatest effect was felt in clients in the Northeast corridor, especially in the NYC area. Several reported seeing clients with more manifestations of depression, anxiety, PTSD, trauma, feelings of hopelessness, and feelings of vulnerability about personal safety, and grief. Some indicated a need for greater emphasis on spiritual issues. Also mentioned were a need to form closer networking between psychodramatists and other professionals, a need for enhanced professional “self- care”, and a need to consider values even more deeply.

Summary

While 78 respondents may not be representative of the entire profession, it was hoped that the perceptions and opinions provided could guide discussion and avenues of potential organizational change and improvements as the healing professions attempt to deal with the after-effects of major acts of terrorism. Forty-five (58%) of the respondents to the current survey perceived that the events of 9/11 had some-to-extensive impact on the psychodrama profession. The notable areas of reported change included client issues, client populations served, approaches used in therapy, and training in psychodrama. Several potentially useful narrative comments were also offered about areas of additional professional training, types of client problems being encountered, and need for greater professional networking.

Table of survey results

“I feel 9/11 changed the psychodramatist’s profesion”:

None Some Extensively Blank

26 34 11 7

“As a result of 9/11, I sense the profession has changed as indicated:”

None Some Extensively No response

Training 42 28 3 5

Certification 63 8 0 7

Population Served 28 35 9 6

Ethical Issues 53 15 4 6

Org. Membership 52 17 3 6

Use of Technology 53 14 4 7

Client Issues 19 40 13 6

Approaches to

Therapy 29 32 10 7

Characteristics of

Psychodramatists 48 19 4 7

Peter L. Kranz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas Pan American. Nick L. Lund, Ph.D., Executive Director, Northern Arizona University in Yuma. Richard A. Steele, ABD, Department of Educational Leadership, University of Texas Pan American,

Correspondence about this article may be addressed to: Dr. Peter L. Kranz, Assistant Professor Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas Pam American 1201 W. University Drive, Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

COPYRIGHT 2003 George Uhlig Publisher

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