The easiest way to answer this question is to say that sociodrama addresses a group issue rather than a personal issue (as with psychodrama). Again, looking at the words themselves, socio means “of or relating to society.” For example; sociology, socioeconomic, etc., and drama means to act out, so a sociodrama is literally an acting out of a group or societal issue.
The idea of a sociodrama then is to address or explore issues or conflicts that arise out of social roles. In a sociodrama, a group will explore various social roles and how they are impacted by a specific social situation or issue. Like psychodrama, this exploration is “in action,” and the purpose is to reveal a deeper understanding of an individual’s thoughts and feelings and the thoughts and feelings of those who may be in different roles.
In psychodrama, the person whose story is being acted out is the “protagonist” and the other roles are played by “auxiliary egos.” In sociodrama, there is no protagonist, and the various roles are played by “enactors.”
In sociodrama, the group usually is involved in a less formal but still important “warm up” and then the group moves into action. The various tools and methods of psychodrama are utilized, including for example, role-reversal and soliloquy.
During the warm up the group members discuss topics of personal and social relevance or importance. Examples might be assisted suicide, gun control or police abuse of power. In the business place, the group may address more specific issues, such as how to deal with underperformance of team members, assimilation of a new employee, dealing with the “problem customer,” and so forth. Eventually, with assistance from the director, the group decides on the social issue or group issue that will be addressed.
The emotions that are experienced by the enactors during a sociodrama can be quite intense, and so, as with psychodrama, the exercise ends with sharing. This is an opportunity for group members to share how the drama impacted them, and what they learned about themselves or others in the drama.
Also like psychodrama, sociodrama can’t be explained in short few paragraphs. The best way to learn about sociodrama is to experience it personally.
Sociodrama is an excellent modality for use in professional training, such as for training business men and woman in the workplace as well as professional training such as with police officers and doctors.