How Lawyers Use Psychodrama in the Courtroom

Many people who come to learn of psychodrama in the medical or therapeutic settings are often surprised to learn that psychodrama is widely utilized by lawyers. For example, in addition to be a founding member of the Michigan Psychodrama Center, Patrick Barone also maintains a full-time law practice. His use of psychodrama in his law practice continues to evolve.

Case in point, Barone was recently handling a complex federal matter where the client he represented faced possible life in prison. As part of his advocacy for this individual, Barone reached out to Federal Sentencing Mitigation expert Doug Passon.

Like Barone, Doug is a criminal defense lawyer, but his first passion was film making, and this passion never left him, even while he worked in the Federal Defenders office for several years. This film making /story telling passion followed him even when he left the defender’s office to begin working in a prestigious private law firm where he continued representing clients all their high-profile client’s federal criminal cases. After a bit of cajoling, the firm partners agreed to send Doug to film school. Thereafter, Doug became an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Currently Doug and he uses his combined talents to produce sentence mitigation videos.

While working together with Doug it quickly became evident to them both that they had a lot in common, most notably their love of storytelling. Doug was intrigued by Barone’s use of psychodrama, and the two of them experimented with using psychodrama with their common client, and this experience intrigued Doug. This intrigue lead to Doug inviting Barone to his outstanding Podcast Set for Sentencing.

Episode 8 was released July 18, 2022 and is entitled “Sentencing Psychodrama.” In this episode Passon and Barone explore all the many ways psychodrama can be effectively utilized by criminal defense attorneys. Barone also offers his own definition of psychodrama, and explains the various methods and techniques, often called interventions, that are a part of this primarily therapeutic tool.

The use of psychodrama by lawyers has been previously explored in prior articles posted on this website and has been the topic of many scholarly articles, many of which are available for free on the internet. Those wishing to learn more are advised to consider seeking out these various materials or signing up for one of the workshops offered by the Michigan Psychodrama Center. The only way to truly understand psychodrama, and fully realize its potential in the courtroom, is to experience psychodrama firsthand.

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Patrick T. Barone is a Michigan criminal defense trial lawyer and co-founder of the Michigan Psychodrama Center. He is a Board Certified Trainer, Educator and Practitioner of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy. He is also a Board Certified Psychodrama Trainer. Patrick has applied his psychodrama training in his criminal law practice and when teaching law and trial skills. He also has used sociodrama, an adjunct form of psychodrama in the business environment and Bibliodrama in the faith setting. He is the author of a chapter entitled Bringing Scripture to Life with Bibliodrama for Adam Blatner’s book entitled Action Explorations: Using Psychodramatic Methods in Non-Therapeutic Settings , (Paralax Productions, February 23, 2019). In his capacity as a business consultant, Mr. Barone has worked with business owners and executives in businesses of all sizes throughout Michigan. Additionally, Mr. Barone continues to practice law and is the founding partner and CEO at the Barone Defense Firm.