Using Psychodrama and Sociometry in the Courtroom

The following is an excerpt from Patrick Barone’s two-volume treatise Defending Drinking Drivers:

As it relates to jury trial, the jurors are each going through their own sociometric cycle. Much of this is discussed in detail in Carl Bettinger’s Twelve Heroes, One Voice, which uses the hero’s journey rather than the harmonic- conflictual sociometric cycle as a metaphor.

Bettinger explains that the jurors are 12 heroes who can each create justice for your client. Your goal then must be to become the guide or mentor who will explain to the jury how they can use their newly discovered power, which is the ability to acquit your client of the state’s charges, to deliver justice to your client.

Sociometry however looks at this slightly differently. A trial begins with a process of jury selec- tion, which is a process of choice. In some ways, the members of the venire who actually become jurors are sociometric stars because they are chosen over all the others to become members of the sworn jury.

Thus at the beginning of the trial the jurors begin in a very short season of spring. During this part of the However, soon after jurors are enrolled, the trial becomes more contentious, and during opening statement it quickly becomes evident that the season of spring is about to become short lived. As soon as the contestants begin offering widely differing views of what the evidence will show, the jurors begin experiencing decreasing harmony and much higher levels of conflict.

During the remainder of the trial before closing arguments, the jurors are essentially in the summer phase of the harmonic-conflictual sociometric cycle and the level of conflict continues to increase until it finally concludes with the closing arguments. Here the jurors have moved into a time where they must choose a guide, and in this instance, the choice of guide is critical. Will it be the judge, the law, the prosecutor, the defense counsel, or a member of the jury panel? The goal of course is for the jurors to turn to you and your presentation for their guidance.

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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.