For your Psychodramatic Toolbox:

The Compass of Change

By Cathy Nugent

Cathy will demonstrate this action structure at the 2024 LPTI Intensive. Following the demonstration, participants will be able to practice directing The Compass of Change with coaching. Applications to both one-to-one and group settings will be explored.

The Compass of Change action structure is based on work of Chesner (2019) in one of the chapters she wrote in the volume she edited on facilitating psychodrama in one-to-one settings. (See reference below.)

Although originally conceived as a technique for working with addictions (The Addiction Compass), the Compass of Change can be applied to other issues. It is helpful in any situation where someone could benefit from perspective, motivation, and encouragement, such as lifestyle changes, entrenched beliefs/narratives, times when someone feels “stuck,” and other concerns where change would help someone progress in the direction of their values and aspirations.

The “Compass” is created by establishing four points around the self/protagonist. Each point holds a specific role or part. At each point, there is a message for the protagonist. Props such as scarves and found objects can be used to hold the different roles/points of the Compass. In a group setting, participants can take the roles represented by the four points of the Compass.

This action structure provides a powerful way to view a situation from a variety of different perspectives—both figuratively and literally, as the protagonist moves around to the different points on the Compass.

Reference: Chesner, A. (2019). Working with addictions. In Chesner, A. (Ed.), One-to-one psychodrama psychotherapy: Applications and technique. London and New York: Routledge.

This post is an excerpt from BTS-LPTI Winter 2023. Read more and subscribe to follow further LPTI updates.