News Posts

Powerful .... Who? .... Me?

posted Apr 22, 2018, 9:36 PM by Jenny Postlethwaite   [ updated Apr 22, 2018, 9:42 PM ]

An enthusiastic group of 16 participants "powered up" at our April professional/personal development workshop "Powerful...Who?....Me", led by Katherine Howard. 

The workshop invitation set the scene for us as power being what enables us to do things. Power is relational - Barstow says: “PERSONAL power is the generative capacity to use our gifts and make real our intentions. Although power itself is value neutral, we do many things with it that make its’ use positive or negative. We can also use or misuse power towards ourselves………….”

 There was much thoughtful investigation into the nature of personal power for each of us. Two powerful enactments followed from our investigation and sharing of personal perspectives.

A great day was had and our thanks go to Katherine for her powerful leadership. :-) 

AGM Moments

posted Jul 22, 2017, 6:21 PM by Jenny Postlethwaite   [ updated Jul 22, 2017, 7:13 PM ]

An enthused group of 12 members gathered for the regional 2016/2017 AGM on a crisp and clear winter's day this weekend (22/7). 

Through her President's Report, Lynley highlighted the health of our region, revisiting our myriad activities throughout the year and appreciating the efforts of the regional committee. The Treasurer's report from Jenny P confirmed that we are in good shape financially.

A key task at the AGM is the annual election of office bearers and committee members. 2 of the existing committee members decided not to re-stand this year - Jenny Postlethwaite resigned as Treasurer and Yehoshua resigned as Secretary. 

Elections saw Lynley McNab returned as President, Lynne MacDonald elected as Secretary and Jo Dewar as Treasurer. Existing committee members Penny Beran, Willi Boetcher and Tina Roussos were re-elected and joined by new member Jenny Gilligan. Congratulations to all!!

Yehoshua and Jenny were thanked for their service to the committee and our community. And a vote of thanks was moved to Lynley for her ongoing efforts as President.

As part of the sharing of appreciation, Jenny was presented with a beautiful bowl as a thank you gift (see picture) for her 6 years of service as Treasurer and her myriad other contributions. 

A wonderful and moving ritual spontaneously unfolded as the bowl was passed from person to person, with each speaking a wish into it for Jenny. Beautiful.

Working Relationally

posted May 14, 2017, 7:55 PM by Jenny Postlethwaite   [ updated May 14, 2017, 7:56 PM ]

In May, Patricia O'Rourke visited us from Adelaide to run a workshop titled "Working Relationally". 

Looking through the lens of how babies and infants form attachment with their primary caregivers, we explored how the nature of these early relationships effect our capacity for and style of being in relationship with others. 

Patricia shared lots of insights from her experience working with children in the child protection system and the inter-generational nature of relational trauma. 

Some great relational work and social atom repair was done between group members as we explored how the effects of our default attachment styles flow through into our role systems and behaviour patters as adults.

Our group included Jen Barnett who traveled up from Canberra to be with us, and Sue Tsigaros who we welcomed back after an absence of a few years.

[Photos courtesy of Jo Dewar]


2017 Conference Reflections

posted Feb 26, 2017, 4:47 PM by Jenny Postlethwaite

An enthused and animated group gathered on Feb 26th to reflect on experiences from the 2017 AANZPA conference recently held in Auckland. About half of the group had been to the conference and half had not, so it was a great opportunity for everyone to share experiences, insights gained and special moments. 


We even produced a re-enactment of Jo receiving her accreditation and being sung to by her colleagues! It was a special experience for those that were there in Auckland and those who hadn't been there to sing to Jo at the time.

Many interesting insights emerged from our day - individual learnings, expanded awareness of our organisational and group dynamics and how rich it is to relive special moments in our lives.

The day was co-led by Jo Dewar and Jenny Postlethwaite.

Meeting the Challenge

posted Nov 27, 2016, 5:17 PM by Jenny Postlethwaite

November saw our final workshop for the year - Challenging Moments in Life and Supervision  - with guest group leader Richard Hall from Melbourne. This two-day workshop was well attended, by a mix of old hands and newcomers. Of the fifteen participants three had never experienced psychodrama before and one had only been to the Tops residential!

The first day was spent warming up to each other . Day two was a mixture psychodramas  of difficult moments in supervision and in life . We ate and cried and laughed. Since this workshop three of the group have applied to do PD training next year. Whooo hooo!

Report by Lynne MacDonald 

New Psychodrama Research

posted Nov 14, 2016, 6:29 PM by Jenny Postlethwaite   [ updated Nov 14, 2016, 6:30 PM ]

CONGRATULATIONS from all of us to our diligent research colleague Yehoshua on the completion of his thesis on the use of psychodrama in group therapy. 

Completion of the thesis means that Yehoshua will now be admitted to the degree of Master of Counselling with Honours. Sensational!

The thesis, titled The development of psychodrama enactment themes throughout the life of the group: A collective case study, will eventually be available on the AANZPA website.

In the meantime here is an abstract to whet your appetite -

In this study, an aspect of psychodrama, a little-known, action-oriented form of group psychotherapy, will be examined. Psychodrama was founded by the psychiatrist Dr Jacob Moreno in the 1920s, and was regarded as a major alternative to Freudian psychoanalysis in the United States of America during the 1930s and 1940s. Today, although practised worldwide, psychodrama has been overshadowed by less action-oriented and more talking-oriented, non-psychoanalytic psychotherapies, and therefore lacks visibility. Further, due to a lack of outcome
research published in scholarly journals, it is not being included among evidenced based psychotherapies.

Reviews of outcome studies published between 1970 and 2016 have shown that psychodrama researchers regard the single psychodrama enactment as the basic therapeutic unit, while other group psychotherapies regard the whole multi-session
group process as such. Although some psychodrama researchers acknowledge the possible influence of group process on psychodrama outcomes, none have studied this influence. The reviewers saw this as a gap in the research. They also noted that
no researcher has mentioned client psychosocial themes that arise during single enactments or during multi-session psychodrama groups.

This study examined the development of client psychosocial themes in a multisession psychodrama group, and used Young’s early maladaptive schema (EMS) framework to assess these themes. A collective case study approach was used with
both within-case and across-case data being analysed. As no other universally accepted theme theoretical framework exists, schemas—which comprise cognitive, affective and somatic elements—were used to assess psychosocial themes. Young’s
EMS framework was chosen because it offered an accepted, standardised system of naming and defining schemas, and his EMS questionnaires have been shown to be valid and reliable.

Ethics approval was obtained to video-record a multi-session psychodrama group that ran for nine three-hour sessions over three consecutive days. There were nine participants. The psychodramatist and group leader was a registered psychotherapist accredited with the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Psychodrama Association (AANZPA). The researcher was not present in the group.

The group leader, who was recruited through an email sent from the AANZPA research committee to its members, recruited participants from among his clients and psychodramatist trainees. All participants consented to being video-recorded for
research purposes. The contents of each video-recorded session were catalogued in detail. Researcher-developed schema rating sheets based on Young’s EMS were used to assess and record each client’s schemas arising in psychodrama enactments. Two
raters completed the assessment separately and achieved significant inter-rater agreement.

A qualitative descriptive approach was used to analyse the within-case and across-case data. Due to the paucity of multiple enactments for most participants, it was not possible to examine within-case schema development. However, it was possible to examine across-case data for the nine sessions as a whole.

The data was also examined as possible support for Moreno’s assertion that there is a deficit of spontaneity among people in the civilised world. He saw spontaneity as a pre-requisite to finding new solutions to old, dysfunctional, psychosocial problems and adequate solutions to new ones, in a creative way. The occurrence of the emotional inhibition schema in 92% of enactments supported his assertion.

The data was also examined to assess whether the psychodramatic techniques of doubling, mirroring and role-reversal effectively reduced emotional inhibition and increased spontaneity. Most enactments demonstrated this through a reduction of dysfunctional interpersonal behaviours and increase in new functional ones.

Transcripts of three enactments are provided to support this. This change did not occur as strongly as a result of member-to-member group interaction outside the enactments. The next most frequently occurring schemas came from the disconnection and rejection domain, which had implications for the participants’ ability to establish and maintain intimate relationships.

This study is significant for future research into the connection between the therapeutic effects of psychodrama and group process, and moves psychodrama closer to becoming accepted as evidence-based. It will also add to the knowledge and skill base of psychodrama practitioners.

A feast of "show me don't tell me"

posted Oct 3, 2016, 3:32 PM by Jenny Postlethwaite   [ updated Oct 3, 2016, 3:32 PM ]

AANZPA NSW/ACT has available for loan to members, a range of DVDs containing historic footage of J.L. Moreno conducting psychodrama sessions and Zerka T. Moreno in action, demonstrating psychodrama and discussing her life and work. 

Details of each of the DVDs are provided on the "Moreno Videos" page on this website (via the menu tab at left, or by clicking on this link). 

The DVDs can be borrowed singly or in sets. 

If you would like to take a look for yourself at this great resource, please contact 
Lynne Burchmore (phone: 0417 254 728 or email: ).

Yes, and .....

posted Aug 24, 2016, 9:35 PM by Jenny Postlethwaite   [ updated Aug 24, 2016, 9:40 PM ]

August saw an energised and enthusiastic group join the first of our 2 day workshops for 2016 - Improv and Psychodrama - for some spontaneity training through exploration and play.

Co-group-leader Peter Hall lead us through a range of Improv exercises in which we learnt about applying core principles such as saying 'yes', building on an offer 'yes, and...' and listening & responding, to create a living world in the moment. 

The exercises warmed us up to our own physical presence and ourselves in relationship with others. Our spontaneity and imagination was most certainly tested and stretched in multiple directions!

The warm ups developed through the exercises and group discussion were subsequently explored in action, through psychodramatic enactments produced by Peter's co-leader, Rollo Browne.

So there was lots of learning and insight. Yes! And ...... we laughed and laughed and laughed. Bringing our spontaneity and imagination into play produced many laugh out loud moments. 

A great time was had by all. 

Above : One car, four occupants, each holding and expressing a different emotion, whilst staying in relationship with each other.
Below : "Throwing" and "catching" sounds and actions across the room to each other 


Congratulations Jo

posted Jul 24, 2016, 7:25 PM by Jenny Postlethwaite   [ updated Jul 25, 2016, 5:06 PM ]

July 17th 2016 was a red letter day for Jo Dewar, who sat for her Practical Assessment as a Psychodramatist.

Lynne Burchmore - one of the eight people who formed the group for Jo's assessment - shares a little of her experience of the day ...... "Following the experiential session, we group members shared a light lunch while Jo went about preparing her verbal report. As the group re-convened for Jo to present, Chris Hosking noted that Jo had started the the process 4 minutes early and that this was indeed a first in her experience as examiner! It was a delight to be present and share the moment when Richard Hall announced that Jo had passed!"

Congratulations and well done Jo !!

Jo will receive her certificate at the conference in Auckland in January.  


            Reporting on the production                                           Jo with examiners Chris and Richard

Photos : Katherine Howard

2016 AGM

posted Jul 23, 2016, 9:33 PM by Jenny Postlethwaite   [ updated Jul 23, 2016, 9:37 PM ]

The NSW/ACT 2016 Annual General Meeting was held on July 23rd, at Hunters Hill Community Hall. 

Following a BBQ luncheon, President, Lynley McNab, openied the meeting and presented a sweeping report of the key events, activities and milestones of 2015/16, including -
  • Hosting of the AANZPA Annual Conference
  • Delivery of two very successful professional development days
  • 4 members - Marlene, Jenny, Gerry and Jo - achieving AANZPA accreditation as practitioners
  • Annie Fisher being made a Distinguished Member of AANZPA
  • and lots more. It was certainly a big year!!
Lynley also farewelled and thanked Helen Kearins and Desley Creedy, who have decided to step down as Committee members, for their invaluable contributions to the life of the region. 

Jenny Postlethwaite delivered the Treasurer's report, taking the somewhat unconventional approach of using a packet of chocolate mint biscuits to concretise how the funds position of the region had changed over the financial year. We had a few less biscuits in the biscuit barrel at the end of the year, due to our focus of efforts on organising the Conference and a number of new initiatives (such as complementary 1 day professional development workshops) trialed by the Committee.

Katherine Howard, acting as Returning Officer for election of the Committee for 2016/2017, did an excellent job of guiding us through the election process. Three new members joined the Committee - Yehoshua, Tina Roussos and Jo Dewar. The new Committee consists of -
  • President    Lynley   
  • Secretary    Yehoshua
  • Treasurer    Jenny    
  • Committee Members    Lynne, Penny, Tina, Jo and Willi        

    Left : Lynley, after presenting her President's report
    Above and below Right : Gathered at the meeting table
    Below Left : Katherine and newly elected Committee member, Jo

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