Symbolic is an effective method of psychotherapy, based on the analysis of images, the work of the imagination, including art therapy elements. Symbolic is a projective method and addresses the subconscious directly. At the session, the client relaxes, represents a certain image, which processes it with a psychologist, which allows you to work through childhood traumas and deep contradictions in a soft and non-traumatic way. This method allows you to work out injuries without putting them on awareness, without revealing painful experiences. As a result, a person gets a more stable positive self-esteem, which gives him a chance to move more successfully in life. The symbol drama is compared to psychoanalysis, but its distinctive advantage is the absence of the need to work with a psychologist for years.

Symboldrama in psychology

Freud talked about his dream so that psychoanalysis was used in practice everywhere. During his lifetime, this proved impossible; psychoanalysis remained a closed method of therapy. After that, many areas appeared that use the principles of psychoanalysis to provide broad assistance to the population. One of these areas is the symbolic drama, which today is widespread throughout the post-Soviet space.

Another name for the symbolic drama is catatymic-imaginative psychotherapy, meaning emotional-conditioned living of images coming from the soul. The goal of the psychotherapist in this method is to help the client, who has applied for guidance, to gain integrity, to integrate the various individual ambivalent parts of the client's personality through his knowledge of himself.

The symbolic drama was developed in the post-war years by the German psychotherapist Leiner, the first publication on the symbolic drama dates back to 1954. Prior to Leiner, the French psychotherapist Desolier was conducting research in the direction of fantasy.

The symbol-drama is a method of psychotherapy, which is focused on modern psychoanalysis, the development of Freud's ideas in the work of psychoanalysts today, as well as on Jung's analytical psychology. In essence, the symbol-drama method is psychotherapy through images. The image that a person represents diagnoses many of his characteristics, emotional problems, relationship difficulties.

The universal language of interpretation of symbols does not exist, each person understands his symbols in his own way, therefore the therapist must choose a language for a particular person, which is exactly what it means for him. The psychotherapist can only make a hypothesis, and in many ways this hypothesis reflects, above all, the therapist's psychopathology. Only the person himself can fully understand his image, and the psychotherapist should guide him in this with the help of guiding questions.

However, there are general tendencies, such as, for example, the mountain with the peak acutely symbolizes the father and the male world, with the flat - the mother, the female world. Moreover, this is fundamentally ambiguous. Suppose if a turtle dreamed, then for one it symbolizes sluggishness, in China, for example, longevity, and for another it may even be a symbol of aggression if a turtle lived in an aquarium that ate all the fish.

A wealth of experience has been gained in understanding the meanings of symbols and using images to help people. Technique Leiner allows you to use the work with images in medicine, pedagogy, family counseling, business, coaching.

Symboldrama is applicable in the most difficult cases of psychosomatic disorders, with people suffering from depression, phobias, post-traumatic disorders, who are in crisis due to severe loss, divorce, death of a loved one, and survivors of psychological trauma.

One of the key areas of symbolbrake is work with physical pain, psychosomatic diseases. Exit through imagination to unconscious processes allows you to mobilize human resources in order to cope with the disease. The rapid effect occurs almost immediately, however, so that it is fixed, it can be spent about 2 years. Moreover, when a client sees that working with a psychotherapist helps him, he is motivated for a long work.

The symbol drama also allows you to improve the general condition of the body, add strength, raise the overall tone. A number of studies show that our immunity depends on optimism; a person falls ill when he loses faith in the future. This will help resource images, archaic motifs that will help feed the archaic energy.

The symbol-drama is a method of psychotherapy, often using landscape images, among them meadow, stream, flowers, mountain. All this feeds at the level of the deep foundations of the unconscious. Representation of images is the way by which we can quickly get to the natural resources of energy in us.

Symbolic session usually includes 4 stages. First, a preliminary conversation is held, the client tells how he feels about the events in his life lately, tells about his problems, the biography of a person is surely discussed, dreams, intimate moments, requests to psychotherapy are pronounced. Next is the relaxation exercise, then the image presentation and discussion.

Can you interpret the characters yourself? Symbolic works with night dreams and so-called waking dreams. It is fundamentally important that the dialogue is used in the symboldram, through which the consciousness is fully revealed. The psyche is dialogical, and in psychotherapeutic work, the control functions and the interrogative function are partially delegated to the psychotherapist. The client has the opportunity to surrender to the process, the psychotherapist accompanies, directs, reflects him. The symbol-drama method is applicable from early to very late age.

Psychotherapy sessions using the symbol drama method

The symbol drama is usually held in three forms. This is an individual psychotherapy, which is conducted in separate sessions of 50 minutes, as is the standard psychoanalytic session. An obligatory part in the symbol is the work with the diary and drawings of the client. Couples therapy is also used, with two people imagining the image at the same time. Even in one session, you can reduce the tension in a couple of spouses or, for example, between a teenager and a parent. Thanks to the image, it is even possible to understand whether the partnership will be successful, whether the communication in it will be productive. Group therapy also works with an amount of usually from 4 to 12 people who jointly imagine sitting or even lying in a circle with their heads towards the center.

Leiner offers special exercises. The client is located on a couch or in a chair, a relaxation exercise is carried out with him, then the psychotherapist invites him to present an image on a given topic. The client tells the psychotherapist exactly what he represents, it takes about 20 minutes.

The liner divided the symbolram into the main one, then the middle one and after it the highest steps. The motives for the presentation of images on the main stage. These techniques are very simple, but they have proven effective for curing a wide variety of disorders. This includes neurotic depression, phobias, fears, even panic attacks, psychosomatic diseases. The range of application of these techniques is wide, up to accompanying psychotherapy of seriously ill patients with cancer.

At the middle level, which includes working with individual areas of life, Leiner offers to imagine a significant person, if it is a mother, then in the form of a cow, if the father is an elephant. A number of studies were conducted that proved the correlation between the image of a significant person and real relationships with him. When working with intimate problems are offered, for example, images of hitchhiking, rose bush, fruit tree. It is noticed that if a person has intimate difficulties, then in the image a person does not smell. There is a blocking of smells that have weight in sex life, choosing a partner. When dealing with aggression, an image of a wild cat is proposed, and with identity, the ideal of oneself. At the highest step, the motifs of a cave, a volcano, and holes in a swamp are offered.

Symbolism techniques

The client is invited to relax on the couch, feel a foothold over himself, close his eyes, remove the accumulated tension as if he would like to take a nap. Next, the psychotherapist asks to present, for example, a rose bush, to try to touch its leaves, stalks. He asks how open the buds are, asks to choose one flower you like and pick it.

The client reports that he has a bush in a large flowerpot, the flowers on it are traditional, pink and red, and he notices that the plant has dried up and needs watering. The buds are opened, while the longer the client presents the image, the more the rose comes to life, and white flowers appear. However, the request to disrupt his apparent reluctance arises, reports that I want to touch, smell, but not tear from the stem. The client talks for 15–20 minutes, the therapist, if necessary, asks leading questions and then interprets what he heard.

This image reflects the client’s relationship with the opposite sex and the scenario of his sexual behavior. In our culture, roses symbolize love, its various manifestations. It is important here what color the roses are, whether there are buds or all the flowers have opened, whether there are thorns and leaves. White roses - a symbol of purity, platonic relations, harmony. Red roses - a symbol of chastity. The therapist draws the attention of the client that he chose a white rose, which appeared last among the red and pink, although it was not visible from the beginning. The degree of disclosure of flowers reflects how much a person is ready for intimate relationships. People notorious or with no experience in the intima represent flowers in buds. If the flower has already opened, then we can say that the person is already ripe for sexual relations. It is important whether spikes are on the stems - they reflect the dangers that a person expects from intimate relationships. If there are a lot of thorns - this is a large number of fears, possible prejudices. The complete absence of thorns also means ignoring the dangers of sex life. Considering different stages in interaction with a flower, we can see a scenario of a man’s sexual behavior, whether he can pick flowers or not. To break a flower actually means sexual intercourse.

When a person works with images, deep unconscious processes are involved, allowing you to go directly to the cause of pain. A person who used different methods to stop the pain, and unsuccessfully, for 15-20 minutes represents the image and at this moment the pain passes, leading to the realization of its psychological nature. This motivates a person to further psychotherapy. The images, moreover, are quite simple - the client is invited to submit the place where he is well, the source of strength, the resource. For some, this is a picture of nature, for another, for example, an ordinary apartment. Also, as practice shows, a person needs contrasts - he can imagine first a geyser, and then calm water. Or imagine a meadow, mentally lie on it, and then feel the desire to jump on it.

An important element here is following the therapist for half a step after the client. He should not lead the client, ahead of his images, but only accompany him, to give the fullest opportunity to reveal himself in the presentation of images. You should be extremely careful not to impose your images on the client. Any question should be open, not contain an element of the answer. For example, you can’t ask if it’s a big tree, it’s right to ask how big it is.