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Auxiliary Ego Functions:

Outline, Guidelines and Experiential Exercises


Copyright 1989, 2005 Rob Pramann, Ph.D., TEP
Shepherd! Sta"" Training in P!y#hodrama

Thi! paper i! de!igned to train per!on! a! a$%i&iary ego! "or 'ario$! (ind! o" p!y#hodramati#
ena#tment!. )t *i&& o$t&ine the "$n#tion! o" the a$%i&iary ego in genera& and tho!e o" the
do$b&e in parti#$&ar. )t then *i&& !$gge!t g$ide&ine! "or !er'ing in ea#h o" the!e ro&e!,
de!#ribe 'ario$! (ind! o" do$b&ing, and pro'ide e%er#i!e! a&&o*ing the parti#ipant! to
pra#ti#e the ro&e! o" the a$%i&iary ego, the do$b&e, and the dire#tor. Tho$gh there are
#ertain&y time! *hen it i! 'a&$ab&e to &et gro$p member! !er'e in a$%i&iary ro&e! a trained
a$%i&iary o""er! a n$mber o" ad'antage!. The trained a$%i&iary i! ab&e to *arm $p +$i#(&y to
ro&e!, p&ay a 'ariety o" ro&e!, ea!i&y e%pre!! "ee&ing!, !pontaneo$!&y p&ay ro&e! re+$iring
#hi&di!h, ,bit#hy,- #r$e&, !ed$#ti'e, h$mi&iating, or arrogant beha'ior, and a!!i!t a gro$p
a$%i&iary in *arming $p to a ro&e by do$b&ing "or him.her.

The a$%i&iary ego i! /oreno0! term $!ed to identi"y any per!on in a p!y#hodramati#
ena#tment o$t!ide o" the dire#tor *ho a!!i!t! the protagoni!t in e%p&oring hi!.her prob&em.
The 1$%i&iary may repre!ent "ig$re! o" many di""erent type!. They may repre!ent the ro&e o"
!omeone in the protagoni!t0! !o#ia& atom 2h$!band, "riend, emp&oyer, or et#.3. They may
p&ay the ro&e o" the do$b&e 2the protagoni!t0! !e&" or a!pe#t o" the protagoni!t0! !e&"3. They
#o$&d portray a more di!tant genera& ro&e 2a po&i#e o""i#er, a member o" the #&ergy, a !tore
#&er(3, a "anta!i4ed "ig$re 25od, a 6$dge, the idea&i4ed mother3, an inanimate ob6e#t 2a&#oho&
bott&e, #ar, door*ay3, or ab!tra#t #on#ept or #o&&e#ti'e !tereotype 2,!o#iety,- ,the #h$r#h,-
,6$!ti#e-3. The do$b&e i! gi'en !pe#ia& attention here d$e to the po*er o" thi! te#hni+$e to
ma(e #&ear the nat$re o" the protagoni!t0! di&emma and bring o$t the &atent emotion.



Functions of the Auxiliary Ego
The a$%i&iary ego !er'e! a n$mber o" "$n#tion! in#&$ding7
1. To he&p the protagoni!t to e%p&ore hi! !it$ation by p&aying the oppo!ite ro&e 2the
!ed$#ing dr$g, the in"anti&i4ing mother, the demanding 6ob3.
2. To e'o(e in the protagoni!t a !imi&ar 2!ymmetri#3 re!pon!e 2imp&ying !omething i! a
!e#ret or embarra!!ing by *hi!pering abo$t it, !tirring $p anger by in#rea!ing the
'o&$me and pa#e o" !pee#h3.
8. To !tim$&ate the protagoni!t to ma(e a #omp&ementary re!pon!e or to ta(e a
#omp&ementary ro&e 2p&aying the #riti#a& parent to prod$#e the he&p&e!! #hi&d or the mi&(
9toa!t h$!band3.
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
1n ear&ier 'er!ion o" thi! pre!entation *a! made at the Re!identia& P!y#hodrama
Training Seminar at ;ranham9Donner Ran#h San Cri!toba&, <e* /e%i#o, 1$g$!t = 9
10, 1989. The a$thor may be #onta#ted at Shepherd0! Sta"" Chri!tian Co$n!e&ing Center,
>81 Ea!t 8?00 So$th, Sandy, @T 8=09=, phone 28013 5?19998> or ***.!!###.#om.
=. To in'o&'e the protagoni!t more deep&y in the p!y#hodramati# ena#tment 2the
per#eption that it i! happening again no*3.
5. To bring o$t ba!i# #on"&i#t! and !$ppre!!ed "ee&ing! rapid&y and "$&&y 2that !en!e o" here
) go againA3.
Guidelines for Trained Auxiliary Egos

1. 5et proper&y *armed $p be"ore the p!y#hodramati# !e!!ion.
a3 )mmediate&y be"ore the !e!!ion be a*are o"
Bo$r o*n #$rrent per!ona& i!!$e! that #o$&d intr$de,
Bo$r e%pe#tation! o" the p!y#hodramati# !e!!ion and *hat i! rea&i!ti#,
The ro&e! yo$ may be e%pe#ted to p&ay,
Bo$r *i&&ingne!! to !tand ba#( and to ob!er'e or to p&ay, and
Bo$r openne!! to be and &earn "or yo$r !e&".

b3 1#ti'e&y parti#ipate in the gro$p *arm $p "or yo$r o*n !a(e and a! a mode& "or
the gro$p.

2. /o'e rapid&y into any a$%i&iary ro&e ma(ing it here no*. 1ddre!! the protagoni!t in ro&e
a! yo$ !tep on to the !tage. )" the protagoni!t #ontin$e! ta&(ing abo$t yo$r a$%i&iary ro&e
re!pond *ithin the ro&e ,Chy are yo$ ta&(ing &i(e ) am not hereD-
8. Portray the other per!on0! mood, po!t$re, tone o" 'oi#e, and other non'erba& beha'ior.
The!e are o"ten more important than the *ord!. E"ten time! it i! he&p"$& to e%aggerate
the!e.
=. P&ay yo$r h$n#he! and ta(e ri!(!.
5. )" yo$ are #orre#ted or re#ei'e a !$gge!tion "rom the dire#tor or protagoni!t ma(e a
rapid modi"i#ation.
?. 1&&o* that !ome ro&e! may be di""i#$&t or inappropriate "or yo$ to p&ay !o that yo$ *o$&d
need to t$rn them do*n 2"or e%amp&e, a medi#ation n$r!e p&aying the ro&e o" a !ed$#ing
dr$g or dr$g p$!her on a #hemi#a& dependen#y $nit3.

Auxiliary Ego / Role Reversal Exercise
1. Form !ma&& gro$p! o" "i'e ma%im$m #ompo!ed o" per!on! *ith 'arying &e'e&! o"
"ami&iarity.e%perien#e *ith p!y#hodrama.
2. Ea#h indi'id$a& i! to identi"y !omeone to *hom they *o$&d &i(e to ta&(.
8. )denti"y the per!on *ho *i&& !er'e a! the "ir!t protagoni!t, ha'e them #hoo!e *ho *i&&
p&ay the ro&e o" the a$%i&iary ego 2the one to *hom the protagoni!t *o$&d &i(e to ta&(3,
and identi"y !omeone to !er'e in the ro&e o" dire#tor.
=. The protagoni!t *i&& begin by ta&(ing brie"&y abo$t the other per!on to be p&ayed by the
a$%i&iary and then begin by the protagoni!t ta&(ing to the other per!on 2the a$%i&iary
ego3. Chen the prob&em ha! been brie"&y !tated or the a$%i&iary i! a!(ed a +$e!tion they
#an not an!*er the dire#tor !ho$&d a!( the t*o to #hange ro&e! *ith the a$%i&iary
repeating the &a!t #o$p&e o" !tatement! or the e!!en#e o" *hat the protagoni!t !aid.
5. Chen the protagoni!t ha! re!ponded a! the other per!on the a$%i&iary, at the dire#tion
o" the dire#tor, *i&& re!$me the ro&e o" the other per!on and repeat the e!!en#e or &a!t
"e* *ord! that *ere 6$!t portrayed to *hi#h the protagoni!t *i&& be a&&o*ed to re!pond.
?. )n thi! "a!hion the ro&e *i&& be #hanged t*i#e more ending *ith the protagoni!t !aying
their &a!t and #&o!ing *ord! to the per!on p&ayed by the a$%i&iary.
>. End thi! e%er#i!e by dero&ing the a$%i&iary, !haring 2no +$e!tion!, ana&y!i! or ad'i#e, b$t
6$!t *hat the ob!er'er! &earned "rom the drama "or them!e&'e!3, and pro#e!!ing 2ta&(ing
abo$t the te#hni+$e, ho* it *a! he&p"$& or not, et#3.
Doule Functions

Do$b&ing ha! been identi"ied a! ,the heart o" p!y#hodrama- 2;&atner, 199?3 be#a$!e it
!er'e! to bring o$t the protagoni!t0! deepe!t emotion!, one o" the ma6or p$rpo!e! o"
p!y#hodrama. Th$! the do$b&e !er'e! additiona& and $ni+$e "$n#tion!7


1. To !tim$&ate intera#tion by portraying the protagoni!t0! e%perien#e to it! "$&&e!t degree.
2. To pro'ide !$pport "or the protagoni!t to enab&e him to ri!( and intera#t more
#omp&ete&y 2,Do$b&ing be"ore Ro&e Re'er!a&- i! a r$&e o" th$mb indi#ating that
de'e&opmenta&&y a protagoni!t *i&& be he&ped by do$b&ing be"ore they are ready to ro&e
re'er!e3.
8. To e""e#ti'e&y gi'e !$gge!tion! and interpretation! to the protagoni!t.


Guidelines for Trained Doules
Empathi4ing *ith 100G a##$ra#y or per"e#t&y p&aying a do$b&e0! ro&e i! not po!!ib&e 2nor i! it
ne#e!!ari&y de!irab&e3. Ho*e'er being ab&e to #&o!e&y appro%imate the do$b&e i! important
and !e'era& ob'io$! #$e! de!er'e #&o!e attention and !er'e a! 6$mping o"" point! "or
dra*ing in"eren#e!.

1. The protagoni!t0! non'erba& #omm$ni#ation7 po!t$re, e%pre!!ion, ge!t$re!, and tone o"
'oi#e. 1! one imitate! the!e #hara#teri!ti#! o" the do$b&e one *i&& &i(e&y "ee& bodi&y
!en!ation! !imi&ar to tho!e o" the protagoni!t. Po!itioning one0! !e&" !&ight&y to the !ide o"
the protagoni!t at a 80 degree ang&e pro'ide! a good 'antage point "or ob!er'ation and
"a#i&itate! identi"i#ation.
2. The protagoni!t0! $!e o" *ord!. The (ind! o" *ord!, #onnotation!, and ab!tra#tion! are
'ehi#&e! "or $nder!tanding the protagoni!t0! !e&" !y!tem. Paraphra!ing *hat the
protagoni!t i! mo!t #on!#io$!&y !aying at the beginning pro'ide! the ba!i! "or
$nder!tanding and !en!e o" re&ation!hip. Iater, amp&i"ying, e%pre!!ing, and dramati4ing
may be $ti&i4ed "or the other do$b&ing "$n#tion!.
8. The Protagoni!t0! $!e o" *ord! that are di!#repant *ith hi!. her 'o#a& tone.
=. The protagoni!t0! ro&e! and ob'io$! #hara#teri!ti#!7
a3 Phy!i#a& "eat$re!,
b3 Stage in &i"e,
#3 The #ha&&enge!, ad'antage!, and di!ad'antage! o" pre!ent or eminent &i"e ro&e!.


Douling Exercise

1. Form gro$p! o" t*o!.
2. )denti"y *ho *i&& go "ir!t.
8. The do$b&e *i&& !it !&ight&y behind and at a 80 degree ang&e to the protagoni!t #are"$&&y
ob!er'ing and imitating the body &ang$age, tone o" 'oi#e, and the #on#i!e e!!en#e o"
*hat the protagoni!t !ay! ta(ing it a &itt&e deeper a! the e%er#i!e goe! on.
=. )" the do$b&e mi!#on!tr$e! !omething the do$b&e !ho$&d ta(e it !tride and #ome ba#(
a&ong the &ine! the protagoni!t ha! indi#ated.
5. Chen the protagoni!t arri'e! at a nat$ra& !topping point, the do$b&e !ho$&d be dero&ed,
and the t*o !ho$&d !hare and pro#e!! 2di!#$!!3 thi! e%perien#e.


!inds of Douling

The do$b&e #an he&p the protagoni!t e%pre!! hi!.her emotion! by empha!i4ing or amp&i"ying
'erba& and non'erba& !tatement! made or imp&ied by the protagoni!t. The "o&&o*ing are
*ay! thi! may ta(e p&a#e.

1. Dramati4ing the "ee&ing!, "or e%amp&e, the protagoni!t0! ,) &o'e yo$- i! do$b&ed a! ,)
need yo$- or ,) am irritated *ith yo$- be#ome! ,) am "$rio$! *ith yo$.-
2. Jerba&i4ing the non'erba& #omm$ni#ation, "or e%amp&e, tightne!! in the throat #o$&d be
'erba&i4ed a! ,yo$ are #ho(ing me.-
8. Phy!i#a&i4ing *ord! and ge!t$re!, "or e%amp&e, !itting or (nee&ing on the "&oor be"ore
another a$%i&iary.
=. S$pport, 'erba&, "or e%amp&e, ,) don0t need to gi'e yo$ an an!*er- or non'erba&&y, "or
e%amp&e, e%tending one0! hand and app&ying &ight pre!!$re to the ba#( o" the
protagoni!t, or *a&(ing arm in arm *ith him.her.
5. K$e!tioning the !e&", "or e%amp&e, ,)! thi! *hat ) rea&&y "ee&D-
?. Contradi#ting the "ee&ing! 2"or the p$rpo!e o" gaining a !tronger a""irmation o" the
protagoni!t0! "ee&ing or i" oppo!ite or #on#$rrent #ontradi#tory "ee&ing! are !$!pe#ted3.
For e%amp&e, ,) don0t *ant anything to do *ith yo$ b$t yo$r appro'a& i! important.-
>. De"ending again!t the "ee&ing! 2the do$b&e 'erba&i4e! the protagoni!t0! de"en!e3, "or
e%amp&e, ,) *o$&d ne'er be angry *ith yo$ &i(e yo$ are *ith me- or ,)" ) *a! not
depre!!ed ) *o$&d probab&y be angry *ith yo$.-
8. Se&" ob!er'ation, "or e%amp&e, ,There ) go inte&&e#t$a&i4ing *hen the emotion! be#ome
inten!e- or ,)0m a#ting a! i" he *a! o$t to h$rt me.-
9. )nterpretation 2#are m$!t be e%er#i!ed to not introd$#e !omething o$t!ide o" the
protagoni!t0! a*arene!!3. ,) *i&& not re!pond to hi! #riti#i!m be#a$!e he i! a&*ay!
right.- ,Thi! i! 6$!t the *ay my "ather treated me.-
10. )nterpretation o" #arryLo'er to other re&ation!hip! 2a !ort o" re'er!e tran!"eren#e in
*hi#h the protagoni!t i! not on&y re!ponding to an a$%i&iary in ro&e b$t in term! o" !ome
other a!pe#t o" the per!on0! rea& identity3. ,<ot on&y am ) a"raid o" yo$ a! my "ather,
)0m a"raid o" mo!t a$thority "ig$re!.-
11. Satire, "or e%amp&e, ,)t h$rt! !o *e&&.- 2To be $!ed *ith !en!iti'ity and #a$tion.3
12. Di'ided do$b&e 2$!$a&&y the dire#tor a!!ign! the do$b&e to p&ay an e%p&i#it part. Thi!
he&p! the protagoni!t to #&ari"y the #omp&imentary part3 ,) #o$&d ne'er do that, ) "ee& !o
he&p&e!!.- ,)t #o$&dn0t e'er be my "a$&t.-
18. /$&tip&e do$b&e! 2m$&tip&e per!on! p&ay the ro&e o" the do$b&e to he&p #&ari"y the
protagoni!t0! "ee&ing!3.
1=. The gro$p or #o&&e#ti'e do$b&e 2!imi&ar to the abo'e b$t the a$dien#e i! a&&o*ed to !tate
their do$b&ing !tatement! "rom the "&oor3.
15. The a$%i&iary0! do$b&e 2do$b&ing "or !omeone other than the protagoni!t. <ote7 !ome
#erti"ied pra#titioner! be&ie'e that on&y the protagoni!t !ho$&d ha'e a do$b&e3.
1?. So&i&o+$y 2the protagoni!t #an ha'e a do$b&e e'en tho$gh there i! no 'erba&
intera#tion3, "or e%amp&e, the do$b&e #an !er'e a! the !e&" to *hom the protagoni!t
ta&(! in a !o&i&o+$y.
1>. Do$b&ing "or the a$dien#e 2to gi'e e%pre!!ion to the a$dien#e0! "ee&ing! to*ard the
drama or any o" the parti#ipant! in#&$ding the dire#tor3, "or e%amp&e, ,thi! i! boring-
*hen the drama i! &agging d$e to e%#e!!i'e inte&&e#t$a&i4ation.
18. Do$b&ing in the *armL$p 2do$b&ing "or a potentia& protagoni!t to mo'e him to*ard
a#tion on !tage3, "or e%amp&e, ,) rea&&y *anted to do a drama b$t ) "ee& a!hamed, no
one *o$&d *ant to !pend time on me.-


Reference

;&atner, 1. 2199?3. Acting in: Practical applications of psychodramatic methods, 3rd Ed. <e*
Bor(7 Springer.

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