I suggested this location after attending a psychodrama workshop outside of Rapid City in the early Spring. It was close to Harney Peak, the place where Black Elk had his vision, at the age of nine, that was described to John Neihardt in Black Elk Speaks. Charlie Abourezk, the lawyer and documentary filmmaker, located the site which is close to his home in Rapid City and located on what still appears as sacred ground. Psychodrama is about exploring "innerspace" and is difficult to describe but amazing to experience.
I've found one of the best explanations of the magic of psychodrama comes from Joseph Campbell who wrote described the following "pedagogical stunt:" (Diagram here)
Plato has said somewhere that the soul is a circle. I took this idea to suggest on the blackboard the whole sphere of the psyche. Then I drew a horizontal line across the circle to represent the line of separation of the conscious and the unconscious. The dot in the center of the circle, below the horizontal line, represents the center from which all our energy comes… Above the horizontal line is the ego, which I represented as a square: that aspect of our consciousness that we identify as our center. But, you see, it’s very much off center. We think that this is what’s running the show, but it isn’t”
Psychodrama teaches us that what's below the line is running the show, although we rarely see this. It's been described as "cleaning out our psychic closets," which is another way of saying that it reveals to us the fact that what's below the line between conscious and unconscious is often driving us, even when we deny it's effect.
But every time I try to describe psychodrama, I end up getting strange looks. When I described this at the workshop, John Nolte, who sees more than anyone I've met, described writing or talking about psychodrama to describing what an apple tastes like. In other words, words won't do the experience justice. A thousand words couldn't describe what it's like to experience the "live event."
Gerry Spence devotes a chapter to his book "Win Your Case" to psychodrama, and discusses how the courtroom can be like a psychodrama on his new blog, but I still think there's no substitute for biting into that apple yourself rather than reading about it.
It's great to see Mr. Spence writing a blog and I hope he keeps it up better than I have these last few months. I remember picking up an audiobook at the library called "How to Argue and Win Everytime" and listening to it while I jogged in the country shortly after my now 14 year old daughter was born.
I'd picked up several audiobooks in the past but this was the first one in which the author read his own book. (Eckhart Tolle and Daniel Gilbert later read their own) Hearing the author not only read his own material but sound like he believed in it strongly made the material all the more persuasive.
I later bought the hardcover and, after a few reads, finally decided that law school, and representing real people, was a new goal and a distant dream, at least at that time. I especially love the chapter on "Arguing in the Love Relationship" and have thought of it often as I deal with my own family.
Check out his blog. I've been moved and influenced greatly by his books, his trial lawyer's college, and his belief in the power of psychodrama. I love the way he's thinks not only of locks, but of keys, of not only events but of thinking of these events as "gifts," a subtle shift that changes the mindset and becomes, to paraphrase Twain, like the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.