The use of theatrical techniques in the treatment of mentally ill people over the past twenty years, has become more and more popular. Nevertheless the use of dramatherapy to treat schizophrenia, in the measure as it is done in Cracow, where it is used for much more then mere entertainment or occupational therapy, being an effective instrument of deeper psychotherapy, is unique in world's scale. Nevertheless theatre, as the most social of the arts, is an excellent instrument of treating people, for whom the world and moving in it are extremely difficult not only during the period of illness. Therapy by theatre for some patients results surprisingly effective, helping them to reconstruct the broken tie, with the world. Dramatherapy is focused on what is healthy in the patient trying to strengthen it and to develop.
In the frame-work of our Day Treatment Centre is carried on, since 1983 a therapy based on exercises extracted from diverse methods of actors training, adapted to the needs and possibilities of patients. On the one hand; they are mainly exercises of concentration, memory, contact, expression and on the other one - movement and relaxation ones.
GRUPA TEATRALNA, which has been existing since autumn 1984, is the development and deepening of those activities. It is an outpatient dramatherapy group destined for persons having undergone a psychotic crisis, and it is one of the elements of a complex milieu treatment program carried on in Cracow.
The Group is led by a therapeutic tandem : a professional theatre director - Krzysztof Rogoż and a psychologist - Anna Bielańska, who over the past years took directly part in the group activities and currently plays a supervisory role without being always present at the group meetings. There also have always been one or two supporting therapists acting together with the patients.
The group is composed of an average of 12-15 people. Its' constitution is variable - each season a certain part of the members who have reached their therapeutic aims, leave, ceding their places to new persons.It usually coincides with the start of working on a new project, which according to its difficulty, lasts from 10 to 20 month.
The Group meets once a weak for two hours rehearsals.
The dramatic material - selected in virtue of its therapeutical value - is featured either by the complexity of the characters and conflicts (Shakespeare) or by archetypal situations (classical Greek Theatre.)
Over the past years the Group has enlarged the bounds of its activities, acting regularely before a wider audience. Public presentations, i.e. competition in an open formula, are a next step in therapy, giving to our actors the possibility of confirmation out of the present psychiatric milieu. This was only possible by achieving both a reasonable artistic quality and an indispensable coherence , in social terms, of the group .
In 1998 we started the process of transforamtion of the Group into a more permanent structure, leading to the establishment of
TEATR PSYCHE  .
The internal structure of the Group has equaly changed, being currently centred around a stable core of actors, while the number of participants in a single project has almost been tripled. Working on several projects simultaneously enable our actors to face more complex and varied tasks.
Between 1998-2001 we have created succesive versions of "Alkestis" and "Lisystrate", differing both in form and cast from the premiere ones.
Our most recent performance [September 2002] - "Tristan and Isolde",^ after J.Bédier - being the synthesis of our experiences of the preceeding years is a project that both by its span (lasting of the performance and the magnitude of the cast) as well as by the difficulty and diversity of treated therapeutic motives, considerably exceeds the frames of our previous works.
Those who are interested in a deeper analysis of the dramatherapy and in detailed descriptions
of methods of working with actors having undergone a psychotic crisis, can find them in the recently published Anna Bielańska's book :"Theatre that heals" (currently only available in Polish version)
"Teatr, który leczy"
Wydawnictwo Universytetu Jagiellońskiego
realised by GRUPA TEATRALNA"PSYCHE":
In addition to that, during Therapeutic Workshops on the countryside,
TETR PSYCHE (A.Bielańska