Phobia & Totem

Exercise 1: Phobia Ash Walk

This is a psychodrama about phobias, one of the major psychiatric complaints.

First, the participant(s) are to take 5 to 10 minutes to explore any phobia or irrational fear they have. Then, everybody gets into pairs and one person tells the other person their phobia, whether it’s fear of spiders, closed spaces, or fear of germs. Any fear.

(Jo) One participant ash walks while another participant approaches who represents (and acts out) the ash walker’s phobia. It may be that it’s easier to act out something like an animal, but will take more creatively to act out something like open spaces or needles. This is the challenge for the perpetrating participant, to resonate with the qualia given to them.

(Ha) As the ash walker reaches the other side, the embodied phobia participant gradually intensifies the fear. Phobias are known to be overblown, so the perpetrator is to also amp up the level toward the max.

(Kyu/Kyu to New Jo) Max intensity is reached. Because of the ash walker’s continued ash walk representing resilience despite the circumstances, the perpetrator begins transforming into a pet instead of an attacker. The ash walker can now move in different directions, and the pet will now be a loyal protector, totem, and source of self-power.

Exercise 2: Fearless Mirror

The following is based off of Albert Bandura’s modelling technique from Social Learning Therapy.¹ Modelling involves a change in behavior by simply imitating. The activity calls for 4 participants.

1. 5 or 10 minutes are taken to search for a personal phobia.

2. Two participants are active (A and B) while the two others (C and D) mirror them.

3. Participant C (The Phobic) has a phobia that will be embodied by participant B (Scary Thing).

4. Participant A (The Model) has no problem with Scary Thing.

5. Pariticipant D (Scary Thing Mirror) merely mirrors Scary Thing.

(Jo) The Phobic and Scary Thing Mirror have to mirror the The Model’s interaction with Scary Thing even though The Phobic would not him/her/themselves behave in such a manner due to irrational fear.

(Ha) No worries. The focus is on copying. The Phobic only has to mirror and leave all the responsibility on The Model. The Model plays/interacts with Scary Thing for a while.

(Kyu/Kyu to New Jo) The Model and Scary Thing leave the scene. The two participants left will now shift from passive participants to active as if the training wheels have been taken off. What interaction will happen now?


¹ Bandura, Albert. (1977). Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press.