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The Drama Triangle

Humans have been telling stories for thousands of years as we try and make sense of the world around us.

We all play particular parts in these stories and in 1968 a psychologist called Dr Stephen Karpman published an article about what he called The Drama Triangle, in which he identified three specific roles that we can begin to play when experiencing relational conflict: The Victim, The Hero and The Villain.

In this clip from the movie Megamind, two children grow up in very different circumstances, learning very different stories about who they are and the roles they might be destined to play in life.

Danny shares how he's realised that the stories he tells himself might not always be true and how The Drama Triangle has helped him identify some of the roles he might be playing in those stories.

The lady in this clip provides a beautiful example of The Victim role, complaining about a problem but with no desire to change anything!

Danny explains how we can all find ourselves playing The Victim in The Drama Triangle and offers a route to grow out of that role into something better.

"It's easier and more comfortable to complain than it is to change."

A significant element of The Drama Triangle is that we can quickly move from playing the role of Hero, to feeling like a victim. In this clip from Megamind we find a hero who feels helpless, believing that his destiny has already been determined for him, until he realises that he has the power to choose his own path.

Our culture celebrates heroes and so we grow up believing that this is the role we should all aspire to play. However, Danny explains that the Hero's tendency to save people can end up causing more problems than it solves and there is a greater role for the hero to aspire to.

"The hero seeks value by being needed by others."

In this short story, a man is disgusted by the behaviour of a stranger who seems to be stealing his cookies!

Do you ever find yourself criticising, blaming and pointing the finger at failures? You may well have slipped into the role of The Villain! Danny explains how our villainous tendencies can be transformed into something more constructive that will bring change and growth.

Here are some other great videos, not included in today's service, that may help you learn more about The Drama Triangle:

This has a great application for your workplace, demonstrating how we can easily change roles in the drama triangle.

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