Revisiting the Drama Triangle

With all the other skills you must cover in the basic volunteer training, the Drama Triangle can often be overlooked. If you do not have time to give the Drama Triangle adequate coverage in your basic volunteer training it can be a good topic for an in-service training.

Why is the Drama Triangle important?

  1. It helps advocates focus on what their job is and what it is not.
  2. It can help clarify the difference between ministry and manipulation and how we can easily fall into the role of rescuer which often leads to manipulation.
  3. It gives clear guidelines and helpful roles for self-evaluation.
  4. The roles are easy to identify with as most of us occasionally fall into the Drama Triangle with certain people in our lives.
  5. It can help advocates understand when and how boundaries can get blurred and how to change roles to establish better listening/advocating boundaries.

Here are some ideas of how you can focus on the Drama Triangle in an in-service training:

  1. Create short skits showing what being caught in the Drama Triangle might look like in a listening session at the Center.
  2. Ask advocates to share stories of when they were caught in the Drama Triangle and the consequences of that in their relationship with clients.
  3. Discuss the various roles, in the Drama Triangle (rescuer, victim, persecuter) and ask advocates how those roles might be expressed while engaging with clients. Then ask them what they would do differently if, instead, they were to be an enabler , confronter, and see the other as a person of worth instead.
  4. Develop a list, on the spot with advocates or beforehand, of “trigger” statements that clients might say that draw advocates into the drama triangle. For example . . .
    • “I can’t carry a baby for nine months and then give it up.”
    • “I know God doesn’t like abortion but he will understand why I have to do this.”
    • “But we love each other so that makes it okay.”
    • “You don’t understand, I have to do this.”
    • It’s my body, I can do what I want with it.”
  5. Talk about why the client statements draw advocates in to being a rescuer and/or persecutor and how we can recognize when we shift into those roles.
  6. Take each one of the statements and discuss you can use the skills taught in the Seven Fundamentals to respond more appropriately as an enabler and confronter.
  7. Ask each volunteer to evaluate themselves based on the in-service exercises and discussion and develop a list of three action steps to improve in their areas of weakness.

It can be very helpful to review the Drama Triangle with advocates and delve into the topic during an in-service when you have more time to devote to the topic.

What ideas do you have for utilizing the Drama Triangle in an advocate in-service?

I welcome you to share your ideas so we can continue to help and encourage each other in our quest to serve and equip our volunteers for the work of the ministry.


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