Verhofstadt-Deneve, L. M. F. (2000). The "Magic Shop" technique in psychodrama: An existential –
dialectical view. International Journal of Action Methods: Psychodrama, Skill Training, and Role
The refined magic shop technique takes the following general sequence:
1. Warming-up (Beginning the Session)
a. Description of the shop
b. Reflection in silence
2. Action (The Shop Opens)
c. Customer enters shop and looks for the appropriate quality.
d. Search for situation(s) in which the quality was missed.
e. First mini-drama without the quality
f. Back to shop to try on the quality
g. Second mini-drama with the quality
h. Back to shop for negotiation
i. Exchange of qualities
j. Exit from the shop and return to the group.
3. Sharing (After the Shop Closes)
Beginning the Session
(a) The director (Dir.) opens the session: Last week I announced that today you could visit the magic
shop. I am the magic shopkeeper. This is the shop where I receive my customers, this is the counter.
Here you can see all the attractive merchandise I have on offer, and over here, mind you, there is the
door. When a customer enters the shop or leaves, you will hear the ding-dong from a bell--don't forget
The shopkeeper makes a fuss about everything, walking around eagerly and pointing everything out.
The director continues: There's something very special about my shop. You can't buy anything tangible
here, but I do sell any quality or characteristic that you can think of. If you believe that you lack a given
quality that you need in order to be happier, you can buy it from me--say, audacity, empathy, or
anything else. It may not be easy to find the right words for what you seem to need, but the other
customers may be able to help you, because we are all members of a tightly knit club, called "The Magic
Shop Friends." One effective way of helping a customer is by doubling, which means that you enter the
shop (you simply walk through the wall), stand behind the customer, put a hand on his or her shoulder,
and suggest something, using the I-form. Any member of the club can do this but needs the
Shopkeeper's consent, which one gains by glancing in his direction. The customer then decides if he or
she accepts your doubling. Remember that the customer does not acquire the quality for nothing, he or
she must pay for it, not with money but with the exchange of a positive quality. I do not accept negative
qualities because I cannot sell those to anyone else. Don't worry about the exchange because some
positive qualities can hamper your development, if you have too much of them. Moreover, so-called
negative qualities can also be thought of as positive and therefore can also be used as a means of