Psychosocial intervention through puppetry


Since time immemorial, manipulating puppets has been associated with ritualistic activities. It has also been associated with children’s play, specifically animistic playful practices.

On the psychological level, manipulating a puppet produces inside the manipulator two contradictory actions: fusion and fission. The body of the manipulator merges into their puppet’s, turning both into one single organic whole, while their person is divided into two parts: the first part is embodied in their organism and the other extends to their hand, which is thus transformed into a second body. The puppet is part of the manipulator and, at the same time, a miniature version of them. As part of them, it reproduces and rearranges their hidden memories in any way they wish. And since it is separate from them, he/she disowns the responsibility for its actions, even if these take a perverse character.

Manipulating the puppet unleashes the manipulator’s imagination and emotional memory. The character that the puppet plays has, so to speak, a “magic power” that makes it triumph over all the other characters that represent oppression, hunger, death, injustice, etc. This victory is embodied in a simple and naive manner at the level of theatrical acting. This simplicity is at the heart of puppetry’s technique of expression.

SSSD gives great importance to this type of intervention, as it contributes to creating a safe space that many people need in order to understand and express their feelings and fears. Ultimately, this process greatly contributes to moving the beneficiary from the victim’s position to a more effective and productive role in community.