Review by:
Dr. Suchitra Ramkumar
Poornam-Institute for Holistic Development, Chennnai, India

A medical doctor who uses her training in the service of social causes. She is also a counsellor & educator following the Krishnamurti philosopy. She is a co-chair of Scientific programme Committee of the 2012 SAATA-ITAA Conference.

No More Drama is based on a concept of drama as elucidated by Eric Berne (the creator of a therapeutic approach called Transactional Analysis) and one of his students Steve Karpman. This slim book of about 125 pages is published by SDQ, Canada.

We play out these dramas every day in our relationships. Gregory Boyce takes us through a deep and insightful elucidation of what “drama” means, what roles we play out in this drama and why we do so.

Chapter 1 introduces us in the author’s own words to “the sights and sounds of drama in several versions”.
Chapter 2 titled “What is your Drama Face” takes us through the four roles that we might play; that of victim, persecutor, rescuer and audience. It also tells how we accomplish a switch from one role to another.
Chapter 3 takes us to the reasons for the drama which the author attributes to five different factors.
Chapter 4 gives useful suggestion to help pull out of our roles in the drama.
Chapter 5 is to help us stay “Drama Free”.
Chapter 6 addresses the central question of boredom and drama.

Finally the author ends by asking us to take responsibility. “People who want milk should not seat themselves in the middle of a field with stool and bucket and wait for a dairy cow to back up to them.”

The book is neither a theoretical treatise nor a self help guide but helps blend the theory to the practicum of everyday living. The real life examples and case studies that so appropriately substantiate every part of the book capture the interest and attention is As a reader one is able to identify and relate to these situations very easily. The author’s analysis and explanations that come along with these examples helps build an understanding of and sensitivity to our roles and responses in interactions.

The latter part of the book gives us some ideas on how to move out of our roles in drama. We often play out roles and positions repeatedly and sometimes helplessly. Moving out of these self destructive patterns seems vital to building healthier relationships. The ideas are not given as rules and advice. The author helps us see that effective change flows naturally from a self-reflective understanding of what we are doing. Gregory Boyce’s book helps us rewind our responses in slow motion. The author invites us to maintain our own drama sheet to help us do so.

The book can be read and enjoyed by anybody interested in human relationships. It would be useful for practitioners of Transactional Analysis to intervene effectively in therapeutic situations and also help them empower their clients. Non TA practitioners and lay people will also find the book interesting and useful. The useful interventions—the author calls it the “toolkit” like active and empathetic listening, constructive criticism, reality checking etc can be gainfully applied by all people in their lives.