Marriage and family therapy – Inter-psyche

Here is a quote from Moreno that has major implications for how we conduct psychodrama in groups or with individuals when they want to work on significant relationships and the other party is not present.

And the other question that flows on from this piece of wisdom from JL is how to do “re-enactment a deux”.  The phrase ‘psychodrama a deux’ when I have heard it come up has referred to doing psychodramatic psychotherapy with an individual.  This is different.  Couple therapy using psychodramatic processes is something that some of us have well developed.  What about working with a couple when both are present in a psychodrama group?

I have been exploring that question in practice.

What about when someone does a drama involving an intimate other who is not there?

What if a couple are in crisis? Do we recommend they attend a psychodrama group?

These are questions I will be addressing in a workshop at the AANZPA  conference in Brisbane in January. ‘Addressing’ here means exploring in action with colleagues.

 

Marriage and family therapy for instance, has to be so conducted that the “interpsyche” of the entire group is re-enacted so that all their tele-relations, their co-conscious and co-unconscious states are brought to life. Co-conscious and co-unconscious states are by definition such states which the partners have experienced and produced jointly and which can therefore be only jointly reproduced or re-enacted. A co-conscious or a co-unconscious state can not be the property of one individual only. It is always a common property and cannot be reproduced but by a combined effort. If a re-enactment of such co-conscious or co-unconscious state is desired or necessary, that re-enactment has to take place with the help of all partners involved in the episode. The logical method of such re-enactment a deux is psychodrama. However great a genius of perception one partner of the ensemble might have, he or she can not produce that episode alone because they have in common their co-conscious and co-unconscious states which are the matrix from which they drew their inspiration and knowledge.

Psychodrama Volume 1, 4th edition, page vii

What is Psychodrama?

Psychodrama is a form of therapy.  Moreno the founder of psychodrama, on page one of his seminal book: “Who Shall Survive?” spoke about a therapeutic procedure.

Clearly a therapeutic procedure that has as its objective the whole of humankind stands out as a special case of psychotherapy.  Psychodrama is a special case…

Psychodrama is a term that can cover any of the following: psychodramatic group work, a scientific approach to relationships called sociometry, group psychotherapy, dramatic explorations of society in a method called sociodrama. In its long history and development other forms were entertained… encounter, improvisation, sociatry, bibliodrama, music drama. What ties the various flavours together is the focus on relationships. Psychodrama may not be the only or best word that could describe the whole field but it has become the best known and most widely used term.

In Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand the Training & Standards Manual for Psychodrama uses the term Psychodrama generically to cover four specialities.

  • Psychodrama (the classical form of group therapy using drama and the stage)
  • Sociodrama
  • Sociometry
  • Role training

These four disciplines are interrelated and are taught to all trainees.  The specialisation that occurs is usually related to the occupation of the trainee.  Some specialties are more suited to psychotherapy and counselling, others to education and others are suited to organisational development and consulting.  All specialities can lead to work in the creative arts.

Clearly psychodrama is more than psychotherapy, it is a form of working with social change in many spheres. Psychodramatic methods have a strong focus on experiential learning and on practical methods that encourage lively expression of thought, feeling and action. Moreno was a deep thinker and prolific writer and theory and philosophy underly the work and can’t be separated from the techniques. Writing that is clinically sound and at the same time inclusive of the experience of the writer is essential to becoming qualified.  A Journal has been published by AANZPA  and is now  in its 26th year. Well over a hundred thesis have been written in Australia and New Zealand.

Psychodrama has theatre as a central mode of practice and theory. (Note how this contrasts with the origin of many other therapies in medical practice. People have used theatre to connect, to tell stories, make meaning and enliven the spirit for many centuries.  Theatre fosters a relational, holistic response to life. Group members take up the various roles of what is happening. There is an opportunity to experience all the thoughts, feelings and actions. Being able to stand back and literally see all the factors that contribute to a situation makes it possible to think, feel and take new actions. There is a freeing up of the old and an entering into new possibilities.

There is a body of theory, philosophy and knowledge that ensure sound clinical work. Here are some key concepts, some have their roots in theatre:

  • Spontaneity (The ability to have creativ and effective responses)
  • tele (the space between people, a concep used in sociometric investigations)
  • role (a holistic way of assessing relationships and human functioning)
  • the social atom (the smallest ensemble that sustains us)
  • the canon of creativity (a theory of change
  • sociometric matrix (the network in groups)
  • a theory of child and adult development
  • catharsis of integration

Psychodrama has a philosophy, a body of knowledge and a method for working
with groups and individuals that brings the complexities, the beauty, the wonder, the struggles
and the depth truth of life onto ‘the stage’.

While it is more than psychotherapy, psychodrama is a solid psychotherapeutic modality. Psychodrama qualification is a pathway to legal registration as a psychotherapist in Australia by PACFA and in Aotearoa by PBANZ.

This chart “History of Development of Psychotherapy” by Lynnette Clayton one of the pioneers in bringing psychodrama to Australia and New Zealand, shows how the work of Moreno is at the foundation of a line of psychotherapy. It has a lineage of its own, that does not go back to the inter-psychic work of Freud. Lynette calls the lineage existential.  Today many would call the method the first in a relational paradigm.  One of the difficulties is that it is was a relational method in a highly individualistic twentieth century. The need to unite in the face a threatened planet means that now is the time for psychodrama to flourish.

(click on the image to see the pdf)

There are psychotherapist and counsellors in all the cities and major towns in New Zealand who are qualified psychodramatists or who have had extensive training in psychodrama in addition to other modalities.

Many people who work with organisations have trained and qualified in sociodrama and sociometry.  Community workers, managers, educators and social worker benefit enormously from  psychodrama training.

Psychodrama Workshops 2018

I’m delighted to have plans and dates for a bunch of psychodrama events next year.  I hope you will find something of interest!

Psychodrama Weekends with Walter Logeman – Christchurch

Fri, 13 – Sun, 15 April
Fri, 31 August – Sun, 2 September

Experience psychodrama for your personal development!

Download flyer and enrolment details

 

Writing Retreat Mt Lyford – for Psychodrama Trainees

Fri, 25 – Sun 27 May

Writing is an essential part of psychodrama training.

Download flyer     Enrol: http://psychodrama.org.nz/citp-2018c

 

Working With Couples – Professional Development – Christchurch

Christchurch Fri, 6 – Sun, 8 July 2018

This workshop will enrich your work with couples.  Also a good way to get started.

Download Flyer    Enrol: http://psychodrama.org.nz/citp-2018e

The Fuse Box

I want to get this book.

The Fuse Box: Essays on Writing from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters – Victoria University Press

I heard about it in this excellent podcast: Kim Hill interviews Emily PerkinsEmily Perkins – Ibsen and The Fuse Box

Thought it might be fun to offer the protagonists in The Dolls House couple therapy.

Their filthy heart

“The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws.  That’s just the way it is.  This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last.  You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’ sake.  Love is something different.  Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart.  Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate.  Love is hard.  Love is pain and sacrifice, it’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.”

 

This is an internet thing, everyone quotes it.  Attributed to The Great Kamryn whoever she is.  Famous it seems for this one quote.  Or is there more to it?  Maybe in some library of physical docs?

Anyway, I like it.

Invisible threads

http://inthemessy.com/tag/advent/

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”

The space between is invisible – we can only talk about it in metaphor e.g. “broken heart”, “bound together”, “muddy path” and here as “sympathetic fibers”. Not only do we use metaphor, we can use images and symbold – rings, hearts. And in psychodrama we have the simple act of concretisation: place people or objects at a distance to show where they are in your life. Distance becomes visible and conveys meaning.

The quote above from https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3500800.Henry_Melvill (not the Moby Dick man) seems to be saying that our actions can live after us and multiply. Then come back as karma. And then impact everyone. Be careful what you say and do it can reverberate into the future.

I think of this as Moreno’s sociometric matrix. Sympathetic is a nice word there with its roots in symphony – all the parts of the network working together.

The network of course is a physical metaphor for something unseen, the space.

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Background

http://melvilliana.blogspot.co.nz/2011/09/finest-thing-herman-melville-never-said.html

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Lenin used the concept often

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/7thconf/24c.htm

All humanity is thrown into a tangled bloody heap from which no nation can extricate itself on its own. Though there are more and less advanced countries, this war has bound them all together by so many threads that escape from this tangle for any single country acting on its own is inconceivable.

The Social Constructivist Movement in Modern Psych

The_Social_Constructivist_Movement_in_Modern_Psych

Kenneth J. Gergen 1985

To Read.

Question: Do they really think there is no individual?

I thought it was radical to say that the relationship has the individuals rather than individuals have a relationship. That still means there are individuals.

Must read it.

Community-Based Research: Creating Evidence-Based Practice for Health and Social Change

This is an interesting and valuable paper and link to kindred spirits. Something to integrate into my long paper on methodology.

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00001388.htm

Community-Based Research: Creating Evidence-Based Practice for Health and Social Change

Marcia Hills, R.N., Ph.D.

Jennifer Mullett, Ph.D.

Community Health Promotion Coalition
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC, Canada

Paper presented at the Qualitative Evidence-based Practice Conference, Coventry University, May 15-17 2000.

Evidence-based practice usually refers to gathering quantitative data upon which to base decisions about what constitutes effective or efficient practice or what is sometimes referred to as “best practices”. The authors argue that, when gathering evidence about practice concerning people in communities which is often the case in the health sector, different evidence is needed and, consequently, different methodologies and methods for collecting that evidence must be used. In this context, the notion of basing practice on evidence raises the question “what do we accept as evidence upon which to base our practices that involve people in communities?”

Identity

I recall a social work teacher I had saying the main purpose of the training was to develop the professional identity of a social worker. I liked that idea. Especially once I saw that as a social worker I embraced a set of values, a body of literature and a community of practice. We valued a social systemic rather than individual approach, this meant seeing the world in quite a different way to, say doctors whose only systems were the human biological ones, who could make individual diagnosis but not social ones. Even better it distinguished us from psychologists, who adapted the medical model to the psyche, enviously creating a system of diagnosis based on the medical one.

Maybe it was a good thing at the time. There were variations on the theme, there were Christian social workers who I did not identify with and radical social workers who I did identify with. This blurred the edge between personal and professional identities. My family was not strong on identity. Atheist/Agnostic Dutch/Australian, humanist left rather than right. I must have craved a more defined identity as my first forage into this realm was to be able to say ‘I am a bushwalker”. In Sydney at the time, for me it had an almost religious existential meaning. Value words included intrepid, nature, hard, travelling light. It distinguished us from mere tourists, and I’m sure there are still people around who are part of that circle, and have let it define them to some degree. Now, 56 years later I retain some of these values. I trained first as a teacher but did no embraced the identity. Bushwalker softly morphed to mountaineer – but I saw it as an extension of my BW ID. Traveller was another extension I aimed to embrace, Peter Pinney style (See my blog post) but I was too much of a settler.

Philosopher, hippie, marxist were all on the journey. Now I’m writing a paper: “Being a Psychodramatist.” I don’t think I’ve landed in a fixed place. Identifying with groups and activities is one thing, belonging to a community is another, being conversant with a philosophy of life… All ok and maybe steps in the developmental pathway. As a trainer in psychodrama I want trainees to become psychodramatists, not just learn some techniques. To that end it is good to hold fast to a tradition and to embrace it. Not to cling to it, not to hide behind it. And the value in this particular tradition is that it is aware that the tradition is a conserve and that from a conserve we warm up to spontaneity and creativity. That is – from the old to the new.

Lynette Clayton wrote about the personality emerging from the roles we enact. Maybe it is also right to say that it emerges from the identities we embrace. Hmmm maybe the identities are things we discover in our selves, and then embrace. Over identification with a philosophy or group is a form of narrow mindedness, yet to be forever eclectic and skeptical is just confusing.

We need to develop an ego, personality, self, identity – all words, all useful especially in their respective philosophies. And there are stages of life for each.

In Erikson’s scheme

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erikson’s_stages_of_psychosocial_development

“The teenager must achieve identity in occupation, gender roles, politics, and, in some cultures, religion.”

Thankfully he adds somewhere that this phase can go on for many years. And it is also clear that in his scheme there are many identities, professional being just one of them.

I think I developed a stable professional identity, did not get there till well into my 30s though. I see it as a cluster: psychodramatist, psychotherapist, counsellor, philosopher. Within that identity there is a lot of scope as well:

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”