The psychological and the social

Psychodrama and sociodrama; psychodramatic roles and social roles.  What is the difference?

What is not the difference:  Psyche is “inner” and social is “outer”.

Psychodrama is about the social and cultural atom.  Is there a psychological atom? I don’t think so.

I have a story that might be a clue about when the psyche is at work. This happens often. Recently I co-led a group. We had little idea who would be there. We spent an hour or two warming up to the group  We made a good connection with each other.  We enjoyed a discussion about how to work with anger in a psychodrama? The other fun thing was sharing the TV programmes we liked.

The first words in the group spoken by anyone were from a group member about how to deal with anger.  And the first drama had quite a focus on Netflix.

I have always put this down to there being a sociometric matrix at work.  It does seem like Jung’s synchronicity and “objective psyche”? Even when we use the word psyche for that it is a SOCIOmetric phenomenon I think.


Psychodramatic – and psychological have the Greek word for the soul at their root. The breath, the butterfly. That which has little material weight, like images, imagination, stories, fantasies and dreams. These things are deep in our being, our history — archetypal… and some way collective, they come alive in art, language and theatre.

I keep coming back to: psyche is social. Or, the social is psychological. The social can be seen as the space between, as the image, as the soul, or the heart.


A sociodrama has a sociodramatic question.

A psychodrama has a concern.

Both are questions about life, the psychodramatic question is more about individual dilemmas and healing. A protagonist can do the work and others can learn from that for themselves so a psychodrama usually has a protagonist. However the question can be tackled by the group, it is then a psychodrama is group centered.

A sociodramatic question is about the group, the world, about US. So Mostly a sociodrama does not have a protagonist. But maybe the question is best explored by a person who is living that social dilemma, then Walter have a protagonist centered sociodrama.

A useful distinction but not enough.

Both are drama, both bring to life something of the soul, perhaps the soul of the world, or soul in the world. Both can concretise the imaginal, possible futures hidden images.

Some moments in sociodramas I recall were exquisite moments of theatre. Moving and uncovering the depth of life. Full of soul.

Maybe it is not useful to make any hard and fast distinctions about the socius and the psyche. Both are there as we seek to explore ourselves in the world.


Thursday, 07 October 2021

I did not come to any clarity in that post, now 6 years old. And I wonder about the image I chose…

max Gimblett

Gimblett began his best known work which he painted on canvases in a variety of unconventional shapes, most notably the four-petaled quatrefoil (a shape loaded with both Eastern and Western religious symbolism.) In object-based paintings, Gimblett uses materials such as silver and gold leaf and contemporary polymers like epoxy, plaster, and resin, ultimately achieving a surface likened to porcelain. He works quickly and gesturally, armed with an extensive variety of rollers, mops, and brushes. Gimblett is also known for his Japanese ink drawings, whose gestural calligraphy informs his larger, abstract paintings.

Interesting but nothing about max, or really psyche and socius.

Wikipedia fares a bit better:

In ancient Mesoamerica, the quatrefoil is frequently portrayed on Olmec and Mayan monuments, such as at La Blanca, Guatemala where it dates to approximately 850 BC. The quatrefoil depicts the opening of the cosmic central axis at the crossroads of the four cardinal directions, representing the passageway between the celestial and the underworld.[6]

Maybe we could think of psych as the vertical axis and the horizontal as the social.

And gold? It is a means of transaction.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.