AANZPA Canterbury/Westland AGM and Pot Luck Dinner — Flyer and Link to Meetup

2020 AGM potluck flyer

**** Potluck Dinner ****
Tuesday 17 November, 7pm
Phillipstown Community Hub
39 Nursery Rd, Phillipstown

Join us for an informal gathering for a potluck dinner from 7pm. Regional AANZPA members, associate members and affiliates welcome Theatre of Spontaneity attendees, Psychodrama trainees, and others interested. This will follow our regional association AGM (6.30-7pm).

AANZPA End of Year Social

Tuesday, Nov 17, 2020, 7:00 PM

Christchurch, NZ

1 people Attending

After the AGM there will be – Pot luck meal at 7pm – please, bring everything you need, drinks, cutlery, because there are no cooking/heating facilities available. Theatre of Spontaneity participants invited!

Check out this Meetup →



Serendipity and the Sociometric Matrix

Just read a post on John Frame’s blog on Serendipity.


… a strange force called synchronicity, or the coming together of things at one moment in time by that non-linear force called synchronicity. I argued how synchronicity might be related to the two greatest films in Hollywood and one of the most famous books in American history.

Lovely stories about great movies follow.

It made me thing about how drama work… how in psychodrama we use synchronicity – we don’t call it that, but we refer to making the sociometric matrix visible.

Synchronously I was just uploading my 1999 thesis to this blog.  I read it through the other day and I was quite pleased with it.  I am working with trainees who are writing psychodrama thesis.  And it seems to do what I teach now.

Have a clear topic  and audience.  The central “thesis” needs to be present throughout.

Imagine the task of the group leader when faced with diverse individuals and how this might conflict with the desire to have coherent group life.

Join me as a systems thinker, becoming aware of the inter-relationships in the group, to be able to use the imagination to see the life of the group and the life of individuals.

In art, poetry and psychodrama things come together…

The-group-and-its-protagonist-Walter Logeman

The Power of Intimate Relationships — A One-Day Workshop, October 10, Christchurch.


The Power of Intimacy

A Couple Therapy Training Day
with Walter Logeman

Saturday, 10 October

This one day workshop is for people who work
with individuals and/or couples.

I’m pleased to announce this one day couple therapy training. The focus will be on engaging the couple.

Right from the start it is usually ONE person who makes contact. How to address that initial difference? There are so many ways and so many different scenarios.

This is where a sociodramatic approach comes into its own. The life in the group will bring forth the collective wisdom. Yes, we trust the power of intimacy in the group for learning about the power of intimacy in the couples we work with.

And what if you don’t see couples for some reason?
Counselling, if the matters raised include a partner, means it is relationship therapy. How to work with the power of love in that relationship?

There is a lesson in the relationship to learn, and one partner can transform a relationship. It’s better if they do that together.

Go here to see more and to enrol:  Psychodrama.org.nz


This one day workshop is a lead-in to Psychodramatic Couple Therapy Training
https://psychodrama.org.nz/couple-therapy-training/  the next four-day event is Wednesday 18 – Saturday 21 November 2020, you can enrol now.

It’s only ontology.

From the Dictionary:


noun: ontology; plural noun: ontologies
the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
a set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them.
“what’s new about our ontology is that it is created automatically from large datasets”


early 18th century: from modern Latin ontologia, from Greek ōn, ont- ‘being’ + -logy.

I have long had a phrase I use “It’s only ontology”.  I use it to listen to people as they talk about Jesus, Chi, Shan, God, spirit or soul and so on.  My little phrase reminds me to listen to the person rather than get into a debate about the existence of this or that. Also, irrespective of the existence of stuff, ontology  “shows properties and the relations between” categories.  For an archetypal psychologist, for example,  there is a fundamental distinction between soul and spirit. Other people may use the words differently, yet they can reveal much about their world view.  It’s only ontology.

PSM_V10_D562_The_hindoo_earthScreen Shot 2020-07-27 at 11.19.24 PM

I am looking back on earlier posts in relationship to ontology.  Here is one where my phrase does not hold:

Continue reading “It’s only ontology.”

The Moment in History

I am a psychodramatist and hence a student of the work of J.L. Moreno.  And I hold his philosophy and methods to be revolutionary in the sense of having potential to heal humanity.  There is an area of his philosophy and outlook where he comes short of the potential, it is in the conception of mass action and the macro forces that operate in the world.  He lacks a good grasp of Marxism. And I think Marxism lacks the science of sociometry, the outlook of small groups.

Moreno and Marx have a lot of common ground. Both Marx and Moreno have an experimental, scientific outlook. Action and learning go together. Its integrated.  This is what is meant by dialectical, a term both Moreno and Marx use for describing the process of participation in the world.  Its not one or another or even one and the other, Action and learning combine in the flow of life.

I will comment on the following passage by Moreno to show how it is similar to marxism and how it is progressive and also where it shows a gap in Moreno’s approach:

“All this, of course, could only happen if the warming up process of all human characters and all participating groups coalesce naturally into an experiment . (Rule of “gradual” inclusion of all extraneous criteria .) There are many steps and more barriers which a sensitive crew of coexperimenters might encounter on the way to a scientific utopia . However little or far they advance they never fool themselves and never fool others ; they prefer the “slow” dialectic process of the sociometric experiment in situ to social experiments which are based on inference and logic only or the social revolutions of mass action which do not know when to start and when to end .”

“Who Shall Survive?” P63

First the progressive:

Warm-up is a key concept in psychodrama, the process is complex, yet the term is somewhat self explanatory. I have written with approval of Moreno’s scientific method and the “Rule of “gradual” inclusion of all extraneous criteria.” It makes total sense sense when working with the group process of warming up.  What is central, what is extraneous? How not to dismiss all that emerges? The group warms up together and a focus emerges. See my psychodrama thesis about finding the focal conflict and central concern in a psychodrama group.

In the next few lines “slow” is a word to review.  It is sometimes slow and sometimes fast.  He has it gradual and slow in quotes. I take it he means it is relative, and as he says. part of the “dialectic process” which can be seen as outside of linear time. There are moments of dramatic change in a psychodrama group. The oft quoted idea from Lenin comes to mind:

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”

― Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

I can imagine Moreno agreeing that this happens in psychodrama, though he does not address the flow of history in this way.

Moreno is also progressive when he contrasts “sociometric experiment in situ”  and “social experiments which are based on inference and logic only”. Here again is a shared outlook with Marx.  It is a moment where Moreno is clearly not a philosophical idealist, i.e. someone who dreams up a plan and then works out the steps to execute it.  That way of thinking is anathema to both Moreno and Marx. When Moreno says in situ, he means in the world and not on the psychodrama stage. On the stage the enactment is as close to life as possible, but he regularly affirms that life itself is the most important arena.

A gap in his methods are revealed in his concluding negative comment about mass action: “the social revolutions of mass action which do not know when to start and when to end.” These are not according to Moreno the sort of group that “coalesce naturally into an experiment.”

This is where Moreno’s vision, focussed on small groups is at a loss to grapple with major social upheaval. It seems he does not have a problem with “social revolution”, but a particular type of mass action. It is true, there is no knowing what will happen when it comes to masses, social forces, large groups, classes and nations. So Moreno is then at a loss, he has no way of knowing where to stand on mass movements, how to be with them or assess them. He is not able to make use of his theory of the moment or concept of spontaneity and theory of change.

There is no denying that there is a conundrum. A challenge.  A small group can have a life of its own that is bigger than the individual will of the participants. The methods, philosophy and history of psychodrama are about the collective relational processes. Moreno made unique contributions including the philosophy of the moment. But what about the clashing of multiple large social collectives? What about the moment in history? Marxism adresses this area, (but does not have ready answers.)

Note this classic statement from Marx:

“Men and women make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.

But can it be done well?  Marx is not always optimistic, here is the rest of the paragraph:

The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.”

― Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

For those familiar with Moreno will see that Marx is grappling with what Moreno would call cultural conserves.  And Morenian theory has lots to say about cultural conserves. The theory of change, tried and tested in small groups is the Canon of Creativity. To become creative, to have the emergence of the adequate and new, the path is through warm up and spontaneity to creativity. But how does this theory of change apply at a macro level?

This brings us to an eternal discussion in revolutionary political discourse, where the word spontaneity is also used: the relationship between the spontaneity of the people and leadership. To get an idea about the debate, look at these two paragraphs from Wikipedia on Revolutionary Spontaneity

Revolutionary spontaneity, also known as spontaneism, is a revolutionary socialist tendency that believes the social revolution can and should occur spontaneously from below by the working class itself, without the aid or guidance of a vanguard party and that it cannot and should not be brought about by the actions of individuals such as professional revolutionaries or political parties who might attempt to foment such a revolution.

In his work What Is to Be Done? (1902), Vladimir Lenin argued fiercely against revolutionary spontaneity as a dangerous revisionist concept that strips away the disciplined nature of Marxist political thought and leaves it arbitrary and ineffective.[1]

To counterpose the two perspectives as polar opposites in this way is to do them both a disservice, but the question of the relationship between spontaneity and leadership of revolution is clear. This is also a question of the relationship between small groups and large social forces.  It is fruitful to have both the contributions of Moreno and Marx.

Facing the future… with an eye on the past

“Freud’s … therapy consisted in turning the patient into his past … instead of developing the direction of spontaneity into the future.”1

Wiese said that in to contrast with the work of Moreno.  He’s right too.  However embedded the present dynamics is the geneology. Whakapapa. Moreno talked of statu nascendi. It is in the swirl of unfolding from that moment of birth on that spontaneity happens and the new is created.

  1. Von Wiese, Leopold. (1949). “Sociometry.” Sociometry, Vol. 12, No. 1/3 (Feb. — Aug, 1949), pp. 202—214 Published by: American Sociological Association https://www.jstor.org/stable/2785387

“Between” should not vanish into a “within”.

Talking about Moreno’s approach German sociologist Leopold Von Wiese, (1949) said:

“the realm of subjectivity is never given up by him. But the use of the word subjective here should not imply that Moreno is limited in his studies by a personal involvement; it is just the opposite. His aim is directed towards the most exact objectification of observations; but the object of these operations is the realm of the human psyche exclusively. This is so perhaps because he is a psychiatrist, a practical psychologist and physician. We too, in our “system of relations” do not neglect the psychological processes; but their penetration is one of several tasks so that we can recognize that realm of existence which. is crucial; the social one which lies between men and not within them. Particularly when one, as Moreno, like ourselves, emphasizes the significance of the little word “between” one should not permit it to vanish into a “within”.”

I like this as a formulation of the relational paradigm.

More on this theme from Von Wiese:Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 6.49.13 PM

“When we try to reproduce here the chief content of Moreno’s work, we may best start With a statement from White’s foreword to it, one Which is also an axiom of our system of relations: “Social groups are not a sum of individuals but a sum of relations which exist between them”.

Which makes them complex beyond imagination.


Von Wiese, Leopold. (1949). “Sociometry.” Sociometry, Vol. 12, No. 1/3 (Feb. — Aug, 1949), pp. 202—214 Published by: American Sociological Association https://www.jstor.org/stable/2785387