Spontaneity, Anxiety and the Moment — a passage from “Who Shall Survive?”

A passage from “Who Shall Survive?”

Anxiety is a function of spontaneity. Spontaneity is, as defined, the adequate response to a present situation. If the response to the present situation is adequate-“fullness” of spontaneity-anxiety diminishes and disappears. With decrease of spontaneity anxiety increases. With entire loss of spontaneity, anxiety reaches its maximum, the point of panic. In the “warm up” of an actor to a present situation anxiety may move into two opposite directions; it may start with their striving to move out of an old situation without having enough spontaneity available to do so; or, the anxiety may set in as soon as some “external” force pushes them out of the old situation and leaves them hanging in the air. The terrifying thing for an actor is this wavering between a situation which they have just abandoned and to which he cannot return and a situation which they must attain in order to get back into balance and feel secure. The infant, immediately after birth is the illustration par excellence for this phenomenon. He cannot return to the womb, he has to stay within this new world, but he may not have enough spontaneity to cope with its demands. In such moments of complete abandonment it is imperative that he draws upon all his resources or that someone comes to his aid, an auxiliary ego. Another illustration is a soldier who is suddenly attacked by an overwhelming number of enemies, or the protagonist of the psychodramatic situation facing a group of unbelievers, a man in a frenzy, who acts to save his life.

Thinking through this process it is dialectically faulty to start with the negative, with anxiety. The problem is to name the dynamic factor provoking anxiety to emerge. Anxiety sets in because there is spontaneity missing, not because “there is anxiety,” and spontaneity dwindles because anxiety rises.

“Who Shall Survive?” pages 336-7

 

Interpersonal situation

 

At some point relationships become a “third entity”.

    • What is that point?
    • what is it’s social and cultural atom?
    • how can we concretise this 3rd?
    • how can it speak?

Moreno J.L. (1941) The Philosophy of the Moment and the Spontaneity Theatre. Sociometry May 1941 Vol 4 

 

Interpsyche – Moreno quote

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.

(Moreno, 1977: vii)

Moreno, J. L. (1977). Psychodrama (Volume One, Fourth ed.) Beacon, New York.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

We are born into a pattern of relationships

We are born into a pattern of relationships.
This pattern influences us deeply.
It has a tendency to repeat and persist. 

This brief summary is the basis of psychotherapy, of the unconscious and we work with these patterns in psychodrama.  I’m  pleased with the crisp summation.  I’m  satisfied that it captures the relational nature of our being. The relationship nature of the unconscious, or self.  It is alive as this pattern “repeats and persists”.  And does so even as repair and grapple with the tendencies as they persist.

However the summation is not as soulful or as wild as the process.

Continue reading “We are born into a pattern of relationships”

Action & Psychodrama

I’m working on a handout on action for a Psychodramatic Couple Therapy Training event in September.  Psychodrama is sometimes mistakenly called an “action method”.  That might mean people move about. That they exhibit behaviour.  The real question is: are they actors?  That is, agents in their own life!

The action includes: the body, emotions, thinking, the breath, the spirit, the soul, the chi, life energy, prana.  In psychodrama language that is spontaneity-creativity.

Here are two quotes:

The organism-in-environment is a behavioral system; the actor in situ is an actorial system, and, Moreno (1953b) states, it is important to distinguish between the two. A collectivity of actors is a different entity from a collectivity of organisms and has a different meaning.

Warner (1954) points out that from Moreno’s perspective, when one tries to understand behavior by separating an action into components, as the psychologist does, one ends up ignoring the most important characteristics of human behavior, social interaction. Acts, actions, and interactions are complex behaviors that are intended to gain a desired goal. They occur within a cultural context. There is a reciprocal relationship between the members of a group and the group’s culture. On the one hand, it is the actions of the members that create the culture of the group and on the other hand the culture of the group shapes the actions of its members.

Meyer writes, “The heart of Dr. Moreno’s sociometric method is action. Time and again in the writings of this book and elsewhere, he insists that sociometric methods require that individuals cease to be subjects for research, patients in the clinic, or objects of reform. They must become participants” (1952, p. 360). Sociometric research, Moreno insisted, is for the benefit of the people involved, not for the benefit of the researcher. Therefore, the subjects should be included in the design of the research, in the selection of criteria, for example. Sociometry should take place in life, in the real situation of the individuals, not in the

laboratory of the scientist. Unless the sociometric experiment includes an activity in which the group members partake, it is, at best, “near sociometric.” Sociometry is an action method.

John Nolte

It is worth meditating on the words of Moreno — especially how they might apply to couples.

An action matrix registers acts and events . A behavior matrix registers “observations” of acts and events . The actor must become an observer of himself and an actor towards the observer, i.e ., the observer must become an actor towards the observed and an observer of himself ; one must co-act with the other, a meeting is taking place . In an ongoing socio-psychodrama the subjective view of the actor and the objective view of the co-actor are one, they are on the same plane . Indeed, as … auxiliary egos to each other on the plane of action the degree of their reciprocal subjectivities and objectivities are continuously in a process of mixture; A acts towards B, B acts towards A; A observes self and acts towards B, B observes self and acts towards A ; A observes A, B observes B ; A observes A and B, B observes B and A ; A acts towards C, A acts towards B and C, C acts towards B and A, etc . A genuine theory of action and actors deals with actorial categories and interaction potentials like spontaneity, creativity, the warm up, the moment, the meeting, … auxiliary ego and other categories which express the coexperiential level of an actor’s world on the level of action .

Moreno “Who Shall Survive?” p74

 

Some notes about Action & couple therapy

How does work when we are working with the relationship?  The “third entity”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not “male female” but role systems — unity of opposites  unity and opposites.

The protagonist will transform the and the auxiliary will transform

Action is to do with being actors — active participants.

If there is ambivalence about the relationship — Discernment therapy.

Individuation is always needed

 

 

 

 

 

Marx and Engels on Human Nature

Useful simple short article.

https://www.sfr-21.org/human-nature.html

Marx:

“Estranged labour, therefore, turns man’s species-being – both nature and his intellectual species-power – into a being alien to him and a means of his individual existence. It estranges man from his own body, from nature as it exists outside him, from his spiritual essence, his human existence.”

Working for money and not for love changes our nature. We become alien to ourselves, to our bodies and minds. We become alien to to our nature and the world around us. When we are strangers to our creativity we become strangers our own bodies, to nature as it exists outside us, to our spiritual essence and our human existence.

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