Psychological Eclecticism and Nothing

I recall being advised by my then supervisor, about 30 years ago, to look around for a psychotherapy modality that grabbed me and then to learn it thoroughly and not become prematurely eclectic. I followed that advice. Psychodrama was that modality for me and I am steeped in its traditions and have practiced it for decades and hope to do that for a few more.

However I have more than a passing familiarity with a some other fields of practice, I have a grasp of Archetypal Psychology and I am qualified in Imago Relationship Therapy. I have grappled with my multiple perspectives, and have written a paper about my tension with Imago for the AANZPA Psychodrama Journal: The Imago Affair. I’ve been thinking about this more of late.

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The sociometric matrix.

These words: roles, the social and cultural atom, the sociometric matrix and interpsyche, surplus reality, co-unconscious, co-conscious are all words JL Moreno used to describe various aspects of the psyche. While the psyche is such that any metaphor will work, consistent metaphors and language will help to explore the psyche, produce psychodramas.

I’m trying to relate this to the role dynamics in couples, who as Moreno states, have an interpsyche.

A quote below relate to sociometric matrix, which I’d like to get a better grasp of.

It is heuristic value to differentiate the social universe into three tendencies or dimensions, the external society, the sociometric matrix and the social reality. By external society I mean all tangible and visible groupings, large or small, formal or informal, of which human society consists. By the sociometric matrix I mean all sociometric structures invisible to the macroscopic eye but which become visible through the sociometric process of analysis. By social reality I mean the dynamic synthesis and interpretation of the two. It is obvious that neither the matrix nor the external are real or can exist by themselves, one is a function of the other. As dialectic opposites they must merge in some fashion in order to produce the actual process of social living.

Who Shall Survive? p. 79

The structure of the sociometric matrix is more difficult to recognize. Special techniques called sociometric are necessary to unearth it; as the matrix is in continuous dynamic change the techniques have to be applied at regular intervals so as to determine the newly emerging social constellations. The sociometric matrix consists of various constellations, tele, the atom, the super-atom or molecule (several atoms linked together), the “socioid” which may be defined as a cluster of atoms linked together with other clusters of atoms via inter- personal chains or networks; the socioid is the sociometric counterpart of the external structure of a social group; it is rarely identical with what a social group externally shows because parts or its social atoms and chains may extend into another socioid. On the other hand, some of the external structure of a particular social group may not make sense configuratively as a part of a particular socioid but may belong to a socioid hidden within a different social group. Other constellations which can be traced within a sociometric matrix are psycho-social networks. There are in addition large sociodynamics categories which are frequently mobilized in political and revolutionary activities; they consist of the interpenetration of numerous socioids and represent the sociometric counterpart of “social class” as bourgeoisie or proletariat; they can be defined as sociometric structure of social classes or as “classoids”.

Who Shall Survive? pp. 80-81

The sociometric concept of social change has four chief references: a) the spontaneity-creativity potential of the group, b) the parts of the universal sociometric matrix relevant to its dynamics, c) the system of values it tries to overcome and abandon and d) the system of values it aspires to bring to fulfillment.

Who Shall Survive? p. 115

The greater the contrast between official society and the sociometric matrix the more intensive is the social conflict and tension between them. Social conflict and tension increases in direct proportion to the sociodynamic difference between official society and sociometric matrix.

Who Shall Survive? p. 710

Social atom, operational definition: plot all the individuals a person chooses and those who choose him, all the individuals a person rejects and those who reject him; all the individuals who do not reciprocate either choices or rejections. This is the “raw” material of a person’s social atom.
Conceptual definition: the smallest unit of the sociometric matrix.
Who Shall Survive? p. 721

The Stage as Alchemical Crucible

Looking for ideas on this notion I came across posts from Don Reekie. Not exactly a crucible but a space that is more than a physical construction. A space for truth.

What happens when we step out of ordinary reality onto the psychodrama stage is that the metaxy comes alive, the medial world lives, the soul can live.

This happens as many principles come into play. One is containment. Restraint. The container of the stage is like the alchemical crucible. It must not break. For the work to be done the vessel must hold even when it boils and shakes.

It is a therapeutic relationship, a marriage, a church. Temenos.

This is on my mind as I think of a dialogue as a way of creating a crucible for truth about what is usually invisible… matters of mind and imagination. Dialogue goes beyond a good conversation.

Systems thinking, Gaia and the Hot Age

I am reading James Lovelock’s The Vanishing Face of Gaia. I like his phrase the “Hot Age”. It may or may not come but it is more evocative than “global warming”. But that is not really what I want to raise here. His main thesis, that the earth is a living thing, an organism, that has self regulatory systems is not so much a mystical idea and a metaphor, but the basis of ecology, of systems, a science. The failure to see systemically is at the core of so much reductive scientific inability to see clearly. I see it in mental health, but here he puts it all beautifully as it relates to the planet, and science as a whole, the problem is that …

as the consequence of most American scientists, in their straightforward successful and reductionist way, seeing the Earth as something that they could improve or manage; they seemed to see it as no more than a ball of rock moistened by the oceans and sitting within a tenuous sphere of air… They do not yet see the Earth as a live planet that regulates itself.

They tail to see that because the Earth was colonized by life at least three and a half billion years ago, its temperature and surface composition have been set by the preferences of whatever organisms
made up the biosphere. This was true in the cold of the ice ages, it is true now, and will be true in the heat of the hot age soon due. Of course the physics and chemistry of the air are important in the
understanding of climate, but the manager of climates is and has always been Gaia, the Earth system of which the biosphere is a part. The disastrous mistake of twentieth century science was to assume
that all we need to know about the climate can come from modelling the physics and chemistry ofthe air in ever more powerful computers, and then assuming that the biosphere merely responds passively to
change instead of realizing it was in the driving seat. Because we acknowledged the leadership of America in science, most of the world took its mistaken view as true.

Page 14 in the 2009 penguin edition.

It is interesting that he sees computer modeling as a problem as well. It has led to us not trusting scientists. The small bits of data they can “prove” has impact means forfeiting seeing the whole.

He is thinking Earth, Gaia, but I am much more familiar with looking at systems such as groups and the psyche. Being able to see repeating patterns in the various holons is an art that is not easily proved, but the basis for the science from the inside.