Protagonist, group or leader centered psychodrama? Terminology

The term “group centered” is used in Australia and New Zealand psychodrama circles with respect to warm-up and also with respect to the drama itself.

Firstly with respect to the drama. I recall  Max Clayton’s teaching when the group was under the misapprehension that sociodrama was always group centred i.e. without a specific protagonist, and psychodrama always had a protagonist.  He then demonstrated a protagonist centred sociodrama, i.e. one based around the social roles in one person’s work situation.  On rare occasions, I have seen a group centered psychodrama, one that began as a sociogram.  An isolate emerged and the group then worked collaboratively with that person to include them.

With respect to warm-up, I am familiar with the usage where a “director directed warm-up” is contrasted with a “group centered warm-up”.

I have found a passage in “Who Shall Survive?” where Moreno talks about “centeredness.”  and his usage is a bit different.

 

I doubt that we would use “leader centered” for psychodrama.  If there is a psychodrama, then it is based on the group or the protagonist as the central focus.  Emergent psychodrama sounds interesting but is not related to this discussion as far as I can see.  I imagine all our groups are “group centered” in the way the word is used in the passage from “Who Shall Survive?” Even director directed warm-ups lead to group or protagonist centered psychodrama.

What has sparked my interest in this linguistic exploration is that I have been working with couples in groups in a variety of ways.  I want to use the words  “relationship centered psychodrama”.  I think there are many ways to be “relationship centered”.  I think more exploration is needed as being protagonist centered can run counter to the needs of a couple.  I am writing another post on relationship centered psychodrama as I research the variety of ways this can be done and also the way Moreno tackled this in the past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Spontaneity-creativity

For Moreno spontaneity was “a new response to an old situation or an adequate response to a new situation” (1953, p. 336), with creativity adding the element of inventiveness.

 

Moreno, Zerka T. (1987) “Psychodrama, Role Theory, and
the Concept of the Social Atom.” in Zeig, Jeffrey K., Evolution Of Psychotherapy, first Conference. Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Zerka is quoting from the definition that is on the same page in the 1978 edition, 366.

Here is another quote from “Who Shall Survive?” 1978 edition, Page 42:

Spontaneity operates in the present, now and here; it propels the individual towards an adequate response to a new situation or a new response to an old situation. It is… the least developed among the factors operating in our world; it is most frequently discouraged and restrained by cultural devices.

So is spontaneity the response, or that which propels the response?

Continue reading “Spontaneity-creativity”

It’s only ontology.

From the Dictionary:

Ontology

noun: ontology; plural noun: ontologies
1.
the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
2.
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”

Origin

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.
Continue reading “The Moment in History”

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

Later — Friday, 22 December, 2017

Just noticed this quote fro Marshall Rosenberg:

 

It may be most difficult to empathize with those we are closest to.

Moreno was not alone in noticing this phenomena

Therapeutic Tele

I found a few pages in Psychodrama Vol I by J.L Moreno – I think this item was written well before 77 when the book came out – a Symposium in the 40s?

Moreno talks of the individual locus of physical ailments.  There is another locus for psychological work, the relationship.

Then he gets really radical.  The relationships in life are therapeutic.  The psychodramatist activates the healing potential of the relationships.

And then there is one more thing!

the medium of therapy [is separate] from the healer as well as the group therapeutic agents.

What is that “medium” – Moreno in other places calls it the sociometric matrix.

Here is how I sum up Moreno’s philosophy:  there is a network of social and cultural role patterns we are born into. Born out of perhaps, that is the matrix. Spontaneity is our ability to transcend that given.

Here is the selection in Google Drive.  It should be public – if not email me.

Thus the healing is in the relational paradigm.  (an imago book)

Roles Create Roles

“a role is the functioning form the individual assumes in the specific moment he reacts to a specific situation in which other persons or objects are involved” (Moreno, 1977, p IV)

Lets take a list of roles, these are from Max Clayton’s article (Clayton, 1994),  it is a convenient list, and it is the one that got me to think about this:

Artist
Playful fun-lover
Coach
Companion
Adventurer
Manipulator
Teacher
Despairer
Self-doubter
Guard
Frightened, abandoned orphan
Anxious and suspicious fantasiser
Angry controller
Condemning critic
Friend
Father
Good listener
Lover
Perfectionist

For each of these there is as Moreno puts it: “a specific situation in which other persons or objects are involved.” We can grasp the role it is possibly in relation to from the role.

Artist
Playful funlover
Coach
Companion
Adventurer
Manipulator
Teacher
Despairer
Self-doubter
Guard
Frightened, abandoned orphan
Anxious and suspicious fantasiser
Angry controller
Condemning critic
Friend
Father
Good listener
Lover
Perfectionist
Art Audience Muse
Playmates
Trainee
Companion
Mentor
Sucker, victim
Student
Stubborn controller
Critic
Invaders
Absent Parent, Threatening bully
Challenging person or situation
Helpless follower
Self doubter
Friend
Child
Speaker
Lover
Slob

Creating Change in a Role Relationship

These role pairs will change as one of the roles changes:

The teacher can’t teach without the student

Lovers need lovers

If the manipulatee ceases to be duped and becomes assertive the manipulator can’t manipulate.

If there is no speaker, become a good listener.

If there is no artist, become an appreciative audience and contribute materials

Be loving and love may come your way.

Stop criticising, appreciate and praise and you won’t be with a self-doubter for long.

Role relationships

There are different types of role relationship. Max talks of complementary roles and symmetrical roles.

“The diagrams made it easier to be aware of the complementary and symmetrical role systems that developed with other people and of the fact that there was an increase in complementary role relationships. As ability to analyse, plan and enjoy life came to the fore, so those roles pertaining to intimacy increased. There was a welcoming of closeness and an interest in complementing what others were doing. The aggressive approach to others diminished and along with this a lessening of symmetrical role relations and of the competitive dynamic that is associated with these. There was also a development of a real sense of being a role creator. Previously there had been much more of a sense of being a mundane person. A look at the diagrams also confirmed the ability to create forms of expression through which life purposes could be fulfilled. The experience of being a role creator was accompanied by an increase in motivation.”

An example of complementary role might be speaker / listener – and this would increase intimacy, as max suggests.

Symmetrical roles can escalate and be competitive e.g. Talker / talker can become shouter / shouter.

But some symmetrical roles can be intimate lover/lover gardener/gardener

Google search found the book online Note: I have a physical copy.

References

Clayton, G. M. (1994). Role Theory and its Application in Clinical Practice. In P. Holmes, K. Karp, & M. Watson (Eds.), Psychodrama Since Moreno (pp. 121–144). London: Routledge. Retrieved Tuesday, 9 February, 2016 from aanzpa.org
Moreno, J. L. (1977). Psychodrama Volume One (Fourth ed.). Beacon, New York: Beacon House.