Friday 23 – Saturday 24 February 2024
Friday 23 – Saturday 24 February 2024
Friday 23 – Saturday 24 February 2024
The year 1933 may have been the official, but the year 1923 was the conceptual origin of sociometry ; it was the publication date of my book Das Stegreiftheater which contained the seeds of many of the ideas which later brought sociometry to fame .
J. L.Moreno, 1978 edition, “Who Shall Survive?” p xiv
Kate and I conducted a regular Thursday evening psychodrama group. We have created a free online group since the pandemic to ‘hold the space’. I sent out a reminder for the event at 4:00 today and I thought I’d put it here on the blog. Part of my ‘Journal’ and also, for those in Christchurch who might like to join.
Here is the email
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…
On the first day of training in Imago therapy Maya Kollman characterised a couple relationship as “A microcosm of the universe trying to repair itself.” In different words psychodrama includes the same idea, the therapeutic tele is distributed in the group, it’s not just in the director.
And there is qualitative evidence for this… A group, or a couple, once the connection is established and there is a warm up, will hum its way to more and more enabling solutions. I see it so clearly in psychodrama groups – each drama assists the whole group in a quest that is finally resolved. The terminology of ‘disturbing motive’ and ‘reactive fear’ is used to describe this process. Even this naming implies that it is the ‘disturbing motive’ that arises first and the the ‘reactive fear’ is simply the obstacles of the cultural conserve (CC) that need to get out of the way. CC is a term from the psychodramatic theory Canon of Creativity
An earlier post grapples with the same idea. https://psyberspace.walterlogeman.com/2018/the-survival-dance-that-gets-in-the-way-of-the-encounter/
There is a layer of conserved coping that is somehow “man made”, the reactive fear, which is usually followed by flight or fight i.e. Criticism and blaming or avoidance. There is another layer – the universe trying to heal itself. Lets just call it eros or love. Gt the crap out of the way and the love will come through.
Both psychodrama and Imago have the philosophy that the therapist is the catalyst, simply providing tools, like dialogue, or the 5 instruments so the eros can emerge.
I’m reflecting on the relationship between letting it happen and making it happen.
The inevitable can be helped along.
We are agents in the healing of the universe. i.e. in its progress. Towards eros.
We can make it worse or better. If this is a dead end it will proceed towards the omega point in some other way. The universe does not care, but it won’t stop its evolution, its development, its progress. These words are teleological.
We make history but under conditions of our choosing.
Surfing. We can but catch a wave or miss it.
Anyway, if we assume that a group or a couple is “A microcosm of the universe trying to repair itself.” then we are assistants to that process.
Thats what Marxists are too.
Strange that the right who advocate market forces somehow believe in the benign power of the market. Leave alone. Marxists might trust the market too if it was alive in a society that was free of the distortions of the capitalists. It would tend towards each to his needs. Just like in couple therapy – in my room I have to be a strong dictatorship of the eros forces. We fight the cultural conserves (part of the current cultural forces) of blame – attack and control.
See more search the Tag – theory of change https://psyberspace.walterlogeman.com/tag/theory-of-change/
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. Can we trust their representation?
Can a person in a couple relationship role reverse with their partner?
In a group can someone do a drama involving an intimate other who is not there?
These are questions I will be exploring in action with colleagues. in a workshop at the AANZPA conference in Brisbane in January.
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
Couple and family therapy 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. Thus the interpsyche involves states which the partners produced jointly and which can therefore be only jointly reproduced, by a combined effort. The logical method to re-enact an episode in the life of a couple is psychodrama. However great a genius of perception one partner may be, 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 draw their inspiration and knowledge.
The logical method of such re-enactment a deux is psychodrama.
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
I’m delighted to have plans and dates for a bunch of psychodrama events next year. I hope you will find something of interest!
Fri, 13 – Sun, 15 April
Fri, 31 August – Sun, 2 September
Experience psychodrama for your personal development!
Writing Retreat Mt Lyford – for Psychodrama Trainees
Fri, 25 – Sun 27 May
Writing is an essential part of psychodrama training.
Working With Couples – Professional Development – Christchurch
Christchurch Fri, 6 – Sun, 8 July 2018
This workshop will enrich your work with couples. Also a good way to get started.
I recall a social work teacher I had saying the main purpose of the training was to develop the professional identity of a social worker. I liked that idea. Especially once I saw that as a social worker I embraced a set of values, a body of literature and a community of practice. We valued a social systemic rather than individual approach, this meant seeing the world in quite a different way to, say doctors whose only systems were the human biological ones, who could make individual diagnosis but not social ones. Even better it distinguished us from psychologists, who adapted the medical model to the psyche, enviously creating a system of diagnosis based on the medical one.
Maybe it was a good thing at the time. There were variations on the theme, there were Christian social workers who I did not identify with and radical social workers who I did identify with. This blurred the edge between personal and professional identities. My family was not strong on identity. Atheist/Agnostic Dutch/Australian, humanist left rather than right. I must have craved a more defined identity as my first forage into this realm was to be able to say ‘I am a bushwalker”. In Sydney at the time, for me it had an almost religious existential meaning. Value words included intrepid, nature, hard, travelling light. It distinguished us from mere tourists, and I’m sure there are still people around who are part of that circle, and have let it define them to some degree. Now, 56 years later I retain some of these values. I trained first as a teacher but did no embraced the identity. Bushwalker softly morphed to mountaineer – but I saw it as an extension of my BW ID. Traveller was another extension I aimed to embrace, Peter Pinney style (See my blog post) but I was too much of a settler.
Philosopher, hippie, marxist were all on the journey. Now I’m writing a paper: “Being a Psychodramatist.” I don’t think I’ve landed in a fixed place. Identifying with groups and activities is one thing, belonging to a community is another, being conversant with a philosophy of life… All ok and maybe steps in the developmental pathway. As a trainer in psychodrama I want trainees to become psychodramatists, not just learn some techniques. To that end it is good to hold fast to a tradition and to embrace it. Not to cling to it, not to hide behind it. And the value in this particular tradition is that it is aware that the tradition is a conserve and that from a conserve we warm up to spontaneity and creativity. That is – from the old to the new.
Lynette Clayton wrote about the personality emerging from the roles we enact. Maybe it is also right to say that it emerges from the identities we embrace. Hmmm maybe the identities are things we discover in our selves, and then embrace. Over identification with a philosophy or group is a form of narrow mindedness, yet to be forever eclectic and skeptical is just confusing.
We need to develop an ego, personality, self, identity – all words, all useful especially in their respective philosophies. And there are stages of life for each.
In Erikson’s scheme
“The teenager must achieve identity in occupation, gender roles, politics, and, in some cultures, religion.”
Thankfully he adds somewhere that this phase can go on for many years. And it is also clear that in his scheme there are many identities, professional being just one of them.
I think I developed a stable professional identity, did not get there till well into my 30s though. I see it as a cluster: psychodramatist, psychotherapist, counsellor, philosopher. Within that identity there is a lot of scope as well:
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
“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:
Frightened, abandoned orphan
Anxious and suspicious fantasiser
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.
Frightened, abandoned orphan
Anxious and suspicious fantasiser
Art Audience Muse
Absent Parent, Threatening bully
Challenging person or situation
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.
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.
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.
Just added this to my Writing page.
Doubling, Spontaneity, Creativity and Encounter (docx) — Out of date (Saturday, 7 May, 2016)
Now working on a draft here in Google Docs
This is an article I’ve been working on since I presented something along these lines at 2014 AANZPA conference. Its about the value of doubling what is adequate in the protagonist. Doubling is not coaching, but assisting the protagonist to say what is in them in a way that it can be heard.
It takes further the ideas I came away with from the Dan Wile workshop. He says something like this: I assist the couple to heave the conversation they would have if they were not fighting.
See additional notes from 6 October 2012 Zerka Moreno on Doubling and Tele