An Interview with Zerka Moreno, TEP
Psychodrama & Life with J.L. Moreno
In my exploration of Moreno’s ideas on Methodology I have come across Action Research. Kurt Lewin’s name comes up again. I recall he had something else that was *like* Moreno, but not quite? Yes, Force Field analysis, (see next post). I wonder how connected it all is, and how useful? Or if it is important to see the specific Moreno aspects that might be overlooked? I imagine the ideas of wap and Maximum Voluntary participation might not be present. Will check out, and would be interested in comments from people who know!
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Action research is a reflective process of progressive problem solving led by individuals working with others in teams or as part of a “community of practice” to improve the way they address issues and solve problems. Action research can also be undertaken by larger organizations or institutions, assisted or guided by professional researchers, with the aim of improving their strategies, practices, and knowledge of the environments within which they practice.
Kurt Lewin, then a professor at MIT, first coined the term “action research” in about 1944, and it appears in his 1946 paper “Action Research and Minority Problems”. In that paper, he described action research as “a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action and research leading to social action” that uses “a spiral of steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action, and fact-finding about the result of the action”.
I am interested to get hold of the article by Philip Carter
And one by J Guntz
There are two really crucial ideas that are relatively new in the therapy field, that anyone in a relationship needs to know. They make up the the systemic, relational paradigm shift that for all its value, and having been around for decades, could be missed! To miss it would be like missing out the penicillin and micro-organism knowledge if you had an infection when that was just taking hold a ninety years ago. To embrace this relational paradigm is more important than the exact approach one uses, though it needs to be a relational one. Imago, Psychodrama, Non Violent Communication and many other approaches are systemic and relational, or at least not actively opposed.
One is that the right here, now, in the relationship is the solution to the relationship problem. How to get there might be painful and hard, you will need to learn skills, make effort, but individual therapy or leaving, or searching for a better mate has all those problems and will lead to similar relationship problems, or to no relationship at all.
The second is that it takes only one person in the relationship to commit to really working on it. In fact the ability or desire to take that role is never even and equal, so it is never quite fair.
These ideas seem straight forward to me now, but they fly in the face of much more prevalent notions, ones I was actively taught, and took on board as wisdom, and have had to unlearn: That it is good to sort yourself out before you have a relationship, and that each person needs to commit to doing their share, that it is 50/50.
Al Turtle puts all these things very well. Great to find his site today.
I have linked to this quote before, I just noticed it again & saw it in a new light. In relationship to Moreno’s Canon of Creativity. I think the word “attention” is wonderful. Eastern traditions use attention in meditation, but what is attention? A Buddhist friend of mine said it is simply love. It is a mystery alright! I can put my attention where I will! Attention is intentional. Right now it is on the blinking cursor. A moment later on the song playing on the radio downstairs.
Attention & blessing are all forms of warm-up?
Compare this from with the passage below from an essay I have that will be in the next Psychodrama journal. Michael Meade:
What happens if they’re not shown the recognition of that seed?
Now, we’re back to death. William Blake said that the garden of the soul is already planted and is waiting for the water of life. Call it the water of attention. There are innate ideas, dreams, stories, buried in people. When we don’t water those seeds, culture loses ideas. It loses imagination. It loses the capacity to dream itself forward. I mean that literally.
What happens to someone whose innate core cannot grow?
The “second nature” of a person (the innate capacities) needs two kinds of attention. The person has to attend to it themselves. It also needs the other kind of attention which used to be called a blessing, the attention, especially from someone who’s respected, someone who says, “I saw that. I heard that. I see the seed of life you’re coming from.” If these two kinds of attention don’t happen, a kind of death is occurring, a withering.
From my essay, with a quote from Moreno:
“The universe is infinite creativity.” – Moreno
Moreno envisaged creativity as integral to the universe. Humans have creativity by virtue of being born in the universe and thus creativity itself lives within us. Yet not all of us are able to tap into our creative potential. What is the difference between those who create successfully and those who do not?
“What separates them is the spontaneity which, in the successful cases, enables the carriers to take full command of their resources, whereas the failures are at a loss with all their treasures; they suffer from deficiencies in their warming-up process. Creativity without spontaneity becomes lifeless; its living intensity increases and decreases in proportion to the amount of spontaneity in which it partakes. Spontaneity without creativity is empty and runs abortive. Spontaneity and creativity are thus categories of a different order; creativity belongs to the categories of substance — it is the arch substance — spontaneity to the categories of catalyzer — it is the arch catalyzer.”
This quotation is drawn from Who Shall Survive, where Moreno describes the Canon of Creativity. This quotation, drawn from Who Shall Survive, describes the Canon of Creativity. I interpret Moreno’s Canon as a heritage of paths to creativity; on the one hand, our innate vitality and ability to be spontaneous beings and on the other, our artifacts, all that we have made, the tools we use, our alphabet, language and literature, all the items conserved in the culture. The inherited past including art works and treasures remain dull and dead until we come to them with spontaneity. Our cultural items cannot influence our creativity until we bring them back to life. We are automatons unless we are co-creators.
I have just updated my psychotherapy online page. Just a tweak here or there, but it is amazing how I want to change it just a little every few months.
I added the words: dream, Jung, Psychodrama and Moreno to my first page. These words sum up my special interests and skill, so the should be there!
Makes sense, in that the work of Moreno is about the whole person, thoughts, feelings and action, the individual, the collective, the practical, the relational and the cosmic.
In the psychotherapy I do it is useful to move along the continuum of role training on the one hand and the psychological roles and the psychodynamic aspects that Moreno called the psychodramatic.
This is a different page than the one that appears under Psychotherapy, which is also useful. This is a Wikipedia “Category” and it shows well how Psychotherapy is just that. Psychotherapy is a category like “tree” then there are many species some very different from others. In New Zealand we have one organization that covers all the various modalities, this is rather unusual in the world, even though there is also a World Council for Psychotherapy WCP (A trip to Beijing in 2008 could be a good thing to do!).
While there are irreconcilable world views behind some of the modalities, they reflect the complexity of the mind & soul. No one modality can really capture it all. My own training was in Psychodrama – which has its strengths but is essentially a group method. My one-to-one work is informed also by my training as a Social Worker and through my experience of personal Jungian Analysis.
A short article: Receiving Sexual Pleasure by Sylvia Rosenfeld, LCSW, again has that Imago reference to “connected knowing”:
The goal of Imago Relationship Therapy is to create the conditions in a relationship that will encourage positive change in partners. The right environment retrains the brain. The behavioral component of sex therapy does this as well. The integration of both therapies can help a couple move from “separate” to “connected” knowing. Dialogue and behavioral assignments, especially sensate focus, create the continual repetition, through words and actions that translate what their “brains” know to what their “hearts” know as well.
I just had a thought that this might be what Psychodramatists call “Role-Reversal” in a sense couples become more empathic as they dialogue, to the point where they have a knowing of each other that goes beyond empathy, they know so many of the dots that it is easy to fill in all the dots (if you get my drift). I can grasp these things more when I can relate them to my primary modality, that is where I learnt things in a visceral way. In Psychodrama the role reversal is enacted where people literally change places and enact the role that the other had. It is an important technique. However it is also used as a way of speaking about an ability people have to step into the shoes of the other. Again to mix modalities, someone with a narcissitic wound can’t role revers – that is the same wound. It is also one of the latest stages of child development, and builds on other skills such as mirroring.
I heard about how in the grieving process for a miscarriage the parent role-reversed with the spirit of the child. They had named the unborn baby Martha. In the role reversal the child revealed many feelings and some gratitude for its brief in utero time on earth. She also made it clear that she did not like the name Martha & would they please change it. What sort of knowing is that!