The unconscious is a slippery idea by its very nature, if we become gradually more aware of our own dynamics, more conscious then we realise that there was stuff going on unconsciously before. I recall the day, for example, when I realised my mountaineering was associated with escape from social difficulty, originally in the family. Moreno talks of the unconscious all the time, though he belittles the idea occasionally and claims he surpassed it with the notion of warm up.

“The unconscious lives on as a by product of the warming up process.” Who Shall Survive? page liv.

“The antiquated couch was transformed into a multi-dimensional stage, giving space and freedom for spontaneity, freedom for the body and for bodily contact, freedom of movement, action and interaction. Free association was replaced by psychodramatic production and audience participation, by action dynamics and dynamics of the groups and masses.

❊ the couch is in the stage
❊ sexuality is in spontaneity
❊ the unconscious is in the warm up
❊ transference is in the tele


With these changes in the research and therapeutic operation the framework of psychoanalytic concepts, sexuality, unconscious, transference, resistance and sublimation was replaced by a new, psychodramatic and sociodynamic set of concepts, the spontaneity, the warming up process, the tele, the interaction dynamics and the creativity. These three transformations in vehicle, form and concept, however, transcended but did not eliminate the useful part of the psychoanalytic contribution. The couch is still in the stage – which is like a multiple of couches of many dimensions, vertical, horizontal and depth – sexuality is still in spontaneity, the unconscious is still the warming up process, transference is still in the tele; there is one phenomenon, productivity-creativity, for which psychoanalysis has given us no counterpart.” Who Shall Survive? page 120

❊ productivity-creativity


In Psychodrama Volume 1 Moreno is quite happy to use the word unconscious again, especially when seen as co created in what he terms “intimate ensembles”:

See the full quote here

Therapy can make the unconscious conscious. In the same way, in couple therapy the repeating patterns the couple enact are revealed. The formerly unconscious becomes conscious. For example, a classic role description used in Imago therapy is the hailstorm and the turtle. The more one partner storms the more the other hides in their shell. Such dynamics are well understood by therapists but the couple may be totally oblivious to this co-created dynamic. To really see it in action and to reverse that cycle both parties need to be present.

Transference and Tele: Intro

In what some might call synchronicity I came across Mesmer’s (W) animal magnetism in two separate contexts today.

Firstly, in “Transference, Countertransference And Tele: Their Relation To Group Research And Group Psychotherapy [Word Doc] in Psychodrama Vol II by J.L. Moreno and then again in:

A podcasted radio program from WNYC on the Placebo effect.

Both these sources tie in with much of what I am writing about in this blog on the science of relationships, and specifically a current project on “parallel process” in supervision. It got me interested again in what Moreno calls tele. It is a word that will be with me, like it or not while I am involved with psychodrama (like the word psychodrama itself). I don’t like the word “tele” much, it seems to confuse everyone including me. The aim of this post(s) is to investigate tele, especially in relationship to, as in the title of Moreno’s lecture, to group research and group psychotherapy. I thought I’d make a summary of Moreno’s 1957 lecture chapter, and make responses.

Note: I continue to edit these posts, they are a work in progress for now, not really be good blogging practice. If anyone comments or there are track backs, I will not change what I wrote so conversations make sense.

I’ll start with quoting the Intro in full, make some comments and do more posts later, a series: Transference and Tele (tag).

Continue reading “Transference and Tele: Intro”

Define: projection

Interestingly this one word generated some profound definitions:

Definitions of projection on the Web:

(psychiatry) a defense mechanism by which your
own traits and emotions are attributed to someone else

a kind of unconscious identification with the
object (participation mystique). All projections cause
counter-projections; that and being spellbound into living out the
projection are very close to M. Klein’s “projective identification.”
There are personal and collective projections. National or global
crises feed collective projections.

the fundamental law of mind: projection makes
perception — what we see inwardly determines what we see outside our
minds. w-m: reinforces guilt by displacing it onto someone else,
attacking it there and denying its presence in ourselves; an attempt to
shift responsibility for separation from ourselves to others. r-m: the
principle of extension, undoing guilt by allowing the forgiveness of
the Holy Spirit to be extended (projected) through us.

a defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, in
which what is emotionally unacceptable in the self is unconsciously
rejected and attributed (projected) to others projective tests
diagnostic tests in which the test taker “projects” some aspect of his
or her personality in response to the presentation of ambiguous test

In Psychoanalytic Theory, the defense mechanism
whereby we transfer or project our feelings about one person onto
another. Projective Techniques A generic term for the psychological
procedures used to measure personality which rely on ambiguous stimuli.