Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:

Social-Depth Psychology (Sociometry)

“Make New Friends but Keep the Old”

I used to sing the above as a simple song, a round, in fact. A camp song:    Make new friends, but keep the old:    One is silver and the other gold. Is it true anymore? I wondered recently. Or does it depend on reciprocity. When I learned this little tune, I had no […]

“Nonverbal Awareness”

What else can I call the mental alertness to one’s own nonverbal behavior. There are those who are attentive to their appearance regarding make-up, hair-do, clothes, but few people pay attention to the way they behave: Check out posture, eye angle, length of eye contact, tendency to smile or frown, etc. Let it be a […]


Ah, new words. This one, in an article online: My comment: seeking connectedness through twitter and so forth: It’s not a religion. It’s just the latest intoxicant. Think of it, having followers! wow! Not that it doesn’t have a function. I acknowledge this: But now the electronic media has figured out a way to get […]

A Fuzzy Tale

One of my favorite anecdotes is “A Fuzzy Tale,” written by Dr. Claude Steiner, an advocate for Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis (in the 1970s). Part of that theory overlaps with how I think about things and vivifies Berne’s theory of giving and getting “strokes.” This is a wonderful story, first written in the 1970s, about […]

Action Explorations or Psychodrama as Research

Although “research” tends to be associated with a more restrictive process—attempting to control many variables in order to see if varying one makes a difference—this approach applies more to only certain kinds of research—kinds that tend to be associated with things, material objects, chemistry, physics, biology. But if we recognize the word is more a […]

Alternative Sexualities

People with alternative sexualities are demanding recognition! I’m fairly straight but not stuffy, and some friends are letting me know that the lid is off regarding sexuality. For instance, I’ve been told that, in general, "sex" refers to the biological (genetic, genital) differences between males and females, while  "gender" refers to the role of a […]

Applying Moreno’s Ideals More Widely

Psychodrama has evolved, and it now has a number of “cousins,” including:    – theater artists, actors and directors who realize that improvisation has its own aesthetic, and beyond that, practical applications beyond the goal of entertainment—i.e., the applied improvisation network    – drama therapists who emphasize the healing power of creating something aesthetically compelling […]


People are attracted to each other. There are scores of cues, and other factors. Does this person remind me of a favorite parent or relative that I bonded with? Or perhaps seems like the opposite of one that I despised? There are other factors, too, such as the degree to which I bought into or […]

Attraction Dynamics

A friend asked me—he having studied entomology— “Pheremones play a role in attracting males and females in some animals, it seems. How much attraction is there for people at this level and does it override thought processes when two people meet and form a first impression?    I responded: Great question. We so don’t know! […]

Can Psychology Be “Researched”?

In considering what types of psychotherapy work, I become aware of the sheer multiplicity of variables. I suspect this problem is perhaps insurmountable, because what we’re talking about isn’t a machine, as in what kind of gasoline gets the best mileage, or energy, or whatever can be measured. Human behavior cannot be measured! Well, it […]

Change the World!

I confess that I think that if people could use just a few techniques developed originally in psychodrama, it would indeed change the world! Let’s not argue yet; consider first some of the following: Admit Ambivalence People will not only seem more authentic to others, but will be able to work with mixed feelings or […]

Changing Times

    We are living in a time when in fact a great deal of our culture is in transition on a great many issues. Here are some, as a warm-up to your thinking: – It used to be not only okay to smoke, but fashionable. – Keeping slaves was okay for much of history in […]

Consciousness-Raising through Sociometry

Sociometry is a method developed by Jacob L. Moreno, M.D. (1889-1974), a genius who made significant contributions to role theory in psychology, creativity theory, and other approaches in addition to inventing the methods of psychodrama and sociodrama. Sociometry is his name for an approach in which people are helped to become more explicitly conscious of […]


It is good to learn that you are different and it’s okay. We are all different in so many ways. This may seem obvious to some, but for many centuries being “different” was a terrible thing. People got burned alive for it! It’s obvious at one level that we’re all different in many ways, but […]

Enactment & Improvisation

While the psychodrama community seems to be knowledgeable about the history of psychodrama, it seems that many are hardly aware of the developments in related fields. The same might be said for people in those related fields: drama therapy; drama in education; improv in business and organizations; Theatre of the Oppressed; Bibliodrama; Spontaneity development in […]

I Enjoy You Like That

It is so special to find another person who can say that. Some folks have not had this pleasure, alas. And it can be so very different for different folks. Do others enjoy you for what you’d like to be enjoyed for?   – your preferences and style of travel   – going fishing and […]

I Get to Help

I am blessed because I have some sense of what I can do to help, what might be my own contribution: I have discovered ways to amplify our creative potential. Others have preceded me, it must be acknowledged (such as J. L. Moreno), and others as saying something like this, but no others that I […]

Integrating Seeming Opposites

How can we speak of people who combine interesting contrasts? Many people seem to integrate extravagant opposites. This also renders them a bit mysterious. It strikes a deep chord of ambiguity. Do we perceive them as one of us or one of them, friend or foe? The intuition of friend evokes instincts of similarity with […]

Maps of Identity

These figures illustrate some elements of “social depth psychology.” People aren’t at all individuals in the sense of being absolutely non-divided; there is indeed a potential for more or less coordination, but on the whole, people play many roles and entertain largely different sets of attitudes and aspects of their personalities in each role. So […]

Mind as a Nexus of Role Involvements

This illustration notes that the human mind is both individual and collective. The self is largely an illusion, as I write about on my website, an aggregate experience. But there is a degree of self-willed activity that arises from this illusion, an intention, and this intention, associated with taking responsibility, accounts for a great deal […]


A favorite theme in my life at present is the idea that certain conceptual complexes are basically tools, and, specifically, tools for the mind. The alphabet, Roberts’ Rules of Order, and other non-hardware procedures are tools too. There are major inventions, supporting inventions, and then techniques (mind-tools) for using these. Writing and reading are kinds […]

Moreno’s Broader Vision

One of my many roles is that of trying to articulate and extend the work of Dr. Jacob L. Moreno, a physician who is best known for inventing psychodrama, although he did so much more. As Moreno wrote in the opening lines to what he called his Magnum Opus—a Latin phrase for “greatest work”—, i.e, […]

Not Therapy: Support!

People need people. J. L. Moreno, who is best known as a pioneer of psychodrama, really promoted people helping people. His notion of group therapy didn’t require fancy training of the group leader. For almost twenty-five years his journal—mainly concerning psychodrama—was titled Group Psychotherapy, and when he introduced someone to his groups, he called them […]

Notes on Transference and Sociometry

Freud was right that often we react to some people the way we reacted to other people who had some rough similarity. It’s simple generalization. Freud called it transference. But over time it all becomes more complex: What if the other person smiles at us instead of frowns? We may be more likely to be […]

On the Ant-Path

Here we are, two ants Meeting on an ant-path.    Antennas touch. Hey, I know you!    You’re part of OUR nest!. (It’s amazing how sensitive antennas are.)     You’re part of US!     (There’s a definite mild kick-thrill       in of us being together, even for a moment.           Wow! US!) (In another dimension […]