Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:

Psychodrama

“Clues of Trust and Common Values”

A recently-published book by Prof. Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading in England, is titled Wired for Culture: origins of the human social mind (London and New York: W. W. Norton, 2012). I was struck by his conclusion: “The key (to the message of this book) is to provide or somehow […]

“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 […]

“Trauma”

This has become a bit of a catch-word: It catches you. It says, “This was really painful for the client.” But I confess that I rather wince with the term, as if all psychopathology was due to trauma and no one’s responsible for anything. I’m vulnerable in speaking up because of course some people are […]

“Vivification”

Here’s a term I just coined for vivifying what’s going on, highlighting it in a somewhat dramatic fashion. There is a spectrum of liveliness that one can bring to an experience. Drama does this, but, alas, the word “drama” tends to imply over-dramatization. Ideally, we should be aware that we can bring more or less […]

A Psychodramatic Story

(This is actually my condensation of an old Hasidic Jewish story attributed to the great story-teller and mystic, Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav, who was active in the first third of the 19th Century in what is now Byelorus, but was then the "Pale of Permitted Jewish Settlement" west of Moscow. I used this as an […]

Action Explorations

This is my term for a class of activities that used to be lumped with drama, psychodrama, applied drama—e.g., my anthology on Interactive & Improvisational Drama. I’ve changed my mind, though—I think it’s better to call this category “action explorations”—or, as an alternative, “exploratory enactments.” I am re-writing my two major books on psychodrama, updating […]

Action Explorations Explained

It seems that psychodrama has two roles in modern culture: (1) psychodrama may be used as “therapy,” or (2) it may be used quite apart from therapy, to serve other goals of consciousness-raising. In business, education, personal development, role training in industry, for conflict-resolution, play, and so forth, what I call “action explorations” applies psychodramatic […]

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 […]

Action Explorations: A New Category

I’m proposing a new category for thinking about and addressing collective challenges: “action explorations.” This term includes a variety of approaches that have in common the properties of enactment, improvisation, role, and story. One of the approaches within this category is psychodrama, but most dictionaries and many professionals think of this approach mainly as a […]

Action in Education, Psychotherapy, and Life

The emphasis here is on physical enactment, direct encounter, as a way of being more involved than just talking about a topic. Admittedly, talking about is better than stifling, avoiding talking, avoiding being conscious at all. But action extends the process, makes it more holistic. One feels oneself more present and involved. Dr. Jacob L. […]

An Exercise of Interpersonal Power

Here’s a way to discover how powerful you can be: Think of someone you know; and then, having thus thought, call that person and say, “Hi, I was thinking about you.” For a little extra credit, when you do think of that person, focus on some little thing they did, or that you did together, […]

Applied Drama: An Open Letter

There is a new field emerging that might best be called “Applied Drama” or “Applied Theatre,” but it doesn’t really know it yet. It’s a term for a wide variety of endeavors that use drama to promote personal and group consciousness. There are a few academic departments that use terms like these, but it still […]

Applied Improv and Drama

There’s a message / blog I posted on a new connection: The Applied Improvisation Network.  You can see it halfway down. It turns out there are over a thousand people so far exploring ways improvisation might be applied in a wide range of situations. Hurray! I’m hoping to find out more about this and perhaps […]

Applied Improvisation Berlin Conference

The Applied Improvisation Network is meeting in Berlin soon. The schedule of events suggests some of the meaty things they’re talking about. Note that the concepts of enactment, improvisation, and creative collaboration are being carried on with vigorously by thousands of professionals internationally. Most are theatre comedy improvisers seeking other sources of income and draw […]

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 […]

Attraction

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! […]

Bringing Forth Others

It occurred to me that the art of bringing forth others’ creativity and fullness has become part of the role definition of many types of people-helpers—including parents, managers, teachers, spiritual directors and counselors of every type, personal coaches, etc. In the past, the job was simpler: For parents, get kids raised, fed, launched. For most […]

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 […]

Collaborative Creativity through Psychodrama

The drawing below represents my vision of the way people can join in co-creating a more loving and joyous universe. Although two people are shown, and the symbol of encounter is between them, really any number can co-create. They are different—they offer their own angles on whatever is in formation. There is a playful liberation […]

Combating Stereotypes About Psychodrama

The term is being misused! The word, “psychodrama” is applied by journalists to describe any sort of emotionally-laded complex situation. Actually, it’s a method for problem-solving that involves improvised role playing. People play mainly themselves or others in various of their own life situations. The goal is not to entertain any audience, but rather as […]

Creativity Development

Using action explorations are a tool for aiding in creativity development. It may or may not have some therapeutic applications for those who have even a moderate degree of initiative. Action explorations can or may help to meet problems or predicaments in a new way. We’re offering empowerment, liberation, in a world where I don’t […]

Creativity Enhancement

I’m turning away from psychodrama as therapy and more towards "creativity enhancement.” That is to say, I’m turning more towards the use of psychodrama in non-therapeutic environments! I call this shift “action exploration,” rather than ‘psychodrama’ because it is not really “psycho” only, but also “socio”; it is often not dramatic in the sense that […]

Creativity Enhancement

Action Explorations are really just using psychodramatic methods and related approaches as tools for enhancing creativity, in business, community-building, education, even developing spirituality. Applied beyond the context of psychotherapy, though, I prefer using the term “action explorations.” In other fields, creativity itself  is being recognized as a valuable dynamic in producing ever more useful innovations. […]

Creativity Stimulation

There’s a new technology that derives from drama and theatre, and more particularly improvised theatre. Its goal is creativity stimulation. We’ve been building creativity for a few centuries, and in the last few generations promoting creativity itself has become a goal. Now we have a technology for it:   1. Get people together sharing and […]