Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Psychodrama, Positive Psychology, etc.

Originally posted on March 23, 2018

Psychodrama offers a less specific type of positive psychology. The actual founder of PP is Martin Seligman, of course, but Seligman built on a number of previous workers. Barbara Fredrickson is another pioneer in PP. Neither bothers acknow-ledging Moreno, but I think Moreno (who created psychodrama) should be thought of as a pioneer also, whether or not Seligman was aware of him.

Moreno was younger than Freud, but participated with him in the paradigm—a theory-building assumption—that only one description of the working of mind was accurate. In fact, many theories may describe the mind’s workings, just as many spiritual prophets may describe different facets of spiritual truth. (The idea that there is only one accurate description of reality needs to be questioned, as it re-flects the dimensional bias of our species. That is, we assume that all of reality is three-dimensional and open to our mind—which indeed may not be true!

Moreno developed psychodrama around a generation beyond Freud’s writing about psychoanalysis. They were both wrong in thinking that only one explanation is right; they were both right in recognizing that the implications were greater than the medical model.

Positive psychology also  runs deep, and it transcends psychotherapy. Moreno might be thought of as in part a positive psychologist. He wrote for example that the words desired for his epitaph (translation from the German)  “here lies the man who brought laughter and joy back into psychiatry. (Indeed, it’s on his tombstone in Vienna.)

Positive psychology may influence psychotherapy, but actually need not be used in treatment. It’s larger than that. For example, as part of the training of improvisational actors, it overlaps with yes-and.. as part of improvisation training.


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