Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:

Social-Depth Psychology (Sociometry)

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, […]

Non-Psychotherapeutic Applications of Psychodrama

Moreno not only developed psychodrama as therapy, but the method had many non-therapeutic, non-medical-model applications, in schools, churches, busi=nesses, etc. I’ve written about several of these. I’ve commenced working on an anthology of such non-psychotherapeutic applications, thinking about titles—Action Methods, Reality Practice, Enhanced Simulations, etc. Moreno him -self supported applications of psychodrama in education and […]

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 […]

Oppression, Gross & Subtle

I have just given a series of talks on oppression, my last one being posted on my website. Certainly the theme is a relevant challenge in our world today. Though I acknowledge grosser forms, my focus was on more subtle types. We’ve had a revolution of rising expectations, more and more sub-groups identifying and rebelling […]

Postmodernism Skewered

Bill Watterson, who wrote and illustrated the cartoon strip Calvin & Hobbs, noted that language itself can be obscure, and those who write about postmodernism are really good at being bad in this way. For example: Actually, I rather welcome many of the principles of postmodernism, but those who write in this genre often appeal […]

Problems with Social Depth Psychology

To begin with, let’s clarify the terminology. Sociometry has been used in the field of psychodrama to describe, in a more narrow sense, the method, mainly involving making explicit those preferences that are generally not explicit. In a larger sense, the word talks about all the dynamics involved in this process, and I think it […]

Psychodrama Resources

Just to spread the word: the Executive Committee of the Australia & Aotearoa-New Zealand Psychodrama Association recently decided that in line with our strategic priority that psychodrama be valued and more widely known, all AANZPA journal articles be available for free general access online.  All Journal articles are now publicly available from the AANZPA website. […]

Psychology’s Expanded Scope

The psyche is influenced by and in turn influences many levels of human organization:   – the psycho-somatic domain, the  mind-body;   – the intra-psychic realm, which contain different parts of the mind, internalized complexes, sometimes conflicting, sometimes supporting each other;   – the interpersonal field, and this may be slightly to very different depending […]

Psychotherapy (?)

Let’s ignore this caricature of psychoanalysis. (Really, only a very tiny fraction of psychotherapists work this way.) I included this comic strip to illustrate the idea that many people seeking “help” really want a simple answer that liberates them from any self-doubt. Their capacity to call themselves into question—their inclination to do so—is minimal. This […]

Reconsidering “Sociatry”

Merriam-Webster online:  group psychotherapy through the use of sociometric techniques (as psychodrama or sociodrama) Urban Dictionary: as psychiatry is healing of the mind (actually, ‘psyche’ means ‘soul’), pediatrics is the branch of medical practice devoted to children, and geriatrics that devoted to the aged, so SOCIATRY is the healing of society Wikipedia under the topic […]

Reflections on Reunions (Part 1)

A week ago I attended my wife’s 50th high-school reunion; before that, in April, my 50th medical school reunion; before that a family-get-together around a rite of passage of a cousin-twice-removed. So it has had me thinking: What is the deep attraction of reunions? I sensed that it was important, but it also was a […]

Reflections on Sociometry

I don’t think it can be precise, because there are way too many variables involved—many of them still mysterious. That should not stop it from being investigated, any more than our preliminary knowledge of electricity should have stopped the many experiments in the early 19th century. It cannot be precise because there are levels beyond […]

Role Theory

Role Theory is a user-friendly language for psychology. It should be taught when people are taught beginning psychology. People operate in learning whole clumps of things—“Gestalt” is the term use in German. The clump or Gestalt of human psychosocial behavior is the role. Although the role concept derives from the theatre—it’s a “dramaturgical” view of […]

Roots, Affiliations, and the Sense of Self

On my website I wrote about how the sense of self is an aggregate illusion, a feeling and complex of images that arise out of a goodly number of sources. Now I’ve realized that equally that our affiliations and identifications overlap with the categories of our roots and our preferred social networks. They are invisible […]

Slow It Down a Little

Too much too fast too intense… whoa! So I was intrigued by the mention by a friend of a “slow living” conference next early summer. They cover so many facets but I didn’t see psychology. I’ve been pondering SDP (social-depth psychology), the deeper resonances in the psyche of that part of the mind that is […]

Social Depth Psychology-Introduction

I realized that there’s no way I can offer a treatise about this field—it’s too vast and complex. The best I can do is to begin to talk about it, to point out that there are many phenomena and dynamics that operate in a realm between individual psychology—which has been relatively well covered by thousands […]

Social Embedded-ness

I’ve been thinking about this phenomenon, how people are caught up in an invisible matrix of influences. I recently read an article in the April, 2014 Discovery Magazine about how depth psychology and neurophysiology are being brought together, and I am in favor of integrations. (Actually, they were talking about psychoanalysis, but I find that […]

Social Inclusiveness

It occurred to me that another function of psychodrama is social validation.. We are social beings who are unconsciously asking, “Do you see me? I exist. Does anyone care? Does anyone find me interesting? Am I in any way a part of the whole?” A colleague in Italy wrote that in a sense, the field […]

Social Sensitivity (or its lack)

Many qualities are enjoyed or missed by various people according to the varying distribution of talents. Howard Gardner, a psychologist, in 1983  wrote about eight that he identified in his book, Frames of Mind. One of these, interpersonal intelligence, is the focus here. My career in part is a healing of the wound, a compensation […]

Social-Depth Psychology

J. L. Moreno developed a method called sociometry that involved more systematically asking people about their interpersonal preferences according to specified criteria. Diagramming the responses brings into view the intangible matrix of the social field. It operates in a way analogous to what a microscope does. But more, the social field thus exposed deserves attention […]

Sociometry Beyond Human Cognitive Ability

Jacob L. Moreno perceived correctly that our social life operates not only in a matrix of relationships, but that these are most complex indeed. Relationships are established not at the level of thinking, but rather feeling, bonding, mysterious connections that include hormone releasing chemicals in the blood and their impact on brain nerve cells. Relationships […]