Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:


Replacing “Psychodrama”with “Enhanced Simulations”

Although I’ve given part of my life to promoting Moreno’s psychodrama, I don’t really like the word itself.  “Psychodrama” as a word has several implications. It suggests drama, a word that originally mean something done, enacted, rather than talked about, but has come to mean something heavy, “dramatized” for effect, given visual and dialogue cues […]

Role Dynamics: A User-Friendly Language

One of the challenges today, it seems to me, is to bring practical psychology into the mainstream. I think one of the factors inhibiting this integration is the fact that much of psychology for 40 or more years was “tainted” by psychoanalytic jargon, which has a unfortunate tendency to pathologize—that is, to make ordinary behavior […]

Role Reversal

A e-colleague of mine, Barbara E. Johnson, wrote: “Over the years I’ve been introduced to variations of dream dialogue with symbols or characters within one’s dream and intra-psychic imagistic exploration, such as the writings of Carl Jung  and his writings on Active Imagination (developed 1913-1916) or Ira Progoff’s technique of Intensive Journaling (that he wrote […]

Role Reversal? 1962

Jules Feiffer was a popular cartoonist in the 1960s, one unafraid of at times commenting on the international situation. In one strip, Feiffer drew two negotiators, one from Russia and one from the United States, It was at the time of the Soviet Missile crisis. At a stalemate, one suggest putting themselves in each other’s […]

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 […]

Rounding Out Life

An acquaintance over email—a new type of relationship, please note—we’ve met in passing and he kindly accepts me into the periphery of his social network— remarked, “Glad to see you’re still going strong.” But I’m not going strong! I’m weakening! I’m wrapping things up. There’s a whole lot to wrap and it may take a […]

Scientism Criticized

Scientism is a term for applying the methods or criteria of science to assess whether something is true. It over-reaches, assuming that it is the only way to assess the usefulness of an idea. I think that scientism is wrong; while there are many things that merit being tested by science, there are other things […]

Shame: An Underestimated Dynamic

I think shame should be recognized as being as toxic as lead or scaring kids with descriptions of hell. And many medical conditions have a “final common pathway,” a certain rash, headache, fever. I think shame and guilt—they overlap in many ways, although some differences might be discerned—also generate a kind of shrinkage, a somato-psychic […]

Sharing Your Story

I’m suggesting some reasons why it would make sense to weave in a degree of group dynamics, sharing our stories—especially the stories of our spiritual journeys—, listening, offering support to each other, and even deepening this exploration together using certain psychodramatic methods. We were raised in an era before actual spiritual community. Some of us […]

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 […]

Sociometry Considered

“Sociometry” is J. L. Moreno’s term for evaluating many things about that which invisible—namely, our social network  Moreno observed something akin to x-rays, invisible social attractions and repulsions, and he proposed measuring this phenomenon. It turns out that many physical objects detected and theorized by science are hardly fully accounted for—like quarks and gluons. The […]

Sociometry in the Family

Comments on a cover article for Time Magazine of October 3, 2011—title: Mom liked you best* (*of course she would never admit it); (author: Mr. Jeffrey Kluger). It’s good that this theme is brought up again in an era in which social psychology is coming more into prominence, gradually competing with the trend towards focusing […]

Sociometry: An often-overlooked dimension of social psychology.

One of the more important dimensions of psychology operates not so much in the mind of the individual but rather in the interpersonal field. (This is perhaps why it was missed by the psychoanalysts.) One pioneer, Dr. Jacob L. Moreno, in the 1930s, noticed this dynamic and tried to find ways of measuring it. It’s […]

Some Other Foundations of Psychodrama

I just returned from attending the national conference of the American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama—the only national psychodrama association (though there are a number in other countries); and the first professional association (by about six months) devoted also to group psychotherapy. Two things impressed me: First, in my Acting-In, I describe a number […]

Sorting Yourself Out

This website posting is about the applications of sociometry, which is J. L. Moreno’s system for assessing the ways people sort themselves out, tend to form groupings of like-minded people. It’s way more complex than that—that’s the problem. We shift our loyalties depending on the criteria, the meaning of the grouping. There are some we […]

Standing in the Fire

In the Fall, 2011 issue of Dramascope: the e-newsletter of the National Association for Drama Therapy, a mini-essay of mine was published and I thought I’d put it up here, too.  What’s said here applies also to the challenge of leading a psychodrama.  Essentially (as an abstract of what I say), I note that one […]

Surgical Instruments

One of the ironies of my life is that although I ended up in psychiatry, as a kid I wanted to be a surgeon. I had no idea what was involved. But since I needed surgery (as a kid—and in pretty much cured me), this lovely article in LIFE magazine on February 11, 1946 was […]

That Old Time Throng

A theme came up on one of the list-serves I subscribe to: Where were the past meetings of our professional association? Part of me thought, “Who cares?” Another part said, “Some people: It serves a function.” After some musing, it occurred to me that it’s in a gut way pleasant to recall: There is a […]

The “Cultural Conserve”

That was the name of the category of whatever has been conserved, even for a time. It may be for a day, for a month; it may involve sports or war news. It man celebrate or virtually moan. I realize that I have been one of the guardians of the cultural conserve in the fields […]

The Breadth of Being-ness

On my website I’ve posted a more lengthy paper about how it would be better for us to imagine that our sense of self expand beyond the boundaries of our brain and body to include not only close relationships, but our participation in wider social networks. (Some of you may know that my career and […]

The Dramaturgical Model

I have been involved with psychodrama for 50 years and have written books about it. The idea of life-as-drama is intriguing. I have taught “psychological literacy” to senior adults and I realized another point about this: It’s time that practical psychology escapes from the clutches of academia! Practical psychology should be like reading and writing […]

The Mighty Power of the Subjunctive

I continue to think about why psychodrama works, and here’s my latest hypothesis: Humans have a developed neocortex which gives them the power to imagine “if”-type sentences. This in grammar is known as the subjunctive tense. (Linguistic analysis, including grammar, gives clues to different ways people think in using different languages.) Psychodrama brings into play […]

The Potential of Psychodrama

Psychodrama as a term has two meanings: It has become used as a general term for the whole of the work of its inventor, Dr. Jacob L. Moreno, and in that sense, it includes sociometry; spontaneity development; the use of improvisation in theatre; role theory in social psychology; the use of interactive group therapy and […]

The Psychology of Rapport: Sociometry

The Brafman brothers’ recent book, “Click,” and other writings speak to an extension of the growing popularity of applied social psychology and social intelligence, which is a sub-trend in contemporary psychology. Back in the 1930s, one of my teachers, Dr. J. L. Moreno, was writing about this dynamic. He became more well known for his […]

The Semantics of Psychodrama

I like psychodrama as a field, and also as a way of life. I’m working on an anthology of applications of the method beyond psychotherapy—title: Action Explorations. I don’t use psychodrama for these many applications, for the reasons mentioned below: First of all, I bow with respect to tradition: The word “psychodrama” and the creativity […]