Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

About Me (Adam Blatner)

Originally posted on January 11, 2011

I play many roles. My more official role that is gradually fading, but not completely, is that of physician who specialized in psychiatry. Not that I was ever mainline, but neither was I very maverick—sort of in-between. I was enough mainline to serve on the faculty of a mainstream medical school in their departments of psychiatry and child psychiatry (University of Louisville, 1987-1994), and enough to be granted the status of Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association; but still I proceeded along the paths of the art of psychotherapy and more particularly, that approach that included action and self-expression rather than just talk therapy—i.e., psychodrama—about which I wrote two widely-used books. I also developed an interest in the nature of play, especially with adults, and continue to think about that frontier, as wholesome modes of recreation and imagination-development are sorely needed nowadays.

Another role that is still unfolding is as a philosopher, thinking about how depth psychology, spirituality, current worldview, and other trends are finding new and creative ways to be integrated. The philosophy of creativity derives in part from the ideas of the fellow who first invented psychodrama—Dr. Jacob L. Moreno (1889-1974), but also from others such as the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) and Charles Hartshorne (1897-2000) —the latter whom I was privileged to know in his elder years. Other influences in this mix have included some of the wisdom stories of the Hasidic Jews and Islamic Sufis, a variety of spiritual studies, etc.  The cultural aspects of religion was my major at the University of California at Berkeley from 1955-1959 before I entered medical school, and continued to be of interest. While not affiliated with any particular religion, the nature of spirituality has always intrigued me.

A third role is more playful, laced with fantasy and imagery, and connected also with an informal avocation of cartooning, influenced by comic books and taken into more science-fiction directions in some ways. Veering sometimes towards the silly and at other times towards a playful integration of metaphysical notions, I’ve found that it generates a way to present some of my far-out speculations, some of which I take more seriously, others are framed in a more light-hearted fashion.

A fourth role is as a proponent of a number of tools I learned while I wrote about psychodrama: These techniques and concepts go far beyond the medical model and have applications in education, business, social action, community building, recreation, and other settings—and, indeed, as they are refined and adapted to the task, offer some promise to help in the general challenge of consciousness evolution. (Indeed, in 2007 I edited an anthology about the applications of improvisational and interactive drama.)  So this remains another mission that gives my life extra juice and meaning.

A fifth role is as one who deeply enjoys and celebrates life, through participation in our community’s chorus, several types of dancing groups, fitness group and walks, romantic with my wife, keeping up good relations with extended family, chats with friends, and so forth.

A sixth role is more ambiguous—it deals with trying to keep up with a changing world, with electronic media, such as this blog—and what it means to have a blog and a couple of websites —; in realizing I can’t keep up with the information explosion, and withdrawing from television, subscriptions to newspapers and magazines, and so forth. This is still in process, because at the library I pick up used newsmagazines—and in general enjoy reading and discovering new arenas.

A seventh role involves my giving lectures to our local lifelong learning program—which I helped found in late 1997—. Summer single lectures and often twice a year six-lecture series on some topic ranging from practical psychology to aspects of history or philosophy. I learn as much if not more in preparing for these classes as I teach. So that’s fun, too.  (I’ve posted some of the more recent lectures on my website.)

An eighth role is through this blog and my website(s) as an essayist, a writer of papers. This fits with my emerging role as philosopher, but also draws on or offers a channel for expression of the other roles. I’m beginning to imagine this as a kind of art form, coordinating pictures, cartoons, and words, and it’s an unfolding form, with new technologies and other developments opening new possibilities. I may yet return to book-writing, as I’m revising or expanding on some old books or monographs I’ve done.

I’ve found that folks who know me in one or two of these roles may not know much about my involvement in the others. It’s all right, though, because we all select those roles we can better resonate with, and recognizing this dynamic of selectivity is part of my interest in applied social psychology—and derives also from another branch of the aforementioned work of Moreno.

For those who want to know more about the details of my background, see my biographical summary on my website.    For those who want to look into my more playful side, there are other links branching off from the bottom of that webpage.

Being self-disclosing, but no expectations that you notice, there are other links to the presentations I’ve made at national or international conferences, locally, and also to the articles I’ve had published in books and journals.

I’ve probably forgotten some other dimensions, but they’ll emerge in time. I enjoy thought-provoking questions as opportunities to re-think ideas. As long as emails are occasional, I’ll enjoy responding.

2 Responses to “About Me (Adam Blatner)”

  • Terry Teaters says:

    Just as you said, I did not know about some of those other interests in you life. Thanks for sharing them. Sufism, philosophy, and psychodrama are all dear to me as well.

  • maureen richards says:

    Many years ago I clipped my favorite Peanuts cartoon from the paper. It was on my frig for years…but, subsequently it disappeared.
    Every now and then I do a keyword search on goggle.
    Today – Eureka.
    On your website I found Lucy, mouth wide open and shrieking as though she has 24 hours to live!
    Such a perfect reaction to the admonition to live as though today is the last day of your life!
    Thank you

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