Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Psychodrama as a Root Form

Originally posted on August 2, 2017

Moreno’s method has been a major source for inspiration for drama therapy and a minor source for a number of related fields. For example, there is the Applied Improvisation Network (look it up)—mainly an organization formed by people who have been active in improvisational theatre. These folks have mainly been influenced by the work of Keith Johnstone and Viola Spolin. They do many things,  and we should try to build bridges with them. They consult with businesses a lot. Indeed, my sense of psychodrama is that used as “action explorations” it has more applications beyond the context of psychotherapy than in applications in treatment.

Another group that psychodrama associates with more or less is drama therapy, and again I hope we can build stronger bridges, and several people are members of both networks. Other groups yet include:  those doing bibliodrama for spiritual deepening; simulations in health-care—especially regarding people-skills; Playback Theatre; Theatre of the Oppressed; Performing the World—the Eastside Institute in New York City; and what other groups? I include all these approaches under the rubric, “Action Explorations.” They all integrate improvised dramatic enactment and group dynamics—a more supportive type that uses “yes-and” rather than “no-but” styles. To these they add a variety of other refinements, including imagination enhancers that are for the most part psychodramatic techniques by other names.

The ASGPP (American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama) has followed J.L. Moreno in getting somewhat locked into the medical model. It’s in their name—really a mis-nomer, because 95% of group psychotherapy is verbal, with no use of action methods. All this supports my efforts to broaden the scope of our efforts beyond the medical model.
Anyway, although applications in psychotherapy exist, Moreno also wrote about applications in business, community building, peacemaking, education, spiritual development, and so forth. Let’s hear about others of you who have crossed artificial boundaries!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *