Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Enhanced Simulations

Originally posted on May 7, 2018

I’ve been that rare breed of psychiatrist who did psychotherapy, but I’m growing away from that role. As I’ve done so, it recently became more clear to me that psychotherapy is really a lesser application of a broad field that I call "Enhanced Simulations"—although I may not put that phrase in the title of my next books, because it’s too close to "stimulations" and I don’t want to confuse the reader.

Also, my feelings have been bolstered that there’s a need for our psychodrama field to bridge over to drama therapy, applied improvisation, drama in education, theatre of the oppressed, and other action modalities.

Sure, psychodrama may be used for therapy—but I’ve become aware that many— and soon, most—applications of psychodrama will be non-therapeutic—as well as being renamed “Action Explorations”—the title of my next book! I’ve realized that these are applications of simulations (not “stimulations”) in work, acknowledging that many challenges are too complicated to plan.

Simulations are a technology that have evolved to address this. It cannot be perfect, but at this level of complexity nothing is. It’s enough to seek to reduce losses. So my latest idea is that many psychodrama groups are a sub-set of simulations, a growing technology that recognizes that the only way to plan truly complex events is to do a run-through, a simulation. Psychodrama offers the addition of voice-over techniques that express the perceptions and thoughts and affects of the players—hence, "enhanced" simulations

Enhanced simulations addresses the fact that people have thoughts, interpre-tations, and these may be brought to the surface through "voice over," what was called "doubling" in psychodrama. So we build those in. What people don’t yet know clearly is that psychodramatic methods are a form of enhanced simulations. So this book brings that notion forward, and further, ties into the growing awareness that our field crosses over through many channels with drama therapy.

Further, the applications transcend ordinary therapy (i.e., work with "patients" who "need therapy") and apply equally well—or even better—to people in business, education (more than special education), religion, and other venues. In other words, a significant part of what was called psychodrama is better recognized as enhanced simulations. Indeed, I’m gathering material for a book on this angle and would value anecdotes for an associated website! Many of you are applying what you know beyond the medical model! There will also be a companion website that offers additional reports and you may choose to contribute some non-clinical examples.

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