Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

A Sad But Amusing Situation

Originally posted on May 11, 2018

Fields of Specialization in psychology or medicine or anything need to struggle to gain recognition and status, but what happens when some of the more active aspirants are “upstarts” who challenge the “establishment”? I was one who, because of my persistence, obtained status from some people—but not in the eyes of everyone! I see this mirrored in India and Europe, alas. Some of the more “established” professionals disdain colleagues who haven’t “jumped through all the hoops” in becoming qualified.

How ironic. I was just honored by the presidents’ award, but I, too, am an under-qualified upstart who over-compensated by writing books and articles galore. It is politically touchy, though. Are the proponents of standards upholders of the need for standards or being petty at those who don’t meet those standards?

I was a mixed case, belonging to the highest-status-rank of professional, physician,  medical doctor, but mixed with ambiguously low standard of partly-trained, complicated by my compensatory writing of books and articles. (I didn’t compen-sate consciously, please note. I saw a need and I fulfilled it!)

Shall I disdain the group that I have risen “beyond” or dared to leapfrog “over,” or submit to their outrage at my presumption? (Well, it’s too late for the latter—but I might acknowledge their objections—which I am doing now?) This is in a sense, politics! Do not disdain it! I am thus reminded of this interesting and ambiguous turn in the affairs of people, good people who try to play by the rules and are plagued by people who do the equivalent of “butt in line”?

But some of the upstarts (including me) do a lot for the field! Should that be recognized? Let me confess, I am by no means a spokesperson for what should be! The field is in transition between trying to establish its professional foundations and yet opening up to non-therapy roles, in law, in education (including the training of physicians), in religion, and so forth. Indeed, I am presently collecting articles for an anthology on this approach to "enhanced simulations"—which might be a better description than the word “psychodrama” really is.

To those trying to tighten standards, I admit that I and several others do not fulfill minimal standards as defined by others, so you would do well to dismiss my comments. I more than compensate by my writings and persistence so that I am honored by parts of the profession that doesn’t care so much. It’s a peculiar role to be in!

Also, I know of skilled people who don’t fulfill standards, and fear that I am personally disqualified from top status because of my lacks, even though I more than compensate for these lacks by virtue of my having written many papers and chapters and books. So perhaps what I should say is that I am unqualified to speak about standards as I fail to fulfill them myself, instead having over-fulfilled them by other criteria. But it’s helpful in addressing wider roles for action exploration —previously called “psychodrama.”

This accompanies any shift beyond an original context. In this case, going beyond “therapy” (and who should be qualified to deliver therapy) to teaching in many non-therapeutic fields, going in fact to operating in non-professional fields (!), entails abandoning standards in favor of just doing it.

I realize this is a problematic situation as colleagues are wanting recognition as "being qualified.”  But the field is fast-moving beyond the medical model of  psy-chotherapy! Depending where you stand the proper response is either "horrors!" or "hurray!" (I can explain further if you like.)
My present role is as editor of a book to be published (?next year?) that deals with applications of psychodrama not as psychotherapy, but for education, consulting, business, law, etc.—anything but therapy!  So I may not be in a position to announce standards or to hold to standards for psychotherapy. 

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