Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Action Explorations—The Term

Originally posted on June 4, 2018

It’s time now to break out of the medical model!  Although Moreno confined himself to the psychotherapeutic applications of simulations that he called "psychodrama"—and it could well be argued that it was appropriate he did so at that time—now it is even more appropriate for the method to gain some distance from the medical model. That is, the word “psychodrama” describes a process that should not be limited to a context of anything being “wrong” with the clients or groups that use this method.

Action explorations assumes that problems crop up not because the people involved are not doing it “right"’; there’s nothing “wrong” with the people involved, but only that the situation might be helped by a more creative response! A new term is needed for psychodrama to transcend the confines of the medico-psycho-logical model: I suggest “Action Explorations.” Psycho-dramatic methods are applied beyond either implying that there’s anything whatsoever “wrong” with the minds of the individuals involved.

Also mistaken is the idea that what is being sought must be a "dramatic" process.  Rather, what is being sought is in other contexts called “simulations,” trying out complex maneuvers, finding out by doing so where errors or insufficiencies crop up.

Action explorations is a relatively small-group approach that integrates the feelings and thoughts of the people involved.. For example, it transcends “real life” in that it brings to the surface through the technique called “doubling” some effort at extern-alizing the thoughts or assumptions that underlie various types of problems.

So let the word, “psychodrama”  be descriptive of Moreno’s method for treatment of psycho-logical disturbances, and let a new term, "Action Explorations" be de-scriptive of improvised and tentative “play” depictions of situations— i.e., simu-lations. These are quite apart from the applications for treatment for treatment of psychiatric conditions.

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