Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

What Isn’t Said Overtly

Originally posted on June 19, 2012

I’m presenting at the annual meeting of the British Psychodrama Association, a keynote workshop on the general conference theme of innovation and integration in psychodrama. I have much to say didactically and will post that on my website—the workshop itself will be mainly experiential. The key innovation to be presented there is simply a heightening of the nature of what doubling is about, and by extension, role reversal and the development of the skill of empathizing. There’s an integrative element in that it resonates with the theories of Carl Rogers, one of the mid-20th century pioneers of person-centered psychotherapy, encounter groups, and humanistic psychology. These approaches in my mind fit nicely with Moreno’s ideas, are amplified by them, and in turn offer more theoretical and technical input into the thickening of psychodrama and related endeavors.

The point to be made is that what is variously known as the sub-conscious or pre-conscious mind is a vast arena that we now have a technology for amplifying. Some of the elements in that category include:
  – thoughts that registered briefly in consciousness but were pushed away because the sense of self had no way of integrating those thoughts—they were incompatible with what one thought at the time, or perhaps just “too much.”
   – feelings and intuitions that had not yet found any words for their expression
   – thought-feelings that did not make it to explicit awareness because “I shouldn’t feel that way.” There are a number of sub-feelings, such as vulnerability, or being at variance with the beliefs of one’s family, etc., that often remain buried.
   – thought-feelings that have been limited by not knowing that any alternative existed
   – etc.

Doubling, which is sort of like the “voice over” technique in movies, only made more concrete by having someone guess at what might be thought in a situation, brings such feelings into the open. It’s okay if they’re mistaken, because the method allows for being corrected! “No, it’s not that way, it’s more like this…” can be said and others are open to adjusting to this new formulation. It’s a cybernetic process—trial, feedback, correction, re-attempt, many times.

I think people can learn to be more like this in their communications—less arguing a point and more drawing out what the other thinks and exploring it mutually.

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