What is the universe up to?

On the first day of training in Imago therapy Maya Kollman characterised a couple relationship as “A microcosm of the universe trying to repair itself.” In different words psychodrama includes the same idea, the therapeutic tele is distributed in the group, it’s not just in the director.

And there is qualitative evidence for this… A group, or a couple, once the connection is established and there is a warm up, will hum its way to more and more enabling solutions. I see it so clearly in psychodrama groups – each drama assists the whole group in a quest that is finally resolved. The terminology of ‘disturbing motive’ and ‘reactive fear’ is used to describe this process. Even this naming implies that it is the ‘disturbing motive’ that arises first and the the ‘reactive fear’ is simply the obstacles of the cultural conserve (CC) that need to get out of the way. CC is a term from the psychodramatic theory Canon of Creativity

An earlier post grapples with the same idea. https://psyberspace.walterlogeman.com/2018/the-survival-dance-that-gets-in-the-way-of-the-encounter/

There is a layer of conserved coping that is somehow “man made”, the reactive fear, which is usually followed by flight or fight i.e. Criticism and blaming or avoidance. There is another layer – the universe trying to heal itself. Lets just call it eros or love. Gt the crap out of the way and the love will come through.

Both psychodrama and Imago have the philosophy that the therapist is the catalyst, simply providing tools, like dialogue, or the 5 instruments so the eros can emerge.

I’m reflecting on the relationship between letting it happen and making it happen.

The inevitable can be helped along.

We are agents in the healing of the universe. i.e. in its progress. Towards eros.

We can make it worse or better. If this is a dead end it will proceed towards the omega point in some other way. The universe does not care, but it won’t stop its evolution, its development, its progress. These words are teleological.

We make history but under conditions of our choosing.

Surfing. We can but catch a wave or miss it.

Anyway, if we assume that a group or a couple is “A microcosm of the universe trying to repair itself.” then we are assistants to that process.

Thats what Marxists are too.

Strange that the right who advocate market forces somehow believe in the benign power of the market. Leave alone. Marxists might trust the market too if it was alive in a society that was free of the distortions of the capitalists. It would tend towards each to his needs. Just like in couple therapy – in my room I have to be a strong dictatorship of the eros forces. We fight the cultural conserves (part of the current cultural forces) of blame – attack and control.

See more search the Tag – theory of change https://psyberspace.walterlogeman.com/tag/theory-of-change/

Marriage and family therapy – Inter-psyche

Here is a quote from Moreno that has major implications for how we conduct psychodrama in groups or with individuals when they want to work on significant relationships and the other party is not present.

And the other question that flows on from this piece of wisdom from JL is how to do “re-enactment a deux”.  The phrase ‘psychodrama a deux’ when I have heard it come up has referred to doing psychodramatic psychotherapy with an individual.  This is different.  Couple therapy using psychodramatic processes is something that some of us have well developed.  What about working with a couple when both are present in a psychodrama group?

I have been exploring that question in practice.

What about when someone does a drama involving an intimate other who is not there?

What if a couple are in crisis? Do we recommend they attend a psychodrama group?

These are questions I will be addressing in a workshop at the AANZPA  conference in Brisbane in January. ‘Addressing’ here means exploring in action with colleagues.

From the Programme:

Even a Genius of Perception Can’t Role Reverse with an Intimate Partner

Yes, Moreno said something like that. In this this group we’ll produce dramas involving intimate relationships. Enactments will be followed by sharing and reflection on working with intimacy. Five principles for working with psychodrama and intimate relationships will be presented.

Moreno:

Marriage and family therapy for instance, has to be so conducted that the “interpsyche” of the entire group is re-enacted so that all their tele-relations, their co-conscious and co-unconscious states are brought to life. Co-conscious and co-unconscious states are by definition such states which the partners have experienced and produced jointly and which can therefore be only jointly reproduced or re-enacted. A co-conscious or a co-unconscious state can not be the property of one individual only. It is always a common property and cannot be reproduced but by a combined effort. If a re-enactment of such co-conscious or co-unconscious state is desired or necessary, that re-enactment has to take place with the help of all partners involved in the episode. The logical method of such re-enactment a deux is psychodrama. However great a genius of perception one partner of the ensemble might have, he or she can not produce that episode alone because they have in common their co-conscious and co-unconscious states which are the matrix from which they drew their inspiration and knowledge.

 

Psychodrama Volume 1, 4th edition, page vii

Later — Friday, 22 December, 2017

Just noticed this quote from Marshall Rosenberg, here:

It may be most difficult to empathize with those we are closest to.

Moreno was not alone in noticing this phenomena

Psychodrama Workshops 2018

I’m delighted to have plans and dates for a bunch of psychodrama events next year.  I hope you will find something of interest!

Psychodrama Weekends with Walter Logeman – Christchurch

Fri, 13 – Sun, 15 April
Fri, 31 August – Sun, 2 September

Experience psychodrama for your personal development!

Download flyer and enrolment details

 

Writing Retreat Mt Lyford – for Psychodrama Trainees

Fri, 25 – Sun 27 May

Writing is an essential part of psychodrama training.

Download flyer     Enrol: http://psychodrama.org.nz/citp-2018c

 

Working With Couples – Professional Development – Christchurch

Christchurch Fri, 6 – Sun, 8 July 2018

This workshop will enrich your work with couples.  Also a good way to get started.

Download Flyer    Enrol: http://psychodrama.org.nz/citp-2018e

Identity

I recall a social work teacher I had saying the main purpose of the training was to develop the professional identity of a social worker. I liked that idea. Especially once I saw that as a social worker I embraced a set of values, a body of literature and a community of practice. We valued a social systemic rather than individual approach, this meant seeing the world in quite a different way to, say doctors whose only systems were the human biological ones, who could make individual diagnosis but not social ones. Even better it distinguished us from psychologists, who adapted the medical model to the psyche, enviously creating a system of diagnosis based on the medical one.

Maybe it was a good thing at the time. There were variations on the theme, there were Christian social workers who I did not identify with and radical social workers who I did identify with. This blurred the edge between personal and professional identities. My family was not strong on identity. Atheist/Agnostic Dutch/Australian, humanist left rather than right. I must have craved a more defined identity as my first forage into this realm was to be able to say ‘I am a bushwalker”. In Sydney at the time, for me it had an almost religious existential meaning. Value words included intrepid, nature, hard, travelling light. It distinguished us from mere tourists, and I’m sure there are still people around who are part of that circle, and have let it define them to some degree. Now, 56 years later I retain some of these values. I trained first as a teacher but did no embraced the identity. Bushwalker softly morphed to mountaineer – but I saw it as an extension of my BW ID. Traveller was another extension I aimed to embrace, Peter Pinney style (See my blog post) but I was too much of a settler.

Philosopher, hippie, marxist were all on the journey. Now I’m writing a paper: “Being a Psychodramatist.” I don’t think I’ve landed in a fixed place. Identifying with groups and activities is one thing, belonging to a community is another, being conversant with a philosophy of life… All ok and maybe steps in the developmental pathway. As a trainer in psychodrama I want trainees to become psychodramatists, not just learn some techniques. To that end it is good to hold fast to a tradition and to embrace it. Not to cling to it, not to hide behind it. And the value in this particular tradition is that it is aware that the tradition is a conserve and that from a conserve we warm up to spontaneity and creativity. That is – from the old to the new.

Lynette Clayton wrote about the personality emerging from the roles we enact. Maybe it is also right to say that it emerges from the identities we embrace. Hmmm maybe the identities are things we discover in our selves, and then embrace. Over identification with a philosophy or group is a form of narrow mindedness, yet to be forever eclectic and skeptical is just confusing.

We need to develop an ego, personality, self, identity – all words, all useful especially in their respective philosophies. And there are stages of life for each.

In Erikson’s scheme

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erikson’s_stages_of_psychosocial_development

“The teenager must achieve identity in occupation, gender roles, politics, and, in some cultures, religion.”

Thankfully he adds somewhere that this phase can go on for many years. And it is also clear that in his scheme there are many identities, professional being just one of them.

I think I developed a stable professional identity, did not get there till well into my 30s though. I see it as a cluster: psychodramatist, psychotherapist, counsellor, philosopher. Within that identity there is a lot of scope as well:

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Roles Create Roles

“a role is the functioning form the individual assumes in the specific moment he reacts to a specific situation in which other persons or objects are involved” (Moreno, 1977, p IV)

Lets take a list of roles, these are from Max Clayton’s article (Clayton, 1994),  it is a convenient list, and it is the one that got me to think about this:

Artist
Playful fun-lover
Coach
Companion
Adventurer
Manipulator
Teacher
Despairer
Self-doubter
Guard
Frightened, abandoned orphan
Anxious and suspicious fantasiser
Angry controller
Condemning critic
Friend
Father
Good listener
Lover
Perfectionist

For each of these there is as Moreno puts it: “a specific situation in which other persons or objects are involved.” We can grasp the role it is possibly in relation to from the role.

Artist
Playful funlover
Coach
Companion
Adventurer
Manipulator
Teacher
Despairer
Self-doubter
Guard
Frightened, abandoned orphan
Anxious and suspicious fantasiser
Angry controller
Condemning critic
Friend
Father
Good listener
Lover
Perfectionist
Art Audience Muse
Playmates
Trainee
Companion
Mentor
Sucker, victim
Student
Stubborn controller
Critic
Invaders
Absent Parent, Threatening bully
Challenging person or situation
Helpless follower
Self doubter
Friend
Child
Speaker
Lover
Slob

Creating Change in a Role Relationship

These role pairs will change as one of the roles changes:

The teacher can’t teach without the student

Lovers need lovers

If the manipulatee ceases to be duped and becomes assertive the manipulator can’t manipulate.

If there is no speaker, become a good listener.

If there is no artist, become an appreciative audience and contribute materials

Be loving and love may come your way.

Stop criticising, appreciate and praise and you won’t be with a self-doubter for long.

Role relationships

There are different types of role relationship. Max talks of complementary roles and symmetrical roles.

“The diagrams made it easier to be aware of the complementary and symmetrical role systems that developed with other people and of the fact that there was an increase in complementary role relationships. As ability to analyse, plan and enjoy life came to the fore, so those roles pertaining to intimacy increased. There was a welcoming of closeness and an interest in complementing what others were doing. The aggressive approach to others diminished and along with this a lessening of symmetrical role relations and of the competitive dynamic that is associated with these. There was also a development of a real sense of being a role creator. Previously there had been much more of a sense of being a mundane person. A look at the diagrams also confirmed the ability to create forms of expression through which life purposes could be fulfilled. The experience of being a role creator was accompanied by an increase in motivation.”

An example of complementary role might be speaker / listener – and this would increase intimacy, as max suggests.

Symmetrical roles can escalate and be competitive e.g. Talker / talker can become shouter / shouter.

But some symmetrical roles can be intimate lover/lover gardener/gardener

Google search found the book online Note: I have a physical copy.

References

Clayton, G. M. (1994). Role Theory and its Application in Clinical Practice. In P. Holmes, K. Karp, & M. Watson (Eds.), Psychodrama Since Moreno (pp. 121–144). London: Routledge. Retrieved Tuesday, 9 February, 2016 from aanzpa.org
Moreno, J. L. (1977). Psychodrama Volume One (Fourth ed.). Beacon, New York: Beacon House.

Doubling, Spontaneity, Creativity and Encounter

Just added this to my Writing page.

Doubling, Spontaneity, Creativity and Encounter (docx) — Out of date (Saturday, 7 May, 2016)

Now working on a draft here in Google Docs

This is an article I’ve been working on since I presented something along these lines at 2014 AANZPA conference.  Its about the value of doubling what is adequate in the protagonist. Doubling is not coaching, but assisting the protagonist to say what is in them in a way that it can be heard.

It takes further the ideas I came away with from the Dan Wile workshop. He says something like this: I assist the couple to heave the conversation they would have if they were not fighting.

See additional notes from 6 October 2012 Zerka Moreno on Doubling and Tele

“Origins of Encounter and Encounter Groups” by J.L. And Zerka Moreno

Evernote Snapshot 20151220 044323

I managed to get hold of a monograph, Origins of Encounter and Encounter groups. (Moreno & Moreno, 1970). It is a stimulating read. I have just created three separate posts.


Balancing openness with the integrity of the psychodrama method.

Moreno and social science
This monograph has a concise statement that I have not seen before.

Encounter
This is obviously the main theme of the monograph. Useful. Encounter is so central to Moreno’s opus, but it has not been developed well in practice. It was railroaded by the ‘encounter’ movement.

Moreno, J. L., & Moreno, Z. T. (1970). Origins of encounter and encounter groups (Psychodrama and group psychotherapy monographs, no. 45). Beacon House.

Moreno and social science

This is the second of three posts based on the monograph “Origins of Encounter and Encounter Groups” by J.L. And Zerka Moreno

I’ve read and written extensively on Moreno’s scientific methods. This is a concise statement from the Encounter Monograph I have not seen before.

Moreno’s Ideas of a Science of Human Relations

An adequate science of human relations did not exist before the advent of sociometry. *

“Comte’s Hierarchy of the Sciences, 1) mathematics, 2) astronomy, 3) physics, 4) chemistry, 5) biology, and 6) sociology, has become obsolete. His assumption that all sciences can be treated by the same basic methodology is an error. The social sciences need—at least in their crucial dimension—different methods of approach. The crux of the ontology of science is the status of the ‘research objects.’ Their status is not uniform in all sciences. There is a group of sciences like astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology in which the research objects are always mere ‘objects’. Their actions speak for themselves and the generalizations concluded from them are not threatened by any metaphysical protest or social revolution of their kind.

Then there is another group of sciences, the social sciences. It is because of a chronic inertia in their development that sociometry has raised the question: how are social sciences possible? It has found that the social sciences like psychology, sociology, and anthropology require that its objects be given ‘research status’ and a certain degree of scientific authority in order to raise their level from a pseudo objective discipline to a. science which operates on the highest level of its material dynamics. It accomplishes this aim by considering the research objects not only as objects but also as research actors, not only as objects of observation and manipulation but as co-scientists and co-producers in the experimental design they are going to set up.” Our two chief experimental designs are sociometry and psychodrama.

* J.L. Moreno, Who Shall Survive?, 1934 and 1953. p. 63-64.

(Moreno & Moreno, 1970)

Moreno, J. L., & Moreno, Z. T. (1970). Origins of Encounter and Encounter Groups (Psychodrama and group psychotherapy monographs, no. 45). Beacon House.

Who Shall Survive?

This is a rather interesting but puzzling link to Who Shall Survive. It has a different subtitle. Adds Helen Jennings as an author.

http://books.google.co.nz

The description there about relationships is one that I have not seen summed up so well before. The idea is central to the work, but not often one that people focus on.

Who shall survive?: A new approach to the problem of human interrelations

Jacob Levy Moreno, Helen Hall Jennings
1 Review
Nervous and mental disease publishing co., 1934 – Psychology – 440 pages
In approaching the contents of this book, the reader must not expect to find society or social groups considered as if they consisted of the sum of the individuals composing them. Wherever two or more people are functioning as a social group that group not only consists of those individuals, but, more important perhaps, if that is possible, than the individuals themselves and without which their functioning as a social group cauld not be expressed, are the relations which maintain between them. It is these intangible, imponderable and invisible aspects of the situation which enable the mathematical sum of a certain number of individuals to function as a social group. Dr. Moreno’s book might he described briefly as a study of these relations between individuals. Dr. Moreno develops a technique for a process of classification which is calculated, among other things, to bring individuals together who are capable of harmonious inter-personal relationships, and so creating a social group which can function at the maximum efficiency and with the minimum of disruptive tendencies and processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved).

The book is for sale here for $339.32

Psychological Eclecticism and Nothing

I recall being advised by my then supervisor, about 30 years ago, to look around for a psychotherapy modality that grabbed me and then to learn it thoroughly and not become prematurely eclectic. I followed that advice. Psychodrama was that modality for me and I am steeped in its traditions and have practiced it for decades and hope to do that for a few more.

However I have more than a passing familiarity with a some other fields of practice, I have a grasp of Archetypal Psychology and I am qualified in Imago Relationship Therapy. I have grappled with my multiple perspectives, and have written a paper about my tension with Imago for the AANZPA Psychodrama Journal: The Imago Affair. I’ve been thinking about this more of late.

Continue reading “Psychological Eclecticism and Nothing”

Dialogues and mirroring – Psychodrama and Imago

In an earlier post I tried to capture a thought I had about dialogues. I was pleased to know someone read it and emailed me to say they were a bit confused. No wonder, I just pour out something I think about late at night — when I should be fast asleep!

I will describe more clearly how I work with couples by unpacking what I think are important ideas in a snippet from the earlier post.

I like to distinguish the words of the initiator of the dialogue, the protagonist, from the response by the person who is listening, the receiver, who I encourage to think of themselves as an auxiliary.

The problem is that I’m using language from two psychotherapeutic modalities. I imagine this makes no sense to anyone really, as there are very few psychodramatists who are also Imago Relationship Therapists. Even to someone who has that background it is still a muddled sentence.

Let me start again. First I’ll use Imago terms and then I’ll describe the same work using psychodrama language.

Continue reading “Dialogues and mirroring – Psychodrama and Imago”

How do I respond, can I say anything?

When learning to dialogue people often ask how to respond to their partner after they have listened to their first “send”. What do I say, can I say anything? 

Response is central to relating. Is everything a response to the previous thing? Perhaps, but I like to distinguish the words of the initiator of the dialogue, the protagonist, from the response by the person who is listening, the receiver, who I encourage to think of themselves as an auxiliary. In responding as an auxiliary, we are not asking for anything. Of course the sender (or protagonist) might listen and mirror the response, but as a responder it is useful to keep the mind-set of an auxiliary, then the response is a form of mirroring in that the protagonist can see how they impact on the other person.

A response will reveal to the protagonist who how they are received. A response may also reveal something about the listener. Self disclosure as it is known in counselling jargon. As long as the auxiliary stance is maintained it can be useful, as long as its not all ‘Me, me, me.’ Good self disclosure on the part of the listener means the protagonist will know they are speaking with a person.  A response that is well done will have the protagonist nodding, relaxing, learning about themselves and ready to open up more about themselves. They will not feel alone and trust will build. A full response will enliven the dance, create a rich space between the two, filled with meaning.

To encourage this when they ask: What do I say, can I say anything? I offer something like this:

What was most exciting to you in what you just heard.
What touched you most deeply.
One thing I have learned about you.
What I found valuable in what I heard.

Enlarge on your response.

Small phrases in the form of lead lines or instructions are essential tools in counselling and therapy. It is astounding the difference wording can make. In this post I reflect on an instruction to the person who is responding in a dialogue.

Enlarge on your response.

I like this instruction. I typically use this in couple therapy when one partner says something like, ‘I like listening to what you said.’ I could use a lead line such as, ‘One thing I liked about it…’ or ‘When you talked about my parenting I felt…’, sometimes that is fine. However the instruction, ‘Enlarge on your response.’ is more open ended. They might say, ‘When you say you learn a lot from the way I parent our children my heart leaps with joy.’ Anything is possible with the idea of enlargement.

It is a challenging instruction, and if I think the person is not able to meet the challenge of the instruction I will guide them with a lead line that prompts them to give something more.

Psychodrama Training for Couple Therapists

The workshop I will be running for counsellors and therapists this year has gone up on the CITP website. It is run under the auspices of the Psychodrama training institute, and I’m pleased that this workshop I ran for the first time in Blenheim in November has a niche in the psychodrama setting.

I will also be doing a 3 hr workshop at the Brisbane ANZPA Psychodrama Conference this month.

Details of the July Christchurch workshop follow:

Continue reading “Psychodrama Training for Couple Therapists”

Moreno on God

YouTube audio

The rest of the audio can be purchased here.

Am I responsible for everything if I’m God?

Partner in its creation

I must have been in the beginning

I created myself

Mirroring

Mirroring is a word used in both the Psychodrama and Imago modalities. In a classic psychodrama the protagonist returns to the audience and is companioned by the conductor of the drama, who instructs the auxiliary egos to re-enact the scene. This can be done for a variety of reasons. One is to reveal to the protagonist how their actions look from another perspective. Another reason might be at the end of a drama or role training session for the protagonist to see the new development in their being. The mirroring in the Imago sense shares these purposes though the form different.

I’m finding it helpful to think of two mirror positions.

1. Face to face

2. Spectator

Here is a quote from Moreno highlighting the spectator mode.

The technique of the mirror ‘portrays’ the body image and the unconscious of A at a distance from him so that he can see himself. The portrayal is done by an auxiliary ego, who has made a close study of A. … In the mirror technique the protagonist is a spectator, an onlooker, he looks at the psychological mirror and sees himself. Fig 4(Moreno, J.L., 1959, p. 53).

Here is an example from Peter Kellerman:

“.. Bob presented a scene in which he quarreled with his wife. He stated his case and argued that she did not pay enough attention to him and neglected his needs. A woman in the role of his wife presented the other side of the story, throwing fuel on the already overheated marital conflict. And so it went on in what seemed to be an endless battle of words and accusations. The director used the mirror technique in an effort to break the deadock. He asked Bob to step out of the scene and watch it all from the outside (as if in a mirror), with another man playing the role of himself.

Watching the fight as a spectator, Bob listened carefully to both partners. ” Page 92

Peter Kellerman also gives an example of mirror that is face to face.

A group member to another: When I meet you, I feel enriched. Because you look at me from another perspective. Page 92

The purpose of mirroring

I can see two broad, slightly different purposes of mirroring.

1. Revelation

2. Validation

The first is so the person can see themselves either from a new perspective or how others see them. The second is to assist the person to have a sense of being seen and understood,and having value.

Both types have an existential quality, the person will get a sense they exist.

Mirroring becomes a very broad category we think of the whole field. As the term is used in all these ways within psychodrama and in other modalities I think it is useful to be able to distinguish the various processes that are called mirroring. Most examples of mirroring would fit into one of the following four combinations of form and purpose.

  Face to face Spectator
Validation    
Revelation    

Zerka Moreno on Doubling, Tele, inter-psyche, relationship

Still thinking about the interpsyche – and found this passage from Zerka Moreno in the Psychodrama Network News from the American Society of group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama 2005  I now see the difference between empathy and doubling. Doubling in its conception includes the relationship, it is not the intuition of the therapist directly but the voice of the interpsyche – the relationship between two people.

But there is another, more important, aspect of McGaw’s presentation. When he speaks about how his doubling with a protagonist is so often correct, he interprets this as due to his intuitive ability. When pressed by Rogers to explain it more specifically while speaking of his own power in that respect, he refers to it as his “empathy.” Unfortunately, he overlooks the contribution to the process by the protagonist, as if it all comes out of the therapist’s psyche, that of a single mind. By unfortunate I mean that this is just the area of Moreno’s contribution, namely to have pointed out that it is the interaction between people – tele – resulting in the “inter-psyche,” the space between people, that is the foundation of his and our work. This observation, more than anything else McGaw speaks of, tells me he has not really grasped Moreno’s message. It is our emphasis on the moment, the here and now, the spontaneity of the protagonist, the interaction of minds, that distinguishes our own field from that of individual psychology, a lesson we must never overlook.

Zerka Moreno makes it so clear psychodrama is a relational not an individual method.

Recently while teaching doubling it was clear the person was trying to think what the other person was thinking. Close, but not quite it. I said… let yourself be him, become him, breathe like him, sit like him, look at the world through his eyes and then voice what comes up, you won’t be guessing, you don’t have a choice about what comes up.

The doubling was then noticeably different even though not always exactly right.

__________________________________________________

Later: Saturday, 6 October, 2012

I’m now (post the Dan Wile workshop) thinking the phrase above, “you don’t have a choice about what comes up” is right, but not enough.

Many things will come up and it is useful to choose to voice those things that are progressive for the protagonist, such things as empathy for another person, declaring an inner struggle, claiming the validity of experience.

Judgement of others, blaming and self righteous anger may also come up. They could be ignored, but if they feature strongly they could be moderated with such phrases as: I know this is might not be easy for you to hear. I wish I had a way of expressing this more constructively. I have been sitting on this for a long time and my intention is to bring it out to improve the relationship.

Later: Sunday, 29 November 2015

…this is just the area of Moreno’s contribution, namely to have pointed out that it is the interaction between people – tele – resulting in the “inter-psyche,” the space between people, that is the foundation of his and our work.

This makes it so clear that Moreno had the relational paradigm, he did not call it that and he often slips into thinking of individuals, yet he is so instrumental in this as an influence on Buber and then Harville Hendrix and Hedy Schleifer.