Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy 90th birthday, psychodrama!

In the annals of psychodrama history, Dr. J.L. Moreno considered his first "formal" psychodrama session on April 1, 1921 at Das Stegreifheater (The Theatre of Spontaneity) in Vienna. Yes, April Fool's Day,  when he dressed as a jester and challenged his audience to take an empty "throne" to play the leader of the community.

If you saw Dateline on Sunday, you saw the report about the program known as Breakthough at Caron, where adults survivors of childhood abuse worked through their issues with what the reporter called ‘"therapy on steroids." Steve Kopp, my psychodrama colleague from Maryland and president of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, says, "For those of us who know, it was some basic work in family sculpting, working with social atoms and concretizing. And I thought, this stuff has been around 90 years -- long before we had steroids…"

Steve is celebrating Moreno's birthday today with a birthday cake in his office and a number of psychodrama quotes on his office door – a way to educate others about Moreno and psychodrama, some playful, some thoughtful. Several of them are from Moreno’s Prelude to My Autobiography.

Here's one:

More important than science is its result

One answer provokes a hundred questions.

More important than poetry is its result,
One poem invokes a hundred heroic acts.

More important than recognition is its result,
The result is pain and guilt

More important than procreation is the child,
More important than evolution of creation is the
evolution of the creator.