Friday, August 31, 2012

A mini-dissertation about that empty chair.

Karen puts on her "schoolmarm" role - notice the pointy finger! -- and explains a bit about that Clint Eastwood empty chair thingy.

You'll also want to read Jonathan Moreno's excellent New York Times essay, What the Chair Could Have Told Clint.

And enjoy Adam Blatner's thought-provoking Pseudo-Psychodrama as Rhetoric.

Clint Eastwood's empty chair? He needs a director!

Photo with Clint and chair, borrowed from CBS News site.

Actor Clint Eastwood tried out the "empty chair" technique last night at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., talking to an invisible Barack Obama.

His drama was self directed -- we in psychodrama call that a monodrama -- and everyone from The Huffington Post to The Washington Post is talking about it this morning. Rachel Maddow called it weird, and a few others thought it was a joke. Obama got into the act by Tweeting a picture of himself, sitting in his presidential chair, saying, "This seat's taken."

Politics aside, the empty chair started out as a sociodramatic invention, when Dr. J.L. Moreno introduced it in 1921 in his famous theater presentation, asking for a leader to take the "throne" that he placed on a stage in Vienna, Austria. (No one stepped up.) In later years, Moreno's wife and collaborator Zerka Moreno expanded the technique for psychodramatic purposes, with the protagonist talking directly to a  significant person during a drama.

See my video here.

I don't think Clint would pass our practitioner's exam. He could have used a director to keep him on task and to encourage him to role reverse with the "other" in the chair. Role reversal -- feeling into the experience of the other -- creates empathy and understanding of the other's viewpoint.

...Something that politics needs more of.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Psychodramatist and musician offers her songs for healing

Kathy Amsden | Awakening
Kathy Amsden, musician, psychodramatist and clinical social worker is making her songs available.

The album is Awakening, which she recorded back in 2003, and until now has only been available at conferences and by directly contacting Kathy, who lives in Auburn Maine, and won the Collaborator's Award in 2007 from the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama for her work in combining psychodrama and music. 

"Writing and recording these songs has been a remarkable journey along a road to recovery for others, the world-at-large, and for myself. It has meant following a dream, choosing a path, taking a leap-of-faith, and reclaiming my voice. There IS a road to recovery; a pathway to joy and it begins with awakening the power of love."  

The songs, all original, are perfect for use in group and individual therapy. There is "Peace of Mind," "Wounds of the Warrior," "Road to Recovery" and "I've Found My Voice Again," among others. As for my unsolicited testimonial: I use them and they are always well received.

The album is here, where you may listen to short samples, purchase and download. Kathy, says that the individual songs will also be able to be downloaded  very soon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Psychodrama: truly a global movement!

If anyone has ever doubted it, psychodrama is truly a global movement. Here's a photo from the recent congress of the International Association of Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes in July in Cartagena, Colombia.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What about research about psychodrama?


 Here's a topic for conversation with psychodrama students, practitioners and trainers. 

Actually there are several topics:
  • Why don't more people write for the U.S. journal known as the Journal for Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy?
  •  Do we need research? 
  • And what kind of publishing venue should be research and other writings be circulated?

That last question is a topic that I've heard discussed as a consulting editor for the U.S. journal, published by the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama. Do we need a print journal? Or should we go for an online presence? We're still talking and thinking about it, and it's a topic that's bandied about in academia as well, with this article titled Why Do We Need Academic Journals in the First Place?

Research helps us define our work and its value. Although it is probably accurate to say that it is never really possible to quantify the amazing human spirit, we can also say that research studies offer a beginning point to observe the value of the action method and how it can be applied in the world at large. However, the journal is more than research -- it also includes case studies, examples of action processes by practitioners, book reviews and creative contributions such as poems and pictures. 

If you are interested in writing for the journal on a topic related to psychodrama, sociodrama, sociometry or group psychotherapy, here are the guidelines.

If you're a Facebook denizen, join the page for U.S. Psychodrama and Sociometry Journal.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Good news -- you can pass the psychodrama exam

In just about 60 days, candidates for psychodrama certification will have the opportunity to take the written exam.

Good news -- the written exam CAN be passed and can be passed without a lot of agony and anxiety. If you have had good trainers and have read the basic books while in the training process (before and after watching and participating in psychodramas), and take time to read, outline and answer past questions on the test and get assistance with a coach and/or study group, you should be all right.

Some basic books:

The Essential Moreno edited by Jonathan Fox
Psychodrama Since Moreno by Marcia Karp, etc.
ActingIn: Theory and Practice by Adam Blatner
The Living Stage by Tian Dayton

And yes, the Moreno psychodrama volumes, plus Zerka’s books, plus her very new memoirs will give history and basics.

My e-book, The Psychodrama Notebook, as a good study guide for candidates. It’s contains my passing essays for my CP and TEP tests along with other essays that are designed to be user-friendly. I am in the process of revising to self publish online, but in the meanwhile, folks can order the e-book directly from me as they wish. Click here for details or contact me directly.

In addition, those with test anxiety may find it useful to read an earlier blog post Getting Ready for the Psychodrama Exam? Some Tips.

I also tell my supervisees: if you have writing anxiety, start writing now. Write online for Grouptalk. Offer an article to Psychodrama Network News, the organization’s newsletter. Write a short article (including a bit of research) for our journal.

Friday, August 10, 2012

New book coming on supervision and psychodrama

When I work with in clinical supervision with my supervisees, a good portion of the supervision experience is based on "experiencing." Just like action creates deeper learning and change within clinical, educational and business settings, action is invaluable for teaching and supervising those who want to gain skills in psychodrama and sociometry.

A new book focusing on the art of supervision for psychodrama is coming in September and I am eager to see it. It's anthology of mostly European authors from various countries and it’s titled Supervision in Psychodrama: Experiential Learning, edited by Hannes Krall, Jutta F├╝rst and Pierre Fontaine and published by Springer Verlag in Germany. 

Many experienced psychodrama trainers and supervisors contributed to this book, which is written in English. It gives an interesting overview of supervision in psychodrama training in various countries. The full price of the book is 34,95 in Euros and $42.83 for us in the United States.