Adam Blatner, M.D.:

Biographical Information

(Revised,  June 14, 2010)

Dr. Blatner was born in 1937 in Los Angeles, where he grew up. In 1955, he began at the University of California in Berkeley for his undergraduate studies. He was awarded Phi Beta Kappa in his third year there, and then graduated with honors in a special field of cultural aspects of religion. He then attended medical school at the University of California San Francisco campus, graduating in 1963 (See Cartoons). After internship in Los Angeles, Dr. Blatner did specialty training in the psychiatric residency program at the Stanford University Medical Center. While there he discovered the therapeutic role playing approach called psychodrama, and this became one of his sub-specialty interests, integrated with a general exploration of other types of psychotherapy. After Stanford, he took a post-residency fellowship training in child and family psychiatry back in Los Angeles, and then he served in the U.S. Air Forces as a child and adult psychiatrist at a base in England. In 1972, Dr. Blatner began a private practice near Palo Alto, California. In 1979 he moved to Santa Rosa, CA, where he and his second wife Allee developed The Art of Play. In 1983 they moved to Texas where they could help Allee's aging parents. From 1987-1994 Dr. Blatner was on the faculty of the University of Louisville School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science in Kentucky, where he became an Assistant Professor. He's also worked in many other clinical settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practice. Around 2001, he retired from practice, and has gradually reduced the levels of professional involvement. Until last year, he also served as executive or consulting editor for several journals. Dr. Blatner continues to occasionally teach classes, present at conferences, write papers for journals and chapters for books. Around 1998 Dr. Blatner was awarded the status of Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

     A listing of Dr. Blatner's many professional publications is available at another related webpage.

     Listings of Dr. Blatner's professional presentations at international, national, and regional professional conferences and in other contexts are available at the following related webpages: Presentations 1969-1994.        Presentations 1995 - Present.
During these sojourns, Dr. Blatner has written and published several books. First there was a compilation of other people's writings about psychodrama, in 1968, and then he was encouraged by the inventor of psychodrama, Dr. J.L. Moreno, to write up his own summary of what he learned, so as to serve as a useful introduction to others. This book,
Acting-In, was published in 1973, and since then it has been revised and republished twice, translated into several languages, and has become one of the better-known texts in the field because of its relative clarity of presentation.

A decade later, Dr. Blatner wrote an intellectual companion to Acting In titled Foundations of Psychodrama, which delved more deeply into history, theory, and practice, and this, too was first formally published in 1988 and revised and expanded in a 4th edition in 2000.

In the early 1980s, Dr. Blatner and his second wife, Allee, explored applications of psychodramatic methods beyond the context of psychotherapy--i.e., how it might be used as a vehicle for (literally) recreation. This culminated in first a monograph (in 1985) and then formal publication (in 1988) of  another book, The Art of Play: Helping adults reclaim imagination and spontaneity.

More recently, he edited and had published an anthology,
Interactive and Improvisational Drama: Varieties of Applied Theatre and Performance, and you can go to the website for this book and see the table of contents and read supplementary papers.

Non-Professional and Playful Dimensions of Adam Blatner's Life

At present, Adam and Allee are living in an active retirement community in Georgetown, in central Texas (one of the Del Webb Sun City projects) about 35 miles north of the State Capitol in Austin. They bike, walk, square dance, sing in the Sun City Singers, participate in the theatre club, visit family, and are in other ways active in the community. Adam also goes folk dancing down in Austin, has organized and held song fests and helped found a local lifelong learning program (Senior University Georgetown). He continues to teach classes for this group on various topics, such as "psychological literacy," the lore and history of writing, aspects of philosophy, the history of medicine, and other subjects.
His major goals include:

  • Getting practical knowledge about psychology into the general population
  • Helping to get the teaching of these themes, including communications, problem solving, and self-awareness, and other "people skills" in the secondary schools if not earlier.
  • Integrating spirituality and the best insights of psychodynamic psychology
  • Fostering activities that involve spontaneity, improvisation, celebration
  • Encouraging singing together
  • Applying the rich repertoire of psychodramatic techniques and principles to the teaching of psychological skills in schools and other settings, and also to a more empathic and involved understanding of relevant issues of history and current events.
  • Encouraging people to use psychodrama, sociodrama, sociometry, and other experiential approaches in psychotherapy, education, spiritual development, community building, and other settings.
  • Promoting activities related to consciousness transformation, and helping people to deepen their sense of meaning in life.
  • Imaginatively Playful Dimensions

    Now, the above is closer to my formal resumé, but in many respects, as detailed as it may be, it’s really quite superficial and increasingly irrelevant to what is involved in knowing the “real me.” In many ways, I live more fully at an imaginal level, through the back-stories of my cartoons, parables, made-up myths, philosophical and aesthetic ramblings, and the resonances of my interests in playful as well as serious topics. For more about Adam ManyParts, click here.  Or click:
    cartoons from medical school (year 1year 2 ; year 3year 4 );
     here for my "cartoon biography."     for   Index of  Christmas Holiday Cartoon Letters
       Also, click here for the link to further autobiographical notes.
       Here's another biographical supplement done as a feature for a local newspaper.

    You may write to him at his postal address:

    Adam Blatner, M.D.
    103 Crystal Springs Drive
    Georgetown, TX 78633-4502

    Or email at

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