Adam Blatner, M.D.

(Posted first around  June, 2002; Revised more recently April, 2010)

Comments on Receiving the David A. Kipper Scholar's Award (for the Second time):

What I'll be saying in this part of the webpage: (1) Scholarship is needed.  (2) There are ways you can make it easier on yourself to participate in this way. (3) About Awards: You may participate more actively in supporting the process of giving and accepting recognition in a professional and social organization. And (4): Let’s recognize the multi-dimensional nature of our work: It’s bigger than psychodrama, it’s bigger than therapy, and it needs to be better integrated with other approaches, which might involve a measure of surrender of some of our traditional attachments.

About Scholarship 

 Scholarship is a general category that involves multiple roles:
    Writing articles for our newly re-started Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry!
     If you get back a request to revise, please don’t take it as a rejection. Most articles that get published need to be revised, and not just once, but several times. This has been true for me as well as others.
     Be available to write or co-write or help with the writing of chapters, books, papers on one’s website. If you have some papers posted on your website, let us know about it. If you don’t, consider writing some things about special applications, modifications of technique, or integrations with other approaches. .
    Correspond with others via email or other media.
    Participate in editing, helping others, giving feedback, making suggestions.
    Support the dissemination of others’ books, news of new books, efforts at making the libraries of sets of old journals or psychodrama materials available anew.
     And so forth—I want to encourage folks to do this more, because a body of literature is one of the signs of vitality of a field. Frankly, our field has become somewhat marginalized and renewed efforts at making a place for ourselves will require more work in the form of literature. I know you’re all doing action stuff, but that may not be enough to sustain our viability as a sub-field.

At the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, Benjamin Franklin is said to have said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” I think our field is in a perilous state for a variety of reasons, competition with the continued emergence of other approaches being a prominent one. It seems to me that in the economic recession, people have become too busy to write up their experiences. It’s become a low priority, and busy-ness, making money, supervising and teaching, other most worthy activities, become higher priorities. Far be it for me to have the right to criticize, but perhaps I can question. Because of a lack of writing up and submitting material, we have lost the support of our past publisher and our ASGPP journal. Efforts are now being made to resuscitate a comparable journal, to get the developments and creativity that’s happening in our field back into the open market of ideas.

I want to use this opportunity simply to speak up for scholarship, for not only doing research and reading what others have done, but for spreading these discoveries, for networking, for sharing what you have created. Creativity, so dear to our hearts as a principle, requires also the creativity to spread the word. We can be the light, and it’s equally important to reflect the light, to actively share with others what others have created that you find useful. That’s an extension of creativity.

Sharing your creativity is itself a different kind of creativity, it requires the skills of writing and editing. Now here’s the good news: You don’t have to do it alone. There are ways of getting help, of asking others to share in the task. If writing isn’t a strength, pair up with someone who enjoys using this skill and does it fairly well. Become a co-author. Folks in academia do it all the time. What’s important is to get the word out.

Another strategy: Write a draft, find a confidante who will give frank feedback, send the imperfect document to that person via email. Have that person respond with questions and encouragement. Reiterate the process, perhaps several times, each occasion getting closer to the goal.

Remember that there are folks out there who hunger for new techniques, ideas, insights, reflections, support, and the other values that can be obtained from a journal. Cross over and write for other organizations’ journals, too.

The Multi-Dimensionality of Our Field

As I said in San Antonio in 2008 and also in an article in the Journal two years ago, and also elsewhere on this website, I think we’ll do better by recognizing that Moreno created about ten or fifteen separate innovations that, although they can be used synergistically, nevertheless need not be kept in a single package. I think our field will expand in its influence by opening more to the inter-disciplinary trends in culture, and by offering this or that aspect of Moreno’s work and our own innovations separately to a more diversified range of populations—not just in the domain of therapy, but also in education and other social contexts.

One thing I’m proud of is that I’ve also diversified, addressing not just psychodrama, but such themes as ritual and ceremonies, meta-theory, the broader range of types of applied theatre, applications of sociodrama in education, re-thinking sociometry as a type of depth psychology, extending philosophical and even theological implications of creativity, re-thinking the nature and possible applications of psychodramatic methods as applied to recreation and the Art of Play, and so forth. I continue to discover further implications and applications for Moreno’s genius, including an appreciation of the nature of “having” a genius—that is, developing a clearer access to the inner forces of creativity—whether or not one has the extraordinary abilities associated with being a genius.

Please check out my website. I have much to say to you that can’t fit into the time constraints of this awards ceremony, and it may work better for you to partake of these ideas at your leisure and according to your feeling ready to do so.
      . I hope to use this opportunity, first, to say that I’ve made a lot of reading material available and I hope you take advantage of it. I would like to have every trainer tell their students to make use of the free resources noted on my different websites. Of course I hope y’all will buy my books, or at least ask your local university and public libraries to order and stock them. That’s easy enough to do.

Second, of course, I want to encourage scholarship by all of you, and what I mean by that is pretty simple. I hope that trainers will ask their trainees to read more, gather and integrate the basic information needed, have more didactic and discussion session. I hope trainees realize more vividly that you can attend a million hours of workshops and still learn relatively little about the theory behind psychodrama, and about where our method fits within the bigger pictures of other therapies, other approaches to psychological and social change in general.

Third, write!  Our journal was cancelled in late 2007 because everyone believed that other people would do enough. It has just been re-started with a new publisher.  The field will die if you personally don’t take on some responsibility not only for you to make a living for yourself, but to delegate at least some time for giving to the field. If you don’t write, network, encourage, mentor, participate in local and national professional politics, make bridges to other fields—there are lots of things that need to be done.

On my website on the webpage about open letter to psychodramatists I have these words and also some practical hints as to how to get help in getting your ideas into writing, such as seeking a colleague who likes to write and co-authoring a paper. She gets credit for her part, you get credit for yours.

About Awards

Please think about those in your network who might merits an ASGPP award of some kind, perhaps recognition with a Fellowship if they haven’t yet been so noted, and nominate that person. Check on this website to see who else has gotten an award, or check the ASGPP website.

What about you? If you have indeed been giving of yourself to the field, has anyone noticed? Don’t assume they have. Tell them. Ask them to nominate you. Give them the what you’ve done and when data so they don’t have to read your mind—give them the ammunition to work with. Take a little time out do make sure recognition is being given to those who give of themselves.

Again, please don’t assume that others have taken care of matters adequately: Check the list of who has gotten which awards. Notice who has been left out, or left behind.

Promote Networking: Find out who lives in your area and who has seemed to have dropped out. See what would help in luring them back in. Ask them. Remind them of major changes in leadership.

In Summary, the world needs these tools and no one but you can help bring these tools to other non-psychodrama therapists, teachers, managers, leaders, and all sorts of people. Moreno produced not just psychodrama, but other approaches that can be used even without training as a mental health professional. Indeed, those applications beyond the medical model may be the most important approaches! Since you know about these tools, the world needs you!
      You may well bring to the knowledge of Morenian methods and ideas some background in other fields. Let your unique blend of interests generate new ideas, revisions, modifications, cross-overs, syntheses.

From 2002:


Psychodrama is a method for helping people explore psychological and social situations, considering more constructive alternatives, and becoming more creative in general. It's kind of like a laboratory, only with the techniques derived from the theater instead of specialized glassware, electronic equipment, chemicals, etc. I think it's the best single group of tools for helping the world engage what I see as the challenge of the next century: The conscious, intentional transformation of consciousness itself.

I believe an increasing segment of the population needs to learn how to become more flexible, more imaginative, more reflective, more integrative of reason and compassion, and more willing to re-think all kinds of situations, relinquishing tendencies to rely on cultural conserves, and committing to more spontaneity and creativity. These qualities may be cultivated in part by learning the components of psychodrama, shifting and reversing roles, learning to double and to reach beyond the superficial levels of talking about feelings, considering scenes of what could be, how things might be played differently, etc. Such mental and interpersonal operations generate a familiarity with a mode of thinking that goes beyond what conventional forms of education have taught.

Therefore, to those of you who have become familiar with this method, THE WORLD NEEDS YOU ! We need to seek to spread this method. It's more than just using it to do psychotherapy or consult to businesses-- we need to teach people to learn how to use these techniques themselves, even just a little bit at a time. I envision parents learning how to get involved in playing with their children, using techniques of warming-up and spontaneity development. (Imaginative play is also the best way to bond with kids so that discipline follows more naturally: When kids really enjoy being with their folks, they don't want their folks to be unhappy with them.) I imagine parents and spouses and friends becoming more empathic and communicating this more effectively to those they care about. Groups that know about tele and some of the principles of sociometry begin to more actively deal with their own group dynamics--how much might this be useful for teenagers in dealing with the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in school?

One of the implications of these ideas is that we need to work together, compare notes, share how we're being creative. That requires joining our national organization, or the psychodrama organizations in whatever country you live. Make it a point to attend the national conference, and maybe also a regional conference or one of the international conferences! Write papers about what you've discovered!  Get on the internet and check out the various websites that have opened up. Join one of the listservices, on psychodrama ("Grouptalk"), sociodrama or drama therapy. Make bridges with other professional organizations and other field. Open up a website of your own, and publish your own papers.

Psychodrama needs to be recognized as being more than just a powerful method for psychotherapy. It can be modified so that it's very useful in business, professional training, developing "people skills," in education, spiritual development, community building, promoting political awareness, as a form of socially relevant and healing theatre, etc. I'm especially intrigued with the way dramatic approaches can enhance the activities of social and emotional learning in the schools and for older folks, be used to promote a sense of personal meaning in life. Share with us how you're creating new variations and modifications. (It's not an orthodoxy with boundaries that mustn't be breached.)

Get involved organizationally. It's still small enough of a field, in spite of significant growth internationally, so that your efforts are needed. Without them, it could very well collapse. If you aren't satisfied with how things are being run, get involved and change them. Be aware of the temptation to project the fantasy that those who do get involved politically do so because of vaguely sinister or characterologically distorted power needs. As I say, check that--it may well be a projection! Why else would someone make the sacrifices needed to mix it up politically? Because mature adults realize that if we don't help it happen, it won't happen. Join! Write papers! Communicate via the internet and email! If somebody writes you a letter, answer it! Don't indulge yourself in the illusion that you're not needed--you are needed! And you have so much to offer! There aren't that many of us and the world is a big place.

Join the ASGPP and encourage your colleagues and students to join. If they've dropped out, talk to them about it. Only through union can there be strength. Professional identity--being recognized by others--requires such an organizational center. It's also the way to be with those who understand what you're talking about, and, if you dare to share yourself, will appreciate what you're doing. (That's one of the trials of being a pioneer with a relatively unfamiliar method.)

Check out the International Association of Group Psychotherapy (IAGP), and if you want to see their webpage, check this link to the International Psychodrama Network webpage or the International Association of Group Psychotherapy webpage.

Other Ideas

Here are some suggestions:

Make a website. Put on it what you want to people to know about you, so they can find you on the internet. This is a new form of what Moreno called "sociometry," allowing people greater freedom to choose each other according to natural preferences.

Give feedback to others about their websites and invite feedback on your own. Make revisions according to that feedback. (This also means that I'm wanting you to make suggestions about how I can improve this website!  Email me.)

Using the internet this way, as a tool for group cohesion, also expands your "acquaintance volume" and fosters connections--at first, based on finding your shared interests, "sociotelic" networking; and then, when you find some folks with whom you can have a lively exchange and you sense a personal rapport, some of these become "psyche-telic" connections.

Another way for developing a sense of connectedness and community, apart from attending conferences, is through the development of a photo directory, so that you can put together a face with the name. Sometimes I forget names, and hey, sometimes I even forget faces. I've initiated an effort in this direction, sending a diskette of scanned on photos to a colleague who's beginning to create a CD-ROM directory. We could use more help from anyone out there who also wants to foster this kind of group cohesion. (Email me if you're interested in helping.)

Other projects might include your helping to find hard-to-obtain books or creating local lending libraries. Over the last few years, the ASGPP has built a relationship with Mental Health Resources, a book service that comes to not only the national psychodrama conference, but also the drama therapy conference. Check them out for resources.

Encourage people to read some of the recently published books in the field. Good stuff is coming out! Check out the link mentioned and if you become aware of the need for corrections, please let me know!

Check your local used book stores, and if you find psychodrama-related books, as I occasionally have, buy them and re-sell them so they stay in circulation. Similarly, try to get books from those who are retiring or who have died and re-sell them, donate them, etc., to keep them in circulation.

Write Papers and Submit Them for Publication

About the challenge of writing for one of the professional journals: There are several published in other countries, also-- and in many fields, if one journal doesn't accept an article, the author submits it to another journal. Do not be discouraged!

There is the Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry; the  Journal of Creativity in Mental Health;  the Arts in Psychotherapy, the Journal of the British Psychodrama Association, and journals in Brazil, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, Australia/New Zealand, Japan, etc.

So write up your experiences! If you present to a conference, write up what you do.

If you work with a special population, write at least a brief report about what you've found works and what doesn't. If you modify a technique, write it up in detail. Role reverse with your readers, imagining yourself when you were only involved in the field for a year or two, what you might have read that could have helped you. (That's what I did in writing Acting-In back in 1971-2).

Don't worry about the editors acting as judges--that's a residue of your school years. Instead, imagine your readers, how much you may inspire, inform, perhaps even provoke them a little.

Find muses, ask your social network to support you, find allies, ask them to read your paper and make suggestions, use those suggestions, be prepared to re-write. If you are a good action person but hate writing, use a collaborator. Dictate ideas, have someone write them down, share authorship.

Keep in mind how much the world needs these tools, how people really need access to knowing how to role reverse, become more empathic, develop spontaneity, utilize their imaginations more effectively, and a score of other skills that psychodramatists come to take for granted. Recognize that we are a small, pioneering band, and there just isn't anyone else who can deliver this stuff to the next generation. The motto, "Noblesse Oblige" refers to the obligations of those favored by fate. We have a nobility of having been graced with a particularly rich heritage--a group of ideas and techniques that are really noble indeed, loving, promoting of responsibility, etc. So Write! Our journals need materials!

If you can, translate articles from other languages. Travel internationally to teach. Learn from the vital and stimulating developments in other countries. In many ways, the work overseas has surpassed the productivity of our own country's community.

Accept what Rudolf Dreikurs, the noted Adlerian, called "the courage to be imperfect." Give yourself permission to become involved without feeling that you need to have as much formal education and training as it seems others have. In the realm of politics--i.e., the art of the possible--building programs and doing all the thousand little things involved in making anything happen--often requires mainly initiative and what Woody Allen said: "Eighty per cent of life is just showing up."

For responses, email me at

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