Further History Of Psychodrama

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Further History Of Psychodrama
(Compiled by Adam Blatner, M.D.)
(January 17, 2013)

First, please consider this (1) a work in progress; and (2) a plea for your help in establishing a further history of psychodrama beyond the story of Moreno, which can be found more completely elsewhere on this website and in my books, Acting In, Foundations of Psychodrama, and books being re-written for a broader audience. For these newer books, I’m taking out the chapter on the further history of psychodrama—most students won’t appreciate it and it’s information overload. But we need to keep this history. People who have made a contribution need to be recognized. There needs to be some place for this, and for now, let’s use this website. Perhaps in the long run this will then be given over to some national or international organization or website, or they’ll link to this.

Too many books write about history with two major distortions (not to mention here the minor ones): (1) Psychodrama is mainly a form of psychotherapy. (It has been, historically, used most often that way, but it really should be recognized as a set of concepts and techniques that, taken together, offer powerful tools for education, business, community-building, recreation, personal development, spiritual development, and many other functions, well beyond the medical model. Moreno always maintained this! (2) Just as in psychoanalysis there are thousands of people beyond Freud, so also there have been hundreds beyond Moreno who have extended his influence and built substantially upon Moreno’s work, sometimes adding important creative variations or elaborations of their own! These contributions need to be recognized! For this, saying it again, I need your help.

I’ve have made efforts to acknowledge other contributions in my books—especially, Foundations of Psychodrama. And much of that material is being posted below! I am not going to be including this material in hard copy form in future editions of my writings, because (1) I question whether beginning students need or want to know much of this information. (2) We live in an era of information overload and I no longer expect people to know facts that are not immediately relevant to their work. But (3), I believe this information should be made available for the few who want to deepen their roots by appreciating the history of the field. It seems, therefore, fitting that I post this material on a website. It’s also more available internationally and in a form in which errors can be more readily corrected—compared to the old medium of “hard copy.” (I don’t doubt that my great grandchildren may well ask the question, “what’s a ‘book’?)
So to this end, once again, I am asking for help from you, to make this a more participatory, collaborative effort. Please invite others who may be able to contribute something in this direction, also.
Further History
As I began to learn about psychodrama in the late 1960s, I discovered that there were no directories, no way of networking among people who shared this interest. Moreno had on occasion in his journals acknowledged lists of trainees and those who had been granted various level of “director” status, along with cities and states in which they lived at the time. However, most of these people dropped away, and it wasn’t easy to find the others who remained active. Still, I tried, was able to identify some and in 1970 in a privately produced book, I noted addresses of many of the pioneers in psychodrama at that time. Building on this, in the first edition of Acting-In, published in 1973 I noted the addresses of major training institutes. In later editions this was not easy as trainers kept moving and often didn’t announce their new address. In 1997, in the 3rd edition of Acting-In (in the edition published in the UK) I made a final effort to spread the word by publishing international addresses of people training in the field, as best as I could ascertain. Then came the internet and that made the whole process oh so much easier. So I stopped pursuing that direction.

Now I have this website and I’ve tried to honor our historical roots—not only Dr. & Mrs. Moreno, but other colleagues, too, through some website and photographs. It’s been difficult to get sufficient information about the people involved (at least to my satisfaction). Now here’s another chance: If you know more, have photos, scan them on and send them to me.

As for biographical material, for many of our pioneers each life could be a thick book. But all most readers want is just a reminder—who were they, what did they do, about 200-300 words maximum. That hardly does justice to all many have done, but on the other hand, not doing anything seems worse—the memory of the pioneer and his or her efforts disappears. So I’m trying to do something that is do-able—but I need your help! Tell us about your own work and the work or contributions of people you know. It might help to check out what I already have posted on my website under historical figures and psychodrama stages… http://www.blatner.com/adam/pdirec/index.htm

– John Casson in northeast England has done extensive research into examples of precursors to psychodrama; and also took note of the early dramatists and innovators in the realm of creative drama with children who worked in England and elsewhere early in the 20th century. He has some acknowledgment of advances in the UK after the 1970s. See:

– On the website http://www.blatner.com/adam/pdirec/hist/hist72.htm (Just google keywords psychodrama history figures and you’ll find some photos and brief summaries I’ve done of some of the pioneers in our field. Let’s add to this with photographs, give honor to our teachers.

I’m drawing the line at between 1995 – 2000 because the field has branched off and branched again, proliferating beyond what I can hope to accomplish, even with your help. Indeed, I’m not all that determined to cover everyone who entered the field after 1980, but I do want to note those who contributed before that.

On the ASGPP award site, http://www.asgpp.org/html/award_recipients.html Or google simply ASGPP awards, note the names. I’d like to see 100 -300 words about WHY this or that person was given that award—a little about what they did.

If you won an award, or you know someone else who did, please help in filling in this history. (Edit strongly! Don’t expect that I have the time to do that! And I’ll probably get it wrong if you leave it to me!)

If you helped psychodrama move forward, ever received an award, or know someone well who did—or should have—between 1940 – 2000, let’s let the next generation know about them: What did you or they do that should be acknowledged?

There’s a difference between bragging and acknowledging. I am going to dare draw a line at about 200 words. I’m reversing roles with a young psychodramatist who’s in training, and picturing a seminar with a senior trainer. Whose name should be well known or at least barely recognized.

What’s changed, of course, is that the field keeps growing internationally, especially through the 1990s through the present, so it’s no longer feasable to note everyone. Some people have poured in an extra-great amount of work, though, truly devoting themselves to our collective goal.

Example for myself:
Adam Blatner, google adam blatner website. Wrote major books about psychodrama, numerous articles and chapters in books; developed with his wife Allee the application of psychodrama for pure recreation, “The Art of Play,” built bridges with other approaches, expanded the theory to consider the underlying dynamics of “action explorations” (an umbrella category), indefatigable networker and promoter. That might be sufficient. Not too extensive, but some hint.

Websites help, but many of our pioneers in the 20th century haven’t known about this new medium and its potentials. Some have died before they could be given sufficient credit, and perhaps we can remember them a bit.
Further Historical Figures in Psychodrama
In the 2000 (4th) edition of Foundations of Psychodrama, I included acknowledgment of many of the pioneers of that approach in the world, and much of what follows was in that book. As far as I am aware, my Foundations book has been the only source that acknowledges these other pioneers, nationally and internationally. Now that the list of people earning ASGPP fellowships has been posted online, there’s more of this, but that list does not note who made their major contributions when. I’m working on correcting that.
Pioneers in the “First Generation” (following Moreno)

During the 1940s and 1950s, many professionals worked with Moreno in developing psychodrama, sociodrama, and sociometry in psychiatry, sociology, criminology, education, and other fields (Z. Moreno, 1966). Of these, a number continued to make significant contributions in writing and teaching for many years:

∙ Dean Elefthery (died 1979) and his wife Doreen, in Miami, pioneered the method in Europe. She continues. Dean also brought the method to panels at the American Psychiatric Association.

∙ Eugene Eliasoph died 2005? — was a major pioneer in New Haven, Connecticut.

∙ Jim Enneis (died @ 1989), in Washington, DC, at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, beginning in 1949, developed one of the most vigorous psychodrama training and treatment programs in the United States (Buchanan, 1981).

∙ Leon Fine (died 1994), in Portland, Oregon continued to offer training in the Northwest and nationally.

∙ Martin Haskell (died 1975) and his wife, Rochelle, in Long Beach, California emphasized applications in social contexts.

∙ Richard Korn (died @ 2000?) built bridges to the field of criminology and penology in Berkeley.

∙ Gretel Leutz has become one of the major pioneers of psychodrama in Europe, and has written some of the most widely used texts in German.

∙ Jim Sacks has written prolifically, organized bibliographies, trained extensively and also internationally, and worked actively in the ASGPP. Now retired in Chicago.

∙ Anne Ancelin Schützenberger has been one of the major pioneers of psychodrama in Europe. She has written influential books that have been translated into several languages.

∙ Hannah Weiner (died 1983) attracted many other professionals through the open sessions she conducted regularly in New York City.

∙ Lew Yablonsky, in the West Los Angeles area, has written about and adapted the method for use with various populations.

Other important figures in the field have included: ( A line or two about major contributions and periods of major activity would be appreciated!)
Max and Sylvia Ackerman Doris Twitchell Allen Robert Boguslaw Edgar Borgatta Eya Fechin Branham Anna and Nah Brind
Anthony Brunse Gertrude Harrow-Clemens Raymond J. Corsini Robert Drews Ernest Fantel Abel K. Fink
Robert Bartlett Haas Margaret Hagan Frances Herriott Abraham Knepler Gerald W. Lawlor Helen Hall Jennings
Rosemary Lippitt Joseph Mann Joseph I. Meiers Ellwood Murray
Walter E. O’Connell, integrated psychodrama with Adlerian ideas, promoted method in central Texas, died around 1990s.
Abel Ossorio Barbara Seabourne, worked with Lee Fine in St. Louis, wrote some important “how-to” papers that got me going in the field!
Nahum Shoobs Bruno Solby Adaline Starr Berthold Stovkis Israel E. Sturm
E. Paul Torrance , became a major pioneer of methods to promote creativity in education. Died around 2002?

Internationally, other pioneers who began to teach before 1960 included: Ferdinand Knobloch (Czechoslovakia and then Canada); Heika Straub (Germany); E. A. Carp (Netherlands); Daisaku Sotobayashi and Kohei Matsumura (Japan); and Jose Bustamante and Frisso Potts (Cuba).

In France, in the late 1940s, Serge Lebovici, René Diatkine, Mireille Monod, and others saw the potential of adapting psychodrama to psychoanalysis, the resulting approach being quite different from classical psychodrama (Anzieu, 1960). Lebovici was very respected, later becoming president of the International Psychoanalytic Association. Their approach was first used with a team of trained auxiliaries and a single patient and was applied primarily in the treatment of children (Schützenberger, 1998). This approach and variations also spread to South America, Spain, Croatia, and other countries. Other leaders of psychoanalytic psychodrama included René Kaes, Evelyne Kestemberg, Daniel Widlocher, and others, some of whom evolved variations in their approach.
The Second Phase (Became active between 1960 – 1975)

∙ Dale Richard Buchanan, at the St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., carried on Enneis’ tradition in maintaining one of the most active training programs and really the only actual paid “internship” in the field! Then he took on an executive role in developing and maintaining the professional certification Board of Examiners, which continues through the present.

∙ Sandra Garfield in Los Angeles, has organized a network for integrating psychodrama and psychoanalysis.

∙ Elaine Goldman moved from Chicago to Phoenix and established an institute there in the early 1970s. Retired in the 1990s.

Other trainers who developed ongoing centers operating before 1975 included:
Elaine Sachnoff, in Chicago
Ildri and (the late) Robert Ginn in the Boston area (Ildri died @2007?)
Tobi Klein in Montreal
John Nolte in the Midwest Peter Rowan, also in Boston, associated with Lesley College. died @1995?
G.Douglas Warner in Maryland died 1995?
∙ Ann Hale wrote her seminal book on sociometry and served in many roles: maintaining, energizing, developing, and teaching.
∙ Carl Hollander served as a major training focus in Colorado. He has been a mentor for a number of third generation psychodramatists, and has exerted a leadership role in the ASGPP.
died ?1995?
∙ Marcia Karp moved from the United States to England in the early 1970s and, though there were some precursors in terms of occasional workshops given by others, she established psychodrama there. She continues to train there and also travels to other European countries. She married the artist, Ken Sprague, and they have often conducted training as a team.
Ken died ?1999?
∙ David Kipper has served as a major force promoting research, re-thinking theory, fostering the ASGPP, networking with the international community, and editing the journal.
Born in Israel, died in late 2010, was a most active editor of our journal, and made many other contributions.

∙ Donnell Miller continues to write and teach in Southern California.

∙ Neville Murray presented symposia and courses on psychodrama at the annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association until his death in the early 1980s. He also taught psychodrama in San Antonio. (Adam Blatner carried on the APA courses for another decade.)

∙ Dorothy Satten taught first in Los Angeles and later (with her husband, Mort Satten) expanded her teaching throughout the Western United States and overseas.

∙ Robert Siroka began in the early 1960s to help organize the conferences. In the 1970s, his group heroically maintained the many functions of the ASGPP, including organizing conferences, putting out the journal, and continuing one of the major training centers.

∙ Tom Treadwell developed the only graduate program in an academic setting with a focus on psychodrama. He has been a major editor of the journal and has helped the field get “on-line.”

During the 1960s and early 1970s, there were a number of other psychodramatists in the United States who, though not establishing large training programs, nevertheless made significant contributions: ( A line or two about major contributions and periods of major activity would be appreciated!)
George Baaklini Shirley Barclay … taught in Texas and for a while in the Seattle area
Alton Barbour retired after a stroke around 2008? Adam Blatner Sheila Blume (addictions work) Peggy Cheatham
Don Clarkson Claire Danielsson Adele Deeths von Rüst-McCormick Robert Flick
Jonathan Fox Robert Fuhlrodt Anath Garber George Gazda Meg Uprichard Givnish
Shirlee Gomer Rivka Green Ira Greenberg Claude Guldner Joe Hart
Paul Hurewitz Eva Leveton Jonathan D. Moreno George W. Morris Ray Naar (Pittsburgh)
Anthony Del Nuovo (San Diego) Jean Peterson Joseph Power Barbara Seabourne
Howard Seeman Ellen Siroka Diana Sucich David Swink Jane Taylor
Sharon Hollander Thomas James VanderMay Diana Villasenor Jack Ward Allan Wickersty Steve Wilson Jill Winer
International Pioneers
Internationally, a number of pioneers became most active in teaching in the 1960s. Especially notable are:

∙ Jaime Rojas-Bermudez, who was one of the more active teachers in Argentina, Brazil, and later, Spain.

∙ Dalmiro Bustos, who also taught widely in Argentina, Spain, and elsewhere in South America and Europe, has been active in the International Association for Group Psychotherapy.

∙ Max and Lynette Clayton were the main teachers in the early years in Australia and New Zealand, and they continue to teach actively.

∙ Pierre Fontaine has helped to spread psychodrama in Belgium and later was one of the founders of FEPTO.

∙ Ella Mae Shearon, originally from the United States, has an institute in Cologne (Koln), Germany, and also teaches in the United States and elsewhere.

Major pioneers in Brazil included Pierre Weill, Alfredo Correia Soeiro, Iris Soares de Azevedo, Jose Manuel D’Alessandro, and Antonio Carlos Cesarino.

Others internationally who began to teach psychodrama before 1975 and deserve to be mentioned include: Ferdinand Cuvelier, Belgium Erich Franzke, Sweden Hans Hoff, Vienna Hajime Mashino, Japan Joke Meillo, Holland Ferenc Merei, Hungary Hilarion Petzold, Germany Andreas Ploeger, Germany Monica Zuretti, Argentina George Vasiliou, Greece
Since Moreno’s passing in 1974, hundreds of people have become trainers of psychodrama and made significant contributions to the field. These are too numerous to mention, of course, but they include among their numbers many of the current leaders in the field.

Psychodrama has been growing as a therapeutic method in a number of countries, with especially large communities in Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Great Britain, and, of course, the United States, and substantial communities in Australia Austria Belgium Finland France Hungary Israel Italy Japan Korea Netherlands New Zealand Norway Portugal Spain Sweden Switzerland

As of 2000, there were smaller but still growing groups in: Bolivia Bulgaria Equador Estonia Greece Ireland Latvia Macedonia Paraguay Slovenia Taiwan (R.O.C) Turkey
Some of these may have dropped away and new institutes have arisen in Chile etc.

(Compiled by Adam Blatner, M.D.)