around Europe in sixty days.
April - May 2000.
Psychodrama in Europe is developing nicely. Upon the completion
(yesterday) of a visit to four European countries; Italy, England,
Germany and Turkey, I can reassure you that psychodrama in these
countries is employed enthusiastically by hundreds of practitioners
in many areas of society. Here is a short report of my experiences
during trips to these countries during the last two months. I was
invited to give workshops and attend congresses on conflict
management and on individual and collective traumatization.
First, I gave a workshop at the Scuola di Psicoterapia Della
C.O.I.R.A.G. in Torino (Italy) where Maurizio Gasseau and Wilma
Scategni have developed a unique style of Jungian psychodrama in
which people are enacting their dreams. A large group of enthusiastic
students are studying both analytical group psychotherapy and
psychodrama in its various forms. I got a glimpse of Italian culture.
Second, the British Psychodrama Association seems to be in a good
phase of "spreading the word" to new areas of the country, including
the north and Ireland. With an unusual awareness in social realities
and a good basis in psychoanalytic theories, they seem to have much
to teach the rest of the psychodrama world. I conducted a sociodrama
on diversity in the large group and was a disappointment for those
who expected a superstar psychodramatist but got only a simple
Kellermann. Later, I gave a workshop in the south with Marcia Karp
and Ken Sprague who continue to give inspiration from their Hoewell
center. Their personal and professional contribution to psychodrama
is surely unique. I got a glimpse of British (Victorian) culture.
Third, while there is less demand for psychodrama in Germany than it
used to be, this is probably the most densely populated
psychodramatist country in Europe. Grete Leutz and colleagues have
been and are still working hard to make psychodrama more acceptable
in mainstream psychotherapy and psychiatry. A new generation of very
capable trainers has taken over some of the work. I had come to
Berlin to give a workshop and present a keynote paper at the German
DAGG group psychotherapy congress, 4-7 May 2000, chaired by Jorg
Burmeister on "Conflict and Solidarity Within and Between Groups."
I got a glimpse of German culture ("Das Deutsche"...).
Finally, Turkey is blossoming with trainers and practitioners in all
major cities. They held their 25th international congress of group
psychotherapies with about 400 participants in Aesculapion-Bergamon
with many speakers from all over the world. Though frail by illness
and age, professor Abdulkadir Ozbek still attended some activities
and he sung a song of love at the farewell party. In Istanbul, Deniz
Altinay and Nese Karabekir have opened a flourishing psychodrama
institute in which I gave a short workshop and together with Arsalus
Kayir, we visited the earthquake area and her women's group there.
I got a glimpse of Turkish culture.
As you can imagine, each and every one of these trips was personally
satisfying, emotionally overwhelming and professionally instructive
for me. Since I lately am more occupied with culture and collective
traumatization, I was filled with an urgent need to understand as
much as possible about the social or collective unconscious in the
people-as-a-whole as manifested in each place. Sociodrama and
psychodrama are surely effective frameworks for focusing both on
diversity and similarity between all of us. The psychological
consequences of man-made and natural traumas were everywhere; war,
loss and grief seem to be the common predicament of the human race.
What is the reason for the fantastic growth of psychodrama in Europe
and around the world during the last decade? I think the reason is
very simple; we have the "real thing." People are easily convinced
that our emphasis on spontaneity and acting out in the here-and-now
is what life is all about and what helps people who have experienced
tragic life events. In addition, our work is "integrative" meaning
that it includes a focus on the individual and on society, on
feelings and thoughts and behaviour, as well as on the interpersonal
realm, and on God, the Spirit, on rituals, etc. As a result,
psychodramatists in all parts of the world are engaged in projects
that help make this a better world to live in. When helping people to
work through their individual traumatic experiences and at the same
time make the group-as-a-whole more aware of the collective ones, we
can be tremendously resourceful in acting as "bridges" between people
from everywhere. It is my hope that the present psychodrama internet
network can be a small step in supporting such "bridging".
I look forward meeting you all soon in Jerusalem on August 20.
Peter Felix Kellermann