VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF PSYCHODRAMA.
messages from worldwide psychodramatists
Dear participants of the Psychodrama-Section of the IAGP!
Working in China is the realization of a dream I have had since I started
psychodrama training with Zerka Moreno sixteen years ago. I began working
in Asia as a psychodramatist at the 3rd Pacific Rim Congress of the IAGP in
September 1993 when I conducted a workshop on "Spontaneity and Creativity:
An integration of East and West Healing Processes". I was also invited to
present psychodrama workshops at the Beijing Medical University and at the
Nanjing Brian Hospital early in October, 1993.
My work in China helped me to absorb and learn more about Chinese culture
and its ancient healing methods. I am privileged to have had the
opportunity to study with masters of many forms of traditional Chinese
medicine. I have incorporated much of these ancient methods in my
approach to psychological and emotional healing. I am excited about the
possibility of introducing the IAGP community to a form of group
psychotherapy that truly integrates music, Qi Gong, painting and psychodrama.
Moreno's Theories and Chinese Medicine: Moreno's notion of spontaneity and
creativity is congruent with the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism and
with the philosophical and medicinal knowledge of Yi Jing (the Book of
Changes), which has a 8,500-year history. The Taoist philosopher, Lao Tzu,
referred to spontaneity this way:
Man's standard is Earth,
Earth's standard is Heaven.
Heaven's standard is Tao.
Tao's standard is the spontaneous ( tzu Jan )
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching quoted in Fung Yu-Lan, A History of Chinese
Philosophy, Vol. 1: Princeton, NJ., Princeton University Press, 1952, p. 187).
Naturalness, openness and being one with the creative process of nature is
The Universe as an Organism: Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners
believe that all living beings are connected and that the universe is
nothing but a living organism. This interconnected organic whole is seen
as a macrocosm and the human body a microcosm in which the psyche, the soma
and the spirit are all interconnected parts of the whole organism. All
living beings are propelled by Qi, the life energy towards intrapersonal
integration, interpersonal and transpersonal harmony. Although this life
energy is an invisible, insubstantial element, it permeates the entire
universe, embracing, surrounding and penetrating all living beings. With
practice this invisible, insubstantial element, in the form of sound,
magnetic wave, light, heat, spirit, ( the Qi field), can be transformed
into a solid mass sustaining and energizing the body. Conversely, the
visible element, such as body fluid, can be transformed into Qi, that can
exit and enter the body and produce healing.
Painting: Traditional Chinese painting has its basis in the philosophy of
Taoism. It has been used as a spiritual exercise to foster spontaneity and
creativity. It has never been separated from the Tao of living. It
expresses the Harmony of Heaven and Earth, an expression of the essence of
an authentic person, the manifestation of spiritual reality. Its process
transforms an inner experience into a visible form. The Chinese paper
records every tiny touch of the brush, even a drop of water. Once a drop
is on the paper, it will leave its mark forever. Consequently one is
obliged to concentrate fully. One also learns that life is like a brush
stroke; once done, it cannot be erased, it cannot be covered up, but it can
be developed into new forms. Since the medium is so sensitive, one must be
relaxed and be totally here and now in order to paint.
Music: According the Ancient Chinese medical theories that the Five
musical notes correspond to the five Yin organs, and the Twelve Rhythms
open up the twelve energy channels in the body. Ancient Chinese leaders
were known to have used music to subdue enemy troops. Various musical notes
were used to cure various diseases. A specific instrument and its sound
waves were used to massage and penetrate a certain major organ in the body
in order to cure a specific disease. For example, the sound waves of a
wood instrument massage the liver, and help to cure diseases such as
anxiety, insomnia and various disease caused by the energy imbalance in
the liver. The concept of balancing the yin and yang opposites is
essential in dealing with human emotions. The ancient Chinese physician
induced anger in a patient to cure the person's sadness.
Qi Gong: Qi Gong is one of the traditional Chinese healing methods. It
is a form of breathing, visualization and centering exercise/movement that
helps to eliminate the toxins in the body in exchange for the positive and
nurturing Qi from the cosmos. It helps to balance the yin and yang
elements in the body, the mind and the spirit. It promotes healthy
intrapersonal, interpersonal, and transpersonal relations. Its goal is to
create universal peace and harmony. This form of health promoting exercise
has been practiced in China for over 8,500 years.
These ancient Chinese concepts and healing methods are essential to my
therapeutic practice. The integration of these healing processes and
psychodrama proves to be a powerful and successful venture.
Although my home base is in the United States where I established the St.
Louis Center for Psychodrama and Sociometry (currently the Center for
Creative Development) in St. Louis, Missouri, my work in psychodrama has
taken me to many ports. During the past six years I have been working in
Asia where I created the International Zerka Moreno Institute. Originally
it was named the Chinese Zerka Moreno Institute inaugurated by Zerka
herself on August 6. 1996. On that day there were 500 participants
attending the open session. There was also the historical moment of doing
a psychodrama atop the Great Wall of China. Historically the Great Wall
was built to prevent foreign invaders. To do a psychodrama session there
created the symbolic bridge between "the Eastern and Western worlds". The
participants of this historical event consisted of psychodramatists from
Holland, Finland, Brazil, Canada, Taiwan, the People's Republic of China
and the United States of America. During the process the group joined
hands and invoked the spirit of J. L. Moreno. On October 10, 1997 Zerka
Moreno and I were each awarded the certificate of Honorary Mental Health
Consultant by Nanjing Brain Hospital. I have also conducted successful
training workshops in Ghana, West Africa, Bulgaria, Finland and Norway. In
1998, I began to do training work in Malaysia as well. The students there
are Chinese descendents and they speak Mandarin, so I had no difficulty
communicating with them.
My work in Asia has been continuously expanding. In Taiwan the Department
of the Interior has sponsored a workshop for me to train social workers
dealing with the problem of victims of sexual abuse. There are also plans
to work with the perpetrators. The Department of Education has sponsored
an open session for school counselors of all the colleges and universities.
The one day workshop, limited to three hundred participants, was full.
This summer in Taiwan I will have three growth groups and two training
groups. I will also begin to work with a group of the religious on
psychospiritual integration. In addition, I will be working with a group
of middle school counselors, teachers and principals on prevention and
intervention of antisocial behaviors.
I am looking forward to seeing you again at the Jerusalem conference in 2000.
Center for Creative Development
7332 Princeton Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63130, USA