Sociometry, a relatively new science developed gradually since the World War of 1914-1918, aims to determine objectively the basic structure of human societies. The field work of sociometry was started with small sections of human society, spontaneous groupings of people, groups of individuals at different age levels, groups of one sex, groups of both sexes, institutional and industrial communities. From the point of view of a descriptive sociometry, the social atom is a fact, not a concept, just as in anatomy the blood vessel system, for instance, is first of all a descriptive fact It attained conceptual significance as soon as the study of the development of social atoms suggested that they have an important function in the formation of human society. The introduction of sociornetric procedure, even to a very small community, is an extremely delicate psychological problem.
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A simple illustration of sociornetric technique is the grouping of children in a dining room. The technique of letting girls place themselves works out to be impracticable. It brings forth difficulties which enforce arbitrary, authoritative interference with their wishes, the opposite principle from the one which was intended a free, democratic, individualistic process. The best possible relationship available within the structure of interrelations defines the optimum of placement. This is the highest reciprocated choice from the point of view of the girl. The factors entering into sociometric assignment are numerous the psychological organization of every cottage, the sociometric saturation point for minority groups within them, the social history of the new girl, to mention a few. The greater the original affinity between the newcomer and the prominent members of the group the better will the newcomer be accepted by the whole group.
The psychodramatic realizations of suicidal or homicidal fantasies may give courage and prepare a patient to carry out the suicide in life itself. Such a patient may be already warmed up to the near action point when the treatment begins. The psychodramatist has to have, besides telic sensitivity, knowledge of the codes of alcoholics and drug addicts, as well as of prisoners in prison, in order to approach them effectively. Psychodrama and group psychotherapy are two independent developments. Contrary to unsophisticated opinion, psychodrama is the broader classification. Individual, “a deux", psychodrama is possible; it is an accepted and valuable form of psychotherapy, but obviously “individual” group psychotherapy is a contradiction. Individual psychodrama may be combined with psychodramatic group treatment in such cases where certain types of problems are not suitable for group revelation or when the patient feels the level of acceptance is not compatible.
One of the greatest of the methodological difficulties which the social sciences have had to face has been the discrepancy between verbalized behavior and behavior in life situations. The more fundamental and central a situation or relationship may be in family and marriage relationships for the individuals concerned, the greater is the social tension if such discrepancy arises. Psychodramatic procedure establishes a number of typical situations which are standardized for use in the various relationships which come under observation. These situations, of course, are based upon actual psychodramatic experience with many married couples. Psychodramatic treatment of marriage problems has emphasized the importance of the part played by hidden roles in the personalities of the two partners. Many cases of failure have been noted in which the cause could be traced to the emergence of the role, at a time which may be even years after the wedding.
This chapter discusses psychodrama to sociometry. The psychodramatic method uses mainly five instruments the stage, the subject or actor, the director, the staff of therapeutic aides or auxiliary egos, and the audience. Reality and fantasy are not in conflict, but both are functions within a wider sphere the psychodramatic world of objects, persons, and events. Delusions and hallucinations are given flesh and an equality of status with normal sensory perceptions. The architectural design of the stage is made in accord with operational requirements. The locus of a psychodrama, if necessary, may be designated anywhere, wherever the subjects are, the field of battle, the classroom, or the private home, but the ultimate resolution of deep mental conflicts requires an objective setting, the psychodramatic theatre. The psychodramatic approach deals with personal problems principally and aims at personal catharsis; the sociodramatic approach deals with social problems and aims at social catharsis.
The new era is one of multiple innovations which have set the pace for the developments in psychiatry. The theories of interpersonal relations, micrasociology, and sociometry and the theories of the encounter, spontaneity, and creativity have opened up vast areas of research in psychiatry, social psychology, and social anthropology. New methods of therapy group psychotherapy, psychodrarna, sociodrama, psychosomatic medicine, and psychopharmacology have been introduced. The ideas of the therapeutic society, therapeutic community, and the “open door” of prisons and mental hospitals are beginning to replace the older coercive methods of the management of prisoners and mental patients. A new body of theory has developed in the last thirty years which aims to establish a bridge between psychiatry and the social sciences; it tries to transcend the limitations of psychoanalysis and behaviorism by a systematic investigation of social phenomena. One of the most significant concepts in this new theoretical framework is the role concept.
Spontaneity is a readiness of the subject to respond as required. It is a condition a conditioning of the subject, a preparation of the subject for free action. Thus freedom of a subject cannot be attained by an act of will. It grows by degrees as the result of training in spontaneity. Spontaneity is a biological value as well as a social value. Historically there have been two avenues which led to the psychodramatic view of catharsis. The one avenue led from the Greek drama to the conventional drama of today, and with it went the universal acceptance of the Aristotelian concept of catharsis. The other avenue led from the religions of the East and the Near East. In the Greek situation the process of mental catharsis was conceived as being localized in the spectator a passive catharsis.
This chapter provides general introduction to Moreno’s ideas, designed for the newcomer to the field. The objective of psychodrama was, from its inception, to construct a therapeutic setting which uses life as a model, to integrate into it all the modalities of living, beginning with the universals time, space, reality, and cosmos down to all the details and nuances of life. Man lives in time past, present, and future. He may suffer from a pathology rekted to each. The problem is how to integrate all three dimensions into significant therapeutic operations. It is not sufficient that they figure as “abstract” references; they must be made alive within treatment modalities. The psychological aspect of time must reappear in toto. Freud, an exponent of genetic psychology and psychobiology, found going back and trying to find the causes of things of particular interest.