The problems of industry are not merely those of machines, of technological processes, or of scientific engineering. An industrial conflict of various sorts is to be found merely in the definition of the dichotomous interests. The problem is one of human relationships the focus of attention must be on interpersonal relationships. It is for this reason that sociometry, which has grown out of clinical practice on human relationships, is so well adapted to needs of the scientists and clinicians working in the industrial situation. The interest in human relationships in industry on a large scale is rather recent. While economists wrote on the problem generations ago, while industrial psychologists have claimed a discipline for a generation, and while sociologists have been interested in group structure for half a century, the focus of attention by many disciplines in any concerted way has come about only in the last seventeen years.
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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.
The sociometric test requires an individual to choose his associates for any group of which he is or might become a member. The sociometric test is an instrument which examines social structures through the measurement of the attractions and repulsions which take place between the individuals within a group. In the area of interpersonal relations people often use more narrow designations, as “choice” and “rejection". Sociometry in communities and the psychodrama in experimental situations make a deliberate attempt to bring the subjects into an experimental state which will make them sensitive to the realization of their own experiences and action patterns. This conditioning of the subjects for a more total knowledge of their social situation is accomplished by means of the processes of warming up and by learning to summon the degree of spontaneity necessary for a given situation.
The late arrival of group psychiatry and group psychotherapy has a plausible explanation when we consider the development of modern psychiatry out of somatic medicine. In a particular group a subject may be used as an instrument to diagnose and as a therapeutic agent to treat the other subjects. The doctor as the final source of mental therapeusis has failed. Sociometric methods have demonstrated that therapeutic values are scattered throughout the membership of the group. One patient can treat the other. The role of the healer has changed from the owner and actor of therapy to its assigner and trustee. But as long as the agent of psychotherapy was a particular, special individual, a doctor or a priest, the consequence was that he was also the medium of therapy as well as the catalyzer of healing power.
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.