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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This book presents the best and most important writings of J. L. Moreno in one concise and accessible place. This unique collection explores Moreno’s thought in developing psychodrama and sociometry, with his strong emphasis on spontaneity and creativity. The book discusses both basic and advanced concepts and techniques of psychodramatic treatment. Jonathan Fox introduces the book with a brief overview of Moreno’s life and ideas and places him in the context of his time and in the field of psychotherapy. Fox’s notes throughout underscore significant aspects of the selections for the practitioner and student. The essence of sociometry lies in the idea that groups have an internal life of their own and that this life can best be understood by examining the choices members make at any given moment with regard to each other. The book consists entirely of protocols that show Moreno at work directing psychodrama and sododrama, and contains autobiographical fragments. One of the basic instruments in constructing a patient’s psychodramatic world is that of the auxiliary ego, which is the representation of absentee individuals, delusions, hallucinations, symbols, ideals, animals, and objects. 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. All group methods have in common the need for a frame of reference for assessing the validity of their findings and applications. Spontaneity is often erroneously thought of as being more closely allied to emotion and actions than to thought and rest. 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.
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.
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.
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.