The Most Influential Psychiatrist of a 20th Century Might Be Someone You’ve …
November 5, 2014 - accent chair
One hundred years ago, a 23-year-old University of Vienna medical tyro attended a harangue by Professor Sigmund Freud. It was a dream analysis. As a students filed out of a harangue hall, a famous psychoanalyst asked a immature student, after famous as J.L. Moreno, what kind of work he was doing. “Well, Dr. Freud,” he replied, “I start where we leave off. You accommodate people in a synthetic environment of your office. we accommodate them on a travel and in their home, in their healthy surroundings. You investigate their dreams. we give them a bravery to dream again.”
This unusually conceited response by an opposite medical tyro to a renowned highbrow foreshadowed a life of a inclusive dignitary whose ideas are so pervasive that they opposition those of Freud himself in their change on a time.
I’ll acknowledge a disposition here. J.L. — who died in 1974 on his 85th birthday — was my dad, and I’ve customarily published a book about his life and work, Impromptu Man: J.L. Moreno and a Origins of Psychodrama, Encounter Culture, and a Social Network. But we consider a contribution bear me out.
Do we suffer improvisational theater? J.L. is suspicion to be a initial museum executive to ask for assembly suggestions for a expel to act out. Were we creeped out by Peter Lorre in “The Maltese Falcon” or “Casablanca”? J.L. detected him in his initial museum in Vienna and gave him his theatre name (It was Ladislaw Lowenstein — tough to fit on a marquee.) Ever finished purpose personification as partial of a category or to ready for a pursuit interview? J.L. was doing that in a 1920s during R.H. Macy. Visited a doctor? Chances are she schooled how to promulgate with patients regulating purpose playing. So did some hearing lawyers.
Ever been in therapy where we took opposite roles? J.L. started a therapy he called psychodrama, where he came adult with techniques like a dull chair, purpose reversal, and a mirror. Or maybe you’ve been in organisation therapy or seen it in a TV show? J.L. was a initial chairman to use that term, in 1932. Have we checked out your Facebook friends’ network? J.L. was sketch those graphs during places like Sing Sing Prison and in schools in a early 1930s. He called them sociograms. Now amicable networks are a thought behind some of a many successful companies in a world. Have we beheld how reporters like to talk psychologists to investigate customarily about everything? J.L. competence have been a initial media “mental expert” in a 1930s, when a Associated Press organised for him to talk heavyweight boxers and their trainers and envision a outcome of a large fights. The fighting press fell in adore with a blue-eyed, sandy-haired cringe with a Viennese accent. He likely many matches and was never wrong.
J.L. even left his symbol on screening and training spies. His impetuosity techniques were adopted by a Office for Strategic Services during World War II. Naval aviators are still comparison formed on contrast for care skills that he pioneered, and U.S. Secret Service agents are lerned for warrant negotiations regulating psychodrama.
It sounds crazy though I’ve customarily scratched a surface. Take a elementary example. We customarily consider of Woody Allen as rapt with Freud, and it’s loyal his highly-strung impression creates a lot of jokes about psychoanalysis. But if we demeanour during what he indeed does in his cinema instead of what he talks about, you’ll see there’s a lot of pithy purpose playing. In “Bananas,” his would-be insubordinate frantically plays his possess purpose and that of a counsel cross-examining him. In “Annie Hall” his girlfriend, played by Diane Keaton, has a “double” (another J.L. technique) who says what she’s unequivocally meditative about her boyfriend’s passionate demands.
These witty elements are no accident. Many actors and comedians like Alan Alda were devotees of psychodrama in a 1960s. Just a integrate of years ago, Tina Fey told The New Yorker that she did a march of psychodrama. Joy Behar, former horde of “The View,” has had her possess psychodrama organisation for 30 years. Woody Allen himself attended J.L.’s open psychodrama sessions in New York’s Upper West Side and used them to assistance him rise his schlemiel character.
Come to consider of it, J.L. was a impression like Zelig who popped adult all over a place. But distinct Zelig, he left a conspicuous route of ideas that altered a universe as most as his challenging highbrow in Vienna.
Jonathan D. Moreno teaches medical ethics and story of scholarship during a University of Pennsylvania and is a comparison associate during a Center for American Progress.