by Judith Teszáry

swedenThis year FEPTO celebrates 25 years. Out of 40 founding members 6 came from Sweden, Ingrid Göransson, Göran Högberg, Eva Fahlström Borg, Eva Karin Ström, Judith Teszáry and Monica Westberg. We were all active in the dynamic period of ”new” psychiatry and psychotherapy in 1970.
With the introduction of new psychotropic medication for disorders such  as Psychosis new ways of treating patients began. Or rather, it inspired psychiatry not to ”treat” patients with methods such as heavy medication, insulin therapy, electro-convulsive therapy and lobotomy – where the patients were seen as objects. Therapeutic communities were built, in England, Sweden and elsewhere, inspired by pathfinders such as R. D. Laing, Thomas Szasz , Michel Foucault, Erving Goffman, David Cooper, who coined the concept, anti-psychiatry, in which the patient would assume his role as a subject (actor owning his own actions)– capable of expressing himself through body, art, music and theatre. Also influenced by linguistics –introducing the concept of ”neo-linguistics” NLP. This kind of healing needed new kind of training of psychiatric staff. Dr J.L. Moreno´s theory and practice was now received with great interest. Many of these movements were inspired and influenced by J.L. Moreno who had an important input in the field of social-psychology, as described in Jonathan Moreno’s book: The Impromptu Man.

The oppressive, authoritarian and unequal power relation between doctor and patient was deconstruct- ed and changed into a more equal relation, where the patient was an active part of their treatment as opposed to the passive receiving of sometimes harmful old fashioned therapies.

Psychodrama was a very popular method in the area of Anti Psychiatry movement. Psychodrama and Moreno’s philosophy was perfectly suited to this new awakening. The theories and methods of Carl Rogers, Erving Goffman, Foucault, Szasz were taught, at the departments of psychology and pedagogy at the universities, as well as J.L Moreno theory of sociometry. Family therapy developed by the famous Italian therapists such as Checin, Boscolo, Palazzoli, Minuchin, was being taught to people in Sweden. Almost all kinds of trainee therapists experienced psychodrama. Psychodramatists went to Gestalt workshops, or  to Daniel Casriels’ Identity therapy, and to George Downing’s Integrative Body Therapy, as well as Arthur Janov’s Primal Therapy.

In the 1970, 80s and 90s Sweden was blessed by workshops and training from the Moreno nucleus – Dr. Grete Leutz, Dr. Anne Anceline Schützenberger and of Zerka Moreno, Dr. Monica Zuretti and  Marcia Karp. From Holland came Dean and Doreen Eleftery and from US Dick Horn and Ella-Mae Shearon. From Argentina Jaime Rojas Bermudez and Dalmiro Bustos. Other great psychodramatists enriched the Swedish Psychodrama scene during this period of time.

The first Swedish training carried out by Swedish trainers was started within the Swedish Psychodrama Association and later on the Psychodrama Academy was founded by Monica Westberg, Ingrid Göransson and Göran Högberg. Acting in, a book by Blatner was translated.

Uppsala Psychodrama Institute was started by Eva Fahlström and Kerstin Buckley.  Followed by other psychodrama training institutes, such as Swedish Psychodrama School by Kerstin Jurdell and SISU – Stiftelsen for Social Development by Göran Högberg, with a Scandinavian touch, having training weeks with students from different Scandinavian countries. All of the above are members of FEPTO.

The Swedish Psychodrama Association, a broad organisation welcoming and supporting members, and people who were interested in psychodrama. It became apparent there was a need for a new organisation in order to protect the needs of professional psychodramatists: Sweden’s Association of Psychodramatists came into force. (1993)

All the members of the LOC are members of this association. SAP is involved as partner in an Erasmus+ program about the development and dissemination of Sociodrama, helping youth workers to learn skills and apply the method in their work.

In South Sweden Leif Dag Blomquist, who was the first Swede to complete his training in Beacon, started a training for those who had participated in different workshops with Dick Corn, Dean and Doreen Eleftery, Bob and Ildri Gin in order to formalize their training by providing supervision of their practice, and training and theory seminars. They built the Swedish Moreno Institute. After a couple of years part of  the trainers separated and built Stockholm Institute for Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group psychotherapy. (Kate Tauvon)

Later; by the initiative of Leif Dag Blomqvist the Nordic Board of Examiners was created based on the original American model. Stating that all psychodramatists should learn from the original Moreno writings. Any student who’s institute was a member of the Nordic Board could apply for TEP title on successful completion of examination. Their member institutes at that time came mostly from Finland and Norway.

The 70s and 80s and a part of 90s were a time when Psychodrama was at its peak in Sweden. Psychiatry, unfortunately, has lost it´s creative, innovative mood. On a positive note patients are now taking power in the general view of their own treatment. They have implicit right to their own ”Recovery Plan”. ”The users evaluation” is a tool which is empowering the individual.

As supervisors – many of us have found Psychodrama is the quick road to train social workers, foster parents etc…

We recognise that at present in Sweden there are less professionals who fully train in psychodrama it is of little concern to the organisation as – the methods of psychodrama, sociometry and sociodrama are disseminated and applied in almost every higher education, social care, clinical setting, organisational, supervision, and conflict management under the assumed names of: action methods, role-playing, scenario play, simulation, and so on.


FEPTO Conference

17th FEPTO Conference:
From External Violence to Internal Shadow: When Psychodrama Helps To
Confront Reality

5th to 7th of May, 2023
Liege, Belgium

» Invitation

» Provisionally program

» Call for workshop facilitators

» Online registration


Annual Meeting

29th FEPTO AM:
Spontaneity and Creativity in the Transforming World
30 years of FEPTO and beyond

7th to 11th of May, 2023
Liege, Belgium

» Invitation

» Provisionally program

» Online registration



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