Sociodrama, act hunger and the sociometric connection|
by Ann E. Hale, M.A.TEP
Sociometry question for training to be trainers|
Your training group has been engaged in practicing sociodrama methods.
A variety of hot topics have surfaced which have great impact on their
“citizen of the world”. The energy level of the group exceeds the
ability of many of the trainees to direct the action. Their
fellow trainees appear not to be able to follow instructions, listen,
or leave their high energy for role play. In response, you begin
a teaching session on act hunger, and spontaneity. Explain in
your answer the connection between sociometry and these two topics.
An answer suggested by Ann E. Hale, M.A., TEP March 30, 2006
events, both the local and global variety, can impact us and disturb us
in may ways. Watching or hearing the news of events seemingly out
of our control can call on the “citizen of the world”, a cluster of
roles in us which prompt us to seek ways to connect to the
situation. We have energy for our intention, for action follow
through, to connect with like-minded others. The strength of that
energy can lead us to some sort of action campaign. Other times
we let the energy subside through inaction or suppression. The
sudden possibility to explore one of these issues in a sociodrama
activates the act hunger to engage the topic, to have one’s say, to be
fully involved and contributing. Act hunger is an energetic state
focused intently on the striving for an act, to have relief from the
tension and undirected energy now that a focus for that energy has been
identified. The drive to act and engage fully is so strong that the
“observing ego” which monitors behavior falls away (or slacks
off). During the dramatic action a person can lose the boundary
between the separate reality of the sociodrama and the ongoing everyday
reality of the training setting, its existing norms, behaviors, and
In the situation described in the question, students are practicing the
sociodrama director role. In newly developed roles there is
anxiety present. The spontaneity level is lower as the person
works to learn the method in situ. The novice director is
attempting to balance their (1) anxiety, (2) their desire to do
well (the task) and (3) the pace and meaningfulness of the
action. His/her fellow trainees are so wound up and acting
up, out and in that the director’s feeling of adequacy caves
in. No one is listening to directions. Several scenes are
going on at once. The action appears reckless and unsafe.
And, they seem to be having great fun, which leaves the director
feeling even more distant and excluded. The director falls back
on an authoritarian role repertoire and gets a loud instrument and
blasts on it until the group stops the action.
Processing this event, the trainer talks about action denied and the
build up of tension from not having sufficient access to:
(1) roles of engagement in life; and (2) sufficient access to
specific social groups where one may join with others and engage issues
from a position of strength. The trainer presents the act hunger
as the burst of energy which comes from taking the cap off a container.
In this instance the container is a set of conserved roles and
behaviors which need to be explored and broadened to include access to
roles of the activist. In describing act hunger* the trainer
makes the point that the “observing ego” is not available in those
charged moments to safely and properly attend to the existing
sociometry of the group, even the relationship each has with the
director of the action. The trainer reviews Moreno’s Canon of
Creativity (Who Shall Survive, p. 46) and explains the energy the
trainees were experiencing was generated by leaving the conserved role
repertoire behind and building momentum for role playing and role
creating as activists. There was also tremendous energy generated
between group members who sparked the action offerings of one another.
Both of these experiences were indications that their warm-up for the
new roles of activist was supported by their spontaneity. A
possible conclusion for the sociodrama was discussed by the students
who chose the practical matter of identifying potential groups to
join. In sociometric terms this is “expanding the cultural atom”.
(Who Shall Survive, p.70.) Additional resources:
Sternberg, Patricia and Garcia, Antonina Sociodrama: Who’s in
your shoes? NY, Praeger, 1989. (which also includes a
discussion of act hunger in “The Sociometry of Social Chaos” by Ann E.
Hale, pages 174-175)
*When Moreno wrote about act hunger (Psychodrama, Vol 1, NY, Beacon
House, 1946, p.60-69) he referred to act hunger syndrome as it is
manifested in infants. The state is described by him as total
involvement in the act to the point that there is no capacity to
register the act, no observing ego. The infant relates to his/her
world as though all persons and objects are auxiliaries.
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Author: - Published on: 2006-04-15 (3446 reads)[ Go Back ]