The Jacob & Zerka Moreno Foundation


Exploring Relationships with Ourselves, the Other

and our Communities

Using Psychodrama Action Techniques

The Moreno Foundation

The Jacob and Zerka Moreno Foundation for Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy, Inc. (Foundation) is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing the use of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy and the dissemination of theory, research and best practices; supporting the American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama (ASGPP) and the American Board of Examiners for Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy (ABE) and other organizations to spread the legacy of the theory and practice of Jacob and Zerka Moreno; and broadening and deepening the sociometry of our community.

Our mission is to advance the use of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy, originally developed by Jacob and Zerka Moreno, and ensure the Moreno legacy of psychodrama, sociometry, and group psychotherapy through:

  • Providing an expanded educational program with a sliding scale for participants
  • Scholarships for psychodrama and sociometry training, so that every student who wants training can participate in conferences and workshops
  • Supporting research and  publishing, including the Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy
  • Collaboration with ASGPP, AGPA and other organizations to supplement organizational and conference expenses, and encourage psychodrama presentations in their conference programming
  • Offering community outreach, such as the current initiative “July 4th Tragedy: Help and Healing in Highland Park”
Providing a focus on fundraising for these and other projects

Psychodrama is a specialized creative therapy technique, a powerful and effective tool for creating growth and change.

EXAMPLES OF PSYCHODRAMA: The experience of freedom and creativity, the achievement of the therapeutic process of growth and change, is effectively created through psychodrama action techniques. Actual examples include:

Creative Therapy and Psychodrama

While traditional psychotherapy relies largely on verbal communication, the genre of creative therapy conveys experience, difficult or impossible to fully communicate through words alone. Psychodrama, a creative therapy, helps the participant convey their experience through action and encounter. Instead of listening to participant talk about what has happened outside the therapy session, the therapist guides them to create conversations, events and challenges in the therapy session, as if they are happening in the here and now, to allow the participant to access their experience and explore their psychological world, offering an opportunity to more fully explore their psychological reality

Popular techniques give the work focus: surplus reality, the empty chair, role play and role reversal, doubling, mirroring, and concretization. An addict might concretize his experience by making a sculpture symbolizing the addiction, contorting their body (or the bodies of peers) to portray tragic destructiveness and enormous power. In role reversal, perhaps the most transformative technique in our therapeutic repertoire, the participant leaves the role of themselves to play the role of the other, providing new perspectives.

Psychodrama explores problems in spontaneous, dynamic and creative ways, bringing to life a situation within the safe setting of psychotherapy and facilitating the expression of thoughts and emotions as they emerge organically. Using the mirror position, the protagonist steps outside their own role to observe their situation, facilitating alternative perspectives, perhaps with more compassion for the other or perhaps for themselves. The work may lead the protagonist to a conversation with a perpetrator, an enabler, or themself as a child, perhaps assisted by an advocate played by an auxiliary. Using surplus reality, the protagonist may experience the longed-for nurturing of an ideal parent, also played by an auxiliary.

Our techniques provide guidance to the recovery process, creating a model of treatment for depression, anxiety, addictions, and an array of impulsive, compulsive and other psychological disorders. Because the experiential focus gives access to emotion while replaying events, psychodrama is particularly powerful for recovery from trauma, whether from emotional, physical or sexual abuse of a child, neglect and abandonment, illness and death, or domestic violence.

Organic in its process and bonding for the participants, psychodrama brings us catharsis and transformation, a new experience of ourselves and the people in our lives. In a single session, these techniques potentially bring healing to the protagonist (the main player in our dramas) and others, facilitating a shift into an experience of deepened emotional connection with self and others, heightened spontaneity and freedom, and an enhanced realization of life and love.

Psyche suggests psycho and drama may invoke inauthenticity, and the name may create resistance, but psychodrama literally means “story of the soul.” In our experience, psychodrama can be the most effective modality from our therapeutic repertoire.

Group Psychotherapy

Group psychotherapy is generally satisfying, if not powerful, for group members, and highly effective as a therapeutic modality. Because psychopathology can be both the cause and consequence of dysfunctional relationship patterns, individuals in early recovery focus on building their experience of support; in later recovery, individuals do well to explore the interpersonal behavioral patterns that create dysfunction in their relationships. The individual in need of healthy interpersonal relationships has the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with others in the group, while learning skills to use outside and inside the sessions. Group members bond through their sharing, as they discover that others are like them, which helps heal their shame. The instillation of hope encourages the individual to work towards their goals, and the sense of hopelessness from their psychological distress gives way to joy.

As Yalom noted, the primary work of the group is to teach the members how to establish enduring and nurturing relationships. Members attach to their therapist, each other, their therapy, and the group as a whole. The web of relationships becomes a source of emotional regulation and a stabilizing influence, as well as a laboratory for learning. Recovery from psychopathology is not, as some might think, a transition from dependency to independence, but rather from pathological dependency to mature interdependence, and from self-reliance to involvement with others. Group psychotherapy has become the primary modality used today in community and intensive outpatient care, partial hospitalization, inpatient, aftercare, and residential programs for psychological treatment.


Sociometry is the exploration of social forces in a group, the networks of preferred relationships and the structures created by the interpersonal choices of the group members. Sociometrists have developed a toolbox of special methods to investigate, evaluate and intervene on group process; these include role diagrams, sociograms, locograms, the sociometric test, social networks, the social atom, and action sociograms. These help us explore and clarify patterns of social choices and generally facilitate positive changes for the individual and the group as a whole, by: revealing overt and covert group dynamics; increasing awareness, empathy and reciprocity for the group members; reducing and clarifying roles and resolving conflict; reversing the sociodynamic effect, and facilitating cohesion, healthy functioning, and productivity of the group. Sociometry is a phenomenological study of the organic regulatory processes in a given social, familial, work community or other group.