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Wandering around between warm-up theory and role theory

A quiet wander through certain aspects of role theory and warm-up.

The following are highly draft, or perhaps drafty, thoughts in this area. I will shortly be required to craft an academic response to the generous folks who let me know that my definition of warm-up is almost identical to what they consider to be a definition of role. So I wander around and have added a few diagrams which I found very stimulating.

Warm-up and Roles are similar to one another as, perhaps, personality, as a construct, and personality theories, as descriptions of that construct, are to one another.

Warm-up is implicit in role theory, but role theory is not implicit in warm-up. Here are a few indicators this may be so. Role theory may be used to indicate a warm-up, such as, "The protagonist appeared to be warming-up to being a rageful god." Role theory may be used to describe the protagonists warm-up "Their warm-up in the role is inadequate." Or role theory may be used to effectively describe the warm-up in dramatic terms, for instance, "They warmed-up to this roles, and in response they warmed up to this role."

I guess I am suggesting that warm-up is more elemental and more on a phenomenal level. Role theory is a theory at a greater level of abstraction. The two theories are intertwined but may be seen as separate and treated as separate. Such as Diagram 1 indicates:

Diagram 1. Warm-up and role theory interactions.

It may be more accurate to see the theories operating in an interconnected fashion such as Diagram 2 displays.

Diagram 7.2. Warm-up and role theory interconnectedness.



Such a diagrammatic display leaves much to be desired as it seems like role theory emerges from the warm-up. Further reflection leads me to conclude, at the moment, that role theory only works, or is useful, because of the presence of one or more observers who are able to interpret a person's behaviour and display in role theory terms as indicated in Diagram 7.3.

Diagram 3. Warm-up and role theory interconnectedness.

Warm-up itself is a semi-continuous phenomena from moment to moment as indicated more accurately by the following Diagram 4.

Diagram 4. Warm-up as a continuous process.

Further reflection shows that role theory may be considered to be an overlay onto a person’s warm-up process. This overlay allows questions such as “What role is the person warming-up to?” to be accurately and meaningfully asked. At the same time allowing for their spontaneity to emerge with varying warm-ups at different times. Role theory, as a theory, sets itself up to make sense of the display, the warm-up.

Please feel free to add or critique by using the post comment function below. They require me to view them first and I will do this asap. Cheers Peter.

Many responses

Hi all, to progress our theorising, learning, and engagement with one another I am going to respond to a bunch of stuff from earlier and more recent times. I haven't worked out yet how to order blogs as they came so latest responses come up first. Which is OK but not so useful for folks who cam in late to the discussion. I'll work on it.

One thing I want to start off with is the thing that came to me yesterday while walking the dogs - which is my morning ritual. I concluded that we have  perhapsoverly narrowed down elements of our discussion, and this inlcudes Walter's post as well. This is because we are talking about warm-up to role and whether or not we can seperate out warm-up. Well, we clearly can because we do so everyday when we direct a drama. We follow the warm-up before us. Now this is often a warm-up to a role, thats a given, and often something we come to, the naming of the role, if the role is represented on stage for any amount of time. However we also know, witness, and work with warm-up, from within a role they are already in, warm-up to the other person (no role shift), warm-up to action (same role), warm-up to states of mind - all of which may also be in the same role. Within a role a person is able to warm-up to different things. This is a minor philosophical point but is important. It is what I noticed that we, as psychodramatists, notice when directing a drama. It is something only other dramatists would notice - wheteher psychodramatists, drama therapists, or dramatists working with actors. I'm planning on starting another blog on these implications.

Thanks Hamish: You present a good deal of your perspective of what knowing is. I find knowing takes me too much into the world of the Gnostics who believed there was something to know. While I do believe there are things to be known, I now regard “knowing” more like the perspective taken by Richard Dawkin’s notion of likelihood or reasonableness of the proposition. He argued in his book The God Delusion as to whether a proposition, such as the existence of the types of gods people where proposing, was at all likely, given what we know. Of course, this is all circular because it contains the use of ‘know’ in the definition of ‘know’. But, he was largely arguing from a probabilistic point of view – given what we believe we know – is it likely that the universe came about through gods and angels? So there is real value in presenting in a knowing fashion – as a director it gives the group and protagonist something to work with. However the next moment I may find what I knew to be suspect, at best. Which is often, ironically, the purpose of being knowing or appearing certain - it provokes and keeps things bubbling along.

Re: An inter-subjectivist – the first – that's a big argument. While I have a concept of inter-subjectivist I don’t know what anyone else means. Perhaps we need to footnote some of these things. If I understand the concept, or more, as what I take to be what people mean, inter-subjectivity is an idea that we create a subjectivity between us, and through our relationship. Or perhaps that is our relationship. Let me know if this is off-track. Gergon wrote a pretty readable book on the matter recently Relational Being – Beyond self and community.  I keep it for quiet times as I already have the ideas. Though he writes the whole book from the perspective of it being accurate rather than writing it as a concept or simple argument.

One element we often leave out, which I believe is the strength of psychodrama is the element of the observation, which by and of itself changes the observer and the system. In this part of the conversation, inter-subjectivist, we are leaving ourselves out as the director. This is very tentative.

Memory is sometimes fabricated – well according to the neuro-folks it is always fabricated – but accurate memory is made up of reasonably accurate bits. However, following a memory recall, according to the latest theory, we then lay down overlays onto the memory such that what is saved, as the memory, now includes elements of how we are when we are recalling it. Hence the value of psychodrama or other forms of therapy that include recall. Hence, also, the death of objectivity in terms of it being truthful or more truthful than something else.

Re Don’s comment to Hamish:  I say role is not observable because I believe it is the naming of it that gives it its particular role-like quality – prior to the role naming there are a series of actions and interactions. When we name a series of behaviours “Marcus Aurelius” we immediately do what the physicists complain about – when we decide the light is a particle it acts like one – when we decide it is a wave – its acts like one. When we name a role “Marcus Aurelius” the person acts like that. As an example – try renaming a role you have given someone in a totally different way. The naming hijacks the consciousness – and this is the power of the role name and why I like it. Finally the language serves a less random purpose. Your pictorial comments are of a similar nature - evocative.

However, if we name all conglomerations of actions in a context as role, without a name but by definition, then we are saying something else. Then we are saying, claiming really, that humans act as role acting beings and their functioning is according to roles. This may well be a valuable claim but it is not one I have pursued. Instead I have pursued how the naming and imagining roles into clumps of actions and responses has a powerful effect/affect.

Therefore maybe we are acting like there are two ‘roles’ that we are relating to – one is the immediate role undefined and un-described that we respond to and relate to in moment to moment living – the other is the construct that we use to make sense of things – this second role is a construct and includes a name.

Don, to argue the claim of a role to only be there when enacted is, I think, to say there is no ‘thing’ like a role in a person. Which I like, as it simplifies the claims I might make about roles. Colloquially, I may talk about the roles a person has, and that becomes, by default, roles they have in them. However, if they are in me, where do they reside, and before long we end up with Adam’s assertion of the controller roles which oversea the other roles. See a humorous critique of the movie Inside Out: at the 3.15 minute mark – where they use twilight zone music and suggest that the controlling role, has roles in herself, as well, and thus begins the infinite role regression then unfolds. However – role emerging as a response does not require internal roles rather internal responses that produce a role – then role emerges in response and does not without the response. Here is the wikipedia version:

Don I wonder if you believe warm-up and role cannot be separated then I am probably talking about role, from your point of view, and continually calling it warm-up? That may explain some of our seemingly differing perspectives.

I like to think that your interior – is my exterior and I may be objective – hence observation and psychodrama.

Don some of the writing on this sense of me-ness suggests it is neurologically created by a section of our brain, which is why we feel like "me" in all the roles we enact in life or on the stage – it is another elements that allows psychodrama to ‘work’. When this section is damaged, a person loses their sense of self as a single person. It is also how I am able to demonstrate warm-up by having a protagonist shift their focus from one scene to another and at the same time they feel like themselves. When we reverse roles we still feel like ourselves. A remarkable capacbility.

Role an warm up

Phenomena - something at the basis of our perception is there.  We could describe it phenomenological like as if we saw it for the first time.  But we have been immersed in Moreno's theory,  we see the phenomena through the lenses of Moreno, at least warm up as part of the Canon of Creativity - where it leads us from a conserve to something new. Or as warm up to a role - from role theory.  And more than that we embrace the laboratory of the theatre, with an audience the more these terms make sense.  

To understand warm up in the psychodrama context we can't remove the context of theatre, the canon of creativity or the theory of role.

Example: I watched a child (18) months put a Lego (Duplo) train together - she concentrated,  figuring how the carriages connected and how new blocks could be clicked onto the carriages, she was in a role of a budding engineer, using conserved materials in a new way, spontaneity in that it was a new response to an old situation. And I'd say she was warmed up to the role.  She was a protagonist in her own drama, and perhaps aware of me as a quiet audience offering an occasional Bravo. Then another adult came into the room. Let's do roly-poly on the floor. I saw it as cutting across the child's warm up.

Amazingly it happened. But I noticed a moment of reluctance,  role conflict, some sadnes at not been seen as the enginreer.  But a quick transition was made to raukus fun on the floor, a new role play. Role flexibility.

I think in that description I use the Morenian terms adeqately, I draw (unconsciously) on the basis of the terminology in the Canon, as well as role theory.

Warm up and role are not separate from the frame work of Morenian discourse, and to isolate them robs them of their richness, their power to convey, they have special meaning In psychodrama, but are easily grasped by lay people.

Warm up, spontaneity and role

Dear Peter,
Thanks for alerting me to your new web-blog and your opening piece on wandering between role and warm up. You wrote to me in appreciation of what I had written earlier, and also "thanked me" for making life more difficult for you. I want to be useful to you and hope the thoughts and challenges bring forward are helpful to your discoveries concerning warm up. I am also developing my own thinking in the process!
Warm up in the territory of role
As you search for and frame up the means of researching warm up as a thing or IS or phenomena I think you are inevitably in the territory of "role". Your definition of warm up is pretty much the same as Moreno's definitions for role. Your work in identifying the IS of warm up and your research of what warm up is in the substance and specifics of the what and the how is likely to be immensely useful.
Since your work is to span the divide between those without and with psychodrama knowledge, I reckon it is really important not to muddy discrimination of role and warm up. As you have wandered and written about this you headline it as though you are considering two sets of theory. Then you proceed to write mainly as if you compare theoretical constructs about role and the actuality of a phenomena called warm up. You will notice that you were not consistent in this. You do make me understand that you see warm up as a phenomena, and regard role as perceptual constructs in the heads of observers of behaviour. If I understand you correctly then I do not go with you on this view.
Role as phenomena
As I think of role, I choose to think of role as first phenomena (the IS of role) and then as the constructs that allow us to consider a role's shape, movements and interactive effects, particularly as communications within relationships and then on reflection through producing "living pictures" descriptors that are meaningful. This second I call "role pragmatics".
Essentially role surely must be an actual IS of human "functioning form" - observable, identifiable, describable and measurable. If that is not so why do we take such an interest in role - to describe it and analyse a role's dynamics or the cultural aspects of social atom?
The nature of the phenomena requires hypotheses. My meta theory is that humans function holistically and their purposes are served by a physiology whose organisation is to seize every scrap of information, adaptation and skill to weave cohesively in the service their creatively chosen actions - whether conscious or unconscious to their choices. Moreno opened clues to this and also developed holistic appreciation of the human functioning form sufficient to found therapeutic methodologies for personal and community health. This means that you and I have a great gift or two to share with those making sense of self, community, and central nervous system (CNS). Indeed all those exploring human endeavour from cell to society.
As Psychodramatist I view neurophysiological research findings and its related applications reveal clues which often offer evidence of the phenomenal substance of role. For example when mechanised limb prosthetics were being connected to the CNS, anticipating development of control mimicking that in a natural limb, the bio-technicians and psychologists found it impossible. Instruction, concentration, determination and attempts with repetition would not work for them. They discovered that to assist people to dextrously articulate their mechanised prosthetic limbs, hands or feet imagination provided a starter.
Imagination modelling upon a movement and acting with belief did work. At first with awkwardness. With playful experimentation and delight movements and control were achieved. This indicates to me that they chanced on the reality and power of role.
Role for me is the functioning form a person takes with their organisation of being coordinated, cohesive and holistic. A complex of elements flow into each functioning form according to the roles already developed and the particular character and newness of a scene in the moment. Role, roles or role elements are being created or recreated pure and new within each creational moment. Witnessing role is to see the effects of coordinated organisation that flows. It may not always be a smooth flow, but nevertheless “flow” is my best word to take hold my thinking here.
Sight provides a particularly helpful example of our neurophysiology. It gives clues to how "functioning form" is a process both complex and holistically cohesive in CNS organisation. Discrete aspects of vision processing are isolated, apparently in fragmentary fashion scattered through a variety of sites around the brain and functionally brought into a unison of seeing. Piece by piece a cohesive holism is contributed to, where flexibility flow and efficacy of image are the marks we can put on seeing.
What we think we see is not necessarily what we actually see and how we bring our senses into a cohesive service of comprehending reality is often a holism reading a holism. Reading a role and taking its communication "for granted" seems to be a significant part of our functioning successfully. It is not just seeing as we assume we do. There are surprising turns of reality. For example: when a top base-ball batter in the US receives a pitched ball sight is not capable of seeing the ball in flight at all - let alone see its movements or spin. The ball is moving much too fast over a very short distance. Yet the better the batter the better their consistency in successful hits. The batter sees the “role” or functioning form of the pitcher. He does see the holism of movements with shifts of posture. Sub-consciously the batter responds to the movement of eyes and the twist and extension of the arm. The whole being of the batter is in this moment a coordination of body, mind, spirit, CNS, autonomic system, with creativity, spontaneity development, surplus realities with background of numerous practices and game times. He reads the holistic reality of the pitchers cohesive organisation into role. Role is a concept that can allow comprehension of the complexity and holism of the way we are in action and relationship.
Pragmatics of role
Psychodramatists work the earthy vital reality of role, we find dramatic ways to image and depict role. Role is a wonderful tool in making sense of the purposeful action, the relationships it enables, the communications it carries and the cultures it provides for. Theatre, scene, plot, the stage with roles in interaction these conceptually are ideal in deepening imaginative comprehension of how we are humans in our everyday living. Moreno worked with role experimenting, observing and encountering. He was vitally alive to people. By seeing them in their roles he could meet them and appreciate them as deeply as he was capable. His effort was put to development of his ability to meet and appreciate rather than to focus on theoretical coherence and elegance. He worked to assist others to develop their abilities both to meet others and to create themselves to be as free as possible to be themselves. Dynamics and relationships are the stuff of his work and his learning journey. He became aware of role as reality through theatre. I find the term Pragmatics of Role useful to think through the experience and relational communications that are consequence and evolutional value of the role reality in human behaviour.
So my hypothesis is centred on holism: that the phenomenal IS of humans as they are being themselves - each in their uniquely characteristic way - is by a process of holistic cohesive weaving of many elements. I see role as a holism gathering together elements from within an individual personal system and from responsiveness to stimuli in a person's immediate and wider circles of social context. I think this theoretical vision is based on a view of human functioning as in each moment "a whole way of being". Roles are not partial ways, are not partial aspects of ourselves. Each role is a complete way we have of being ourselves in the many and varied situation after situation throughout a lifetime of experiences. I believe this holistic weaving is the essential nature of our human functioning. What we call "roles" are the holism of the woven coordinated final behavioural forms that are unmistakably phenomena. 
Working with people applying "psychodramatic methodologies" we have learned that understanding of role and appreciation of others is heightened and honed as we imbue ourselves with sensitivity to stage, scene, protagonist, auxiliary and audience in relationship. Recognising that humans are always in role and being the central actor in their own social atom where the now and the future is created by ourselves within social scenes - contexts - normative cultures- societal conserves. The Psychodramatist also, by practice of acute attention to the tiniest of physical cues, is able to detail their sensitivity to the other taking account of the psycho and soma connections. Spontaneity is at the centre of work with people based on role. Psychodramatists work actively in scene contexts with spontaneity development to promote the greatest possibilities of freedom to act. Psychodramatists come to see that some of the elements and aspects influencing the nature of role are: personal and public, societal pressures and expectations, interactive relationships, group - including family - life experience history, dreams and visions, hopes and fears, interaction of mind/soul with physical body, integration between self as creator and universals of time, space, reality and cosmos, the processes of warm up, levels of freedom in spontaneity, components of thinking, feeling and action plus context and values.
About warmup
I recognise that it must be true of warm up, as it is with role, that warm up is an IS. However my view of warm up is that it is only witnessed and identifiable in the roles people have and display as they are being themselves in any moment. Moreno's Canon of Creativity provides indication of continual everyday cycles of warm up in a human living.
We cannot, I believe, observe the phenomena of warm up directly. It is hidden in what behaviourist called the "black box". We have no choice but to project, imagine, empathise and intuit, while behaviour of functioning form is there to be viewed.
I think the difference is that observation of role is immediately available to eye and ear to a large degree. There are obviously some inner aspects where elements of role are hidden and need to be guessed/intuited by the observer. We feel into or empathise with the reactivities and motivations. Our motor cortex mirror-neurones enable us to feel as if we ourselves act similarly and we imagine feelings that for us go with our own responses to specific stimuli. 
As we view a role in its movements and its functionality we may discern the influences of warm up which we can hypothesise are there. We are interested to understand what is causing, inspiring, empowering and shaping function and form of behaviour. It is and is not immediately evident. We reflect on our experience of having attention and interest caught up. We are able to recall how focus is sharpened how energy becomes harnessed to a purpose. We can "put ourselves into the shoes of another". We can draw on our experience to guess/hypothesise about what and how another person is warmed up. What we actually see however is role in action - we are seeing the consequences of warm up - in its influence on role,  or its confluence with role.
I can't see how there could be any doubt that warm up is a significant factor in role, and is an essential process in both a role's formation and function. The canon of creativity represents warm up as an element in a process of being a creator of self and contributor to communal life. In Moreno's canon warm up is unceasing in its circumferential passage and primacy of influence. This insight marries with his vision of all humans living lives just as they do as "role-playing". Interpretation of human living in terms of theatre, stage and scenes of interacting relations, enables psychodramatists to develop capacities and methodologies that deepen understanding and strengthen community and promotes healthy ethical functioning through promoting the freedoms and creativities inherent in spontaneity.
My logic suggests to me that the factors that are responsive in role formation must have stimulated a warm up. Role is responsive and the initial responding must be a warm up. The warm up's ongoing activity must then surely be crucial in guiding the organisation that weaves the holistic functioning form. 
Morenean warm up like Morenean role must surely involve the "components" Moreno identified as thinking, feeling and action - plus others implied in his work (e.g. values and context). Thinking constructs will form differently where there is self-doubt as against where there is delighted self efficacy. I see role as inclusive of such warm up. It follows that role is shaped by warm up. A role may incorporate a continuation of the earlier warm up or warm up may be shifting to meet the challenge and functional requirements of the role that is to follow.
When I watch my grandson (as sports science intern) warm up the Lincoln University rugby union  team each Saturday - which he then plays in, I notice he and his team mates become more relaxed and more determined. I see them "raggle-taggle" on to the pitch. Gradually through collective processes they become more intense and more conscious of each other within a unit. When they run off to change shirts they are an eager group of companions and when they return to the pitch for the game it is as a proud "battalion".
Deliberate acts chosen and practised with an aim of preparedness are a sub-set of warm up. This is so for group or individual. Group warm up is a specific application of warm up to collective experiences in which readiness is created by a collection of individuals acting together in accord.
The intentionality of "Deliberate acts" is important in CNS warm up, as has been found through brain research into intentionality in a patient's deterioration with "Parkinson's disease". Characteristic tiny steps and tiny restricted writing improves with either medication or with intentionality or in combination. In a Japanese study participants were  showing severe deterioration with gravely restricted writing in Japanese but not when writing in English - their second language! Improvements occurred when writing in Japanese with both medication and intentionality as with English speaker/writers.
However I think it would be wrong to build understanding of warm up on deliberate practices designed to warm up either individuals or groups - except as an important sub-set. As it is when considering role, phenomenology guides us to look at the ordinary everyday processes of how things operate with warm up. So what are the processes of warm up moment by moment? What purpose does it serve? and why is it amenable to regimes of practice and contrived routines to assist goal attainment?
Problems with viewing warm up independent of role and spontaneity
Moreno wrote: "warm up is the operational expression of spontaneity". I consider spontaneity to be that creational impulse marked by vitality and originality that is ever provoking living beings to search, to extend, to progress and to create. Warm up is then sibling to role and not its servant. Antony Williams wrote "It is at once prior and present within role." "It never stops." "Warm up not only leads to and triggers a new state, but continues as new roles emerge: the warm up and the act become one."
I find it difficult to go with you, as you reason that "Warm-up is implicit in role theory, but role theory is not implicit in warm-up". You write as if you assume that role is a matter of perception, interpretation and giving meaning to what has been observed. For me role is firstly phenomenal and secondly it can be seen as providing meta theory for appreciating the functioning forms humans and other creatures take throughout the lives, as I have argued above. 
When I claim there is a pragmatics of role as well as believing role is a phenomena I am thinking that pragmatics concerns the interplay of relationships and their communications within relationships as well as communications by those reflecting on and describing the interactional behaviours. It is our playing with and exploration of and our meaning making with interactive functioning forms that I call pragmatics of role. The consideration of pragmatics and any theory that is developed must attend to the same realities. 
Attention to role may focus on a protagonist however it is interactive within a culture of role relationships. This reality of numerous persons interacting and influencing each other's roles responses and therefore their warm ups moment by moment is worked with by directors or leader facilitators in group work warm up processes. But it is occurring in all life dramas and behaviours in groups of every size.
You assert that warm up itself is a semi continuous process, but you reveal in your diagrams the priority in time you give to warm up. I choose to assert that the interaction of role and warm up is continuous. Though each warm up is essentially preparatory to a role development, the processes of role and warm up are I think in continuous flow and confluence. 
It seems to me that you create a problem for yourself if you eliminate recognition of either spontaneity or role as phenomenon intimately involved in either individual or group "warm up". Warm up is arguably an inseparable sibling of role. I see it as guiding formation of roles. It may be that warm up is only detectable behaviour as a result of shifts/movements of role phenomena. This may even be the reason that when you determined to construct a means of observing warm up and produce a definition of warm up to match that you in fact came up with a paraphrase of Moreno's definition of role.
This compounds your problems.
The danger I see for psychodramatists in what you propose as a foundation definition for your research, is that while your study and its research findings may strengthen identification of warm up in social research, it may land the psychodramatic practitioners with a competing conceptual framework that confuses and undermines the centrality of the Canon of Creativity. Warm up appreciated for its spontaneity base, role implications and social atom breadth provides is core component for understanding and working with psychodramatic methodologies. 
Your search for and the discoveries you make of satisfying identifications and definitions of warm up as a phenomena can carry social and learning research forward significantly - I can see that. All strength to you Peter.
Further wanderings and conversations may contribute to an epiphany. Sorry that my challenges make life difficult. I hope they might also be of some benefit in your thinking and thesis developments.

Another response to Don

Hullo Don,

I have been reading and reflecting on your wonderful piece of writing on Peter Howie's blog site.   I need to read it through a few more times to appreciate all you are bringing forward.
I am grappling with an area that I will bring forward here:
you say:

"We cannot, I believe, observe the phenomena of warm up directly. It is hidden in what behaviourist called the "black box". We have no choice but to project, imagine, empathise and intuit, while behaviour of functioning form is there to be viewed."

I am trying to understand knowing.  I suspect that Moreno is espousing different epistemologies in different parts of his theory, so this is my enquiry.
When I think of the behaviourists black box notion, I think of the devise they used to challenge the Psychoanalytic notions of knowing (circa 1960).  The argument as I understand it was basically that Ego Psychologists of that time (1920-1960) made interpretations from a position of a degree of certainty about the patient and the behaviourists wanted to challenge the legitimacy of this.  They did it by saying we can’t really know anything much about why the person behaves like they do because it is not observable, what is observable is behaviour and that is what we can know - the rest is in a black box.

Over the last 40 years the analytic crowd have responded to this challenge by re-visioning their epistemology.  They have adopted an inter-subjectivist stance and this has resulted in relational psychoanalysis - interpretations are not statements of fact they are attempts at describing the inner experience of the patient in a way that is resonant, meaningful and enlightening for them (I tend to think of this as doubling although to some extent it is also mirroring and they do not necessarily differentiate these two activities).

Anyway.  When I read your sentence above, I warm up to this area of how do we know the phenomena of warm up (I do believe we can 'know').  I am not sure why you don’t also say “how can we know the phenomena of role?” When you say: “imagine, intuit and empathise” I think doubling and role reversal.  I think when Moreno came upon notions on doubling and role reversal he was perhaps the first inter-subjectivist.  I do not believe he intended us to only know an attempt at doubling was accurate by asking the protagonist.  He expected our capacities for intuiting and empathizing meant we could know the inner experience of the protagonist and double it.  However I don't think we can ever be certain that we know - any attempt at doubling can be unconsciously a representation of our own role system - if we are role reversing accurately we will know with a great degree of accuracy if we are not we won’t and it remains a mystery weather we are (checking it out is one way of clarifying this mystery but there are others like observing the response we get from the protagonist and adjusting).  This might seem like semantics to you - however saying we can know if we are effectively role reversing is very different to saying we can’t ever know it’s in a black box.



Dear Hamish, Thank you for

Dear Hamish, Thank you for your thoughts about knowing, doubling and mirroring. The old “Black Box” concept from fifty or so years back came to mind when I read Peter writing that while warm up is observable role is not. The reverse seemed more likely. I had not previously taken both for granted as readily detectable. As I thought it over I could not imagine being able to observe and unequivocally justify the presence of warm up - it seems to me thoroughly inside a “black box”. I know warm up is detectable. I reckon all people do detect their own and other's warm ups consciously either or sub-consciously. That is different from saying warm up is observable. Any observation of any person’s response in any context is observation of a person in movement – we can see their functioning form. When we detect warm up in a person or group and “know” it’s there we observe functioning form. That means to me that the evidence for warm up is an observed role. I think that’s partly why Peter has landed himself with a definition that is identical to the one Moreno has for role. It is not so useful for us to not clearly differentiate role from warm up. Each of us, I think is always in role and always in warm up. So how do we distinguish warm up. For me it is because it’s those elements of functioning form that are organised towards the future – may be immediate future. It is about readiness for the role and roles that are being readied for action. Without a definition that includes those factors I doubt warm up has come into focus. You highlight that I wrote: “We have no choice but to project, imagine, empathise and intuit …”. I do not mean to diminish or devalue these fine human capacities. They deserve to be developed, honed and trusted. I do value them and have developed consciously my abilities and have strongly promoted their development in psychodrama trainees. I don’t suggest warm up is undetectable simply that attempting to observe it inevitably ends up with observation of a human in role – displaying their functioning form. I am with you throughout your third paragraph until you seem to suggest our judgement/knowing against the protagonists “knowing”. I think we need to trust our sense of knowing and be ready meet the protagonist in their knowing. It is not necessary for there to be rightness or finality. Contributions to discovery through openness is a helpful pathway. (I may well have misunderstood your intent here.)

Further responses

Yes this really made sense to me that role includes warm up - I have kpet saying to Peter that warm up cannot be seperated from warm up and role.  So as you say this my ideas about this broaden.

Further responses

My introduction to psychology in 1954 was Kleinian - my text was by Harry Guntripp. 1970's studies and work in a psych hospital psychologists were wall to wall "Behaviourist" by the end of last century it had largely served its purpose in psychology I guess.

I hope your training gave you the desire and capability to hold objectivity and subjectivity together. Intersubjectivity is a notion I think I hold and explore as psychodramtist and the implications of that are numerous. I am taking interest in the work of two young teachers of mine in 1975. One is a social psychologist who works with intersubjectivity and fouses on affect and emotion. The other a neuro surgeon, neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist and teacher of bio-ethics. He writes on the discursive mind, consciousness and intent and symbol and language. When I read them I think they appreciate the essence of role but have no understanding even if they've heard of psychodrama. Their writing provokes my thinking.

I think the relationship

I think the relationship between subjective objective in intersubjective is important for us to understand.  I get the sense that we are still working something out in this area in AANZPA (although this might be me working something out). Dr Chris Milton a Jungian analyst  explored phenomenology and intersubjectivity in his Phd.  He points out that for the intersubjectivists the self does not exist, experience is a co-created thing that exists in the relational space between people - if we are interacting and I experience something if I am an intersubjectivist that something is a phenomena in the relational field between you and I - it is not me nor is it you it is an expression of us at that point in time.   There is no you or I there is a social field of us.   Chris points out that if you are an intersubjectivist there is no individuation and no becoming because there is not self to individuate into.  However he thinks some things indicate that there is a self because they originate entirely within the being like hunger for example.

If we hold that there is subject and object then there is an interior and an exterior.  The interior contains me where I exist and I experience and this is differentiated from the exterior which is not me but which I may influence.  I don't understand the notion that gets claimed in AANZPA role theory circles that the role only exists when it is enacted.  On the one hand if we really believe this it seems to be an inter-subjectivist notion that we have.  On the other hand however in practitioners in AANZPA seem put it together with notions of subject and object.  If I am a subject then I have an interior and we must appreciate that that is to some extent consistent over time - our role theory must attempt to describe this interior.  That is to say - My experience is not random or new in each moment I have an internal experience of me i.e. I feel like me this feeling exists inside me etc...  Perhaps Moreno intended both these things - perhaps he did not contemplate this stuff... perhaps we need the surface and describe Moreno's ontology and epistemology rather than borrowing and fitting into - I am not sure the answers to these questions.

For me right now - many things exists in a social field that we are well endowed to appreciate, describe and work with for example with sociometry and role theory.  We are also able to appreciate the evolving and individuating field of the self in relation to other over time.  However if we believe there is subject and object there then I believe there must be an interior where the social atom resides ready to be enacted when the right stimuli are present.  hopefully this description makes apparent the paradigms i feel caught between as i attempt to perceive role as a whole which for me include a set of social relationships and point of origin.



Warm-up and Role theory

Hi Peter thanks for taking the time to think about and post this paper. It’s a worthwhile area to reflect on in my view and as I have been reading it I have had quite a few thoughts.

I find I agree with you that warm up is a phenomena while role is an abstraction. While we come to know and name both the warm up and role through a phenomenological process of experiencing and role reversing with the other. Warm up is direct and immediate while appreciating role involves experiencing and also considering at least three more layers of complexity each at greater level of abstraction than immediate experience.

The association I have as I read your article is to quantum physics. It turns out that when observing light at the quantum level if you look for particles you will see particles of light while if you look for waves you will see waves of light. I think it is the same with warm-up and role theory. If we look for the warm up process we will see and experience a process of warming up and this will lead to us describing a warm-up process. If on the other hand when we seek to name the roles present we will also be able to do this. So I find I would have a series of circles with role names each emerging sequentially from the last through time. However at the same time I would have a series of triangles as in your lower diagramme describing a series of warming up processes.

When I think this way about it, it becomes necessary to describe the relationship between the warm up and the role (you are doing this when you have a triangle and circle interacting i think). They are not the same thing. One way of approaching this is to think about why we use the phrase ‘warm up to role’. The notion of warmup to role is very helpful because it draws our attention to the period of time in which a person is becoming ready to enact a role, and this is the period where change can occur at the level of the phenomenon of the warm up which can lead to the enactment of a different role.

On the other hand if we seek to name the role we become conscious of many things that relate to the role. I believe there is a consensus in our association that role exists in the present and is only what is directly observable in the present i.e. the role is not somehow inside the person waiting to come out. I can go along with this only if it means a few important things: 1 The ability to name a role accurately is a developmental activity, that is, naming a role accurately is directly correlated with the degree of role reversal the role-namer can produce at that point in time; 2 Every role is developed in response to a social system and the other roles the person has previously developed up to that point in their lives. This means when a role is enacted it is enacted out of an expectation that particular kinds of responses will be forth coming; these expectations are often unconscious (or not in the awareness of the person) and will be maintained with a degree of rigidity commensurate with the experience of the actor in the social systems where the role has developed. 3 Notions of coping and fragmenting relate as much to the role system as they do to the particular role, sometimes the phrase coping gestalt is used to indicate that a role is only a coping response in some situations and it may in-fact be a progressive response in other situations. Calling the role a restrictive solution or coping and naming it as moving towards, moving away or against is an activity that only makes sense in the context of a role system. Roles do not exist in isolation and the context of the role (the role system) is perhaps most important in appreciating the person.

A little more about point 1: In Psychodrama Vol 1 Moreno claims that the term counter transference implies a lack of mutuality. He says why not say transference and transference rather than transference and counter transference. I have been thinking about this and it has occurred to me that transference and transference is a little like saying ‘role enacted from old experiences gained in a role system now present in the memories of the person’ and ‘another role enacted from old experiences gained in a different role system now present in the memories of the other person’. What is present with transference and transference is a failure to role reverse. A person is reacting to what is said or done because of particular experiences they have had in their life which they warm up to in response to another person. On the other hand the term counter transference includes the notion of role reversal. When I role reverse, experiences arise in my body that correlate more to the person I am doubling than to my own experiences. Perhaps I can relate to the experiences because I have felt a similar way at some time in my life also. However, I remain aware of the other person, including how these experiences have meaning for them, I am oriented to them and the role system in which these experiences came about for them. Of course whether something is a transference or counter transference is mystical perhaps only knowable in hind sight.  Importantly, though, Moreno was saying its important that the therapist does not place themselves above the patient, however this appears to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the term countertransference and the power relationships implied. 

it appears i may never know

It appears i may never know if i have a direct experience because once the observing consciousness is engaged it is already abstract and reflective. I notice there are degrees of separation or abstraction or identification or a hundred other things. I am determined in my life and current practice to be open to direct experience. In this endeavour, I actively suspend or disregard or reject theory or any kind. This is easy. I have no interest in them. This endeavour appears to have a quality of conviction that is not will, as it is spacious. It also involves a type of thinking that is more active than awareness, and is best known to me as the limb of a pohutakawa tree spreading leaves out over a new patch of sea-fed cliff getting to the know the quality of the air right there.

I look at warm-up theory, role theory, or any theory and sometimes i'm interested in what it evokes; particularly the quality of movement in the person, in me, in the relationship. I can see an analysis can be done on me right now using both constructs. I find no interest in me to doing this analysis.

I wake up when Hamish discusses various things relating to transference and counter-transference. I am interested because i love the taste of discriminating clarity. I don't know if i really understand. Role reversal remains a mystery. However, i do know I love the intent to clean the perceptual pathways, to dust off things that don't fit, things that might be impositions. This is the quality that i have had with Peter, an adventure of minds, rather than some moral expectation of right thinking.

So, now i am ready to apply my limbful of thinking leaves. I sense an interpenetration: that warm-up is a movement created within a relational context that could be described by role theory; and, relationship, and perhaps even roles, coaggulate from a warm-up process. So depending on the perspective one comes from, the other theory can be seen to be contained within the other theory, and vice versa. Which then offers the possibility of a third position in which both can be appreciated and seen in their interpenetration. I have found that position but i can't, or won't, tell you. It was very hard won. Why limit your joy by offering it to you on an easy plate?

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