Spring 2021


Welcome to the Spring edition of SOCIO

Kia ora te whanau o AANZPA

Hello ! As we move from Winter to Spring, into lockdown, out of lockdown, out of the dark and into the light, my thoughts are with you in your ‘ordinary lives, expressing yourselves relevantly’ and creatively in your whanau, your communities, your work and your lives.

I have had a tough winter ! Lost, anxious, doubtful with moments of ‘ah, so this is my life now’ and ‘this is who I am now’ !! The transition from a 40 year career committed to improving the world of mothers, birthing, babies and midwives is providing me with much grist for my mill. I am waiting to hear what we can develop out of a cancelled 4-day residential workshop. I was looking forward to being with other psychodrama folk from all over Aotearoa New Zealand – another transition.

As you are aware, the purpose of Socio is to provide a window into the life of our Association. Members provide pieces of writing and photos to share with us all.

This issue reflects on the life and work of Robert Crawford, MNZM. There is a series of 10 videos conducted and recorded by Jerri Bassi when Robert lived in Hanmer Springs. You will find the link to these and also to a YouTube recording of Robert’s funeral after the article.

Enjoy !

Thank you to Paul Baakman, Craig Whisker and Cissy Rock for their contributions. Thanks to Simon Gurnsey for technical assistance !

If you are inspired by what you see and read here, please consider put pen to paper for our next edition of SOCIO which will come out in Summer 2021. The closing date for submissions is 30 November 2021.

Bronwen Pelvin
SOCIO Editor



When there’s snow on the ground
and the sky is clear and blue
as anywhere on earth, you write
in the springtime in your notebook,
then walk to the well
with the sound of crystals
scrunching under your boots, and
all the ‘e’ words – exhalation, excitement,
exhilaration, ecstasy, eternity –
arrive unbidden like a flock
of silver eyes looking for scraps. And now
you’re sure you know what’s meant
by the phrase as good as it gets.

Brian Turner

Dr Robert Crawford

Dr Robert Crawford, MB ChB, DPM, AANZPA, MNZAP, ARCPsych (UK), MNZM, is known to us as a Distinguished Member of AANZPA (2008) and for his extensive contributions to the development of both Psychodrama in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the treatment of addictions while Superintendent of Queen Mary Hospital, Hanmer Springs, Aotearoa, 1976 to 1991. 

Robert died on August 4, 2021, aged 80 years. We will remember him warmly from our last in-person conference in Ōtautahi Christchurch in 2020 where we were able to honour his becoming a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for his services to mental health and addiction services in Aotearoa.

Martin Putt President, AANZPA

Robert is pictured receiving his MNZM from Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand

Robert was buried in Hanmer Springs on the 13th of August. At the funeral, ex-patients, staff members and other medical colleagues spoke with love and appreciation of the transformative experiences that were generated during their time at Queen Mary Hospital. The place and power of the Psychodrama method within the treatment programme were mentioned a number of times. There were some speeches and songs too, one by an ex-patient who played guitar and sung a moving rendition of the Serenity Prayer.

Messages from CITP, AANZPA and NZAP were conveyed to the family.

Robert had an affinity with the colour yellow so it was very fitting that he was buried in a yellow coffin. Robert was heart-broken when the hospital was closed. A well-developed role of his was that of an inspirational activist who never tired of speaking up for the underdog. He was a maverick ( ‘a person who shows independence of thought and action, especially by refusing to adhere to the policies of a group to which he or she belongs’). By being outspoken, he challenged the cultural conserve that keeps alcohol in place as ‘the number one damaging drug’ which keeps creating large numbers of casualties. By speaking up he ruffled many feathers.

I hope we may collectively continue with the ‘ruffling of feathers’ and carry some of Robert’s spirit and work into the future.

Paul Baakman

The group photo is of a Psychodrama Training Workshop held in 1992.
See who you can recognise !! 
Robert’s Funeral was live streamed and is now on YouTube
Robert’s interviews are available on AANZPA’s Vimeo channel

Psychodrama Group Therapy for Social Issues: A Systematic Review of Controlled Clinical Trials

Kia ora koutou colleagues, greetings to you all

I thought many of you may be interested in the paper published this year reviewing Randomised Clinical Trials on psychodrama conducted in various western and non-western societies …

Seven studies were conducted in Turkey, two in the USA, two in Finland, one in Canada, one in Brazil, one in Italy, and one in Iran. The heterogeneity of the issues analyzed indicates that psychodrama improves the symptoms associated with a wide range of problems. Despite psychodrama’s long history, most clinical trials in this field have been published this century, which suggests not only that this psychotherapeutic practice remains relevant today but also that it continues to attract substantial interest among the scientific community. Nevertheless, further research efforts are required to understand its potential benefits for psychosocial well-being.

The reference list alone is a treasure chest.

Charmaine McVea and I are submitting a 2022 conference workshop proposal to explore several “effectiveness of psychodrama” research projects undertaken around the world during the last ten years and their implications for research-practitioners and trainees in AANZPA. 

Your suggestions on what might be included are welcome.

Happy reading,

Craig Whisker


Read the paper on the NCBI website



Ka whanawhana ai te tīwhanawhana o Kahukura i te rāngi

Let the arch of the rainbow glisten

Yes, we are having a conference !

Right now there is a lot of uncertainty with Covid 19 strains becoming more and more contagious, lockdowns increasing and a sense of utmost resilience required.  It is with this ever changing backdrop, the AANZPA Northern Conference Committee has laid down plans to have an in-person conference with an online offering.

Wednesday 19 to Sunday 23rd January 2022

Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) is pleased to host the 42nd Annual AANZPA Conference. 

The theme is Co-creative Human Endeavour – our expression of psychodrama in practice, with the call for presenters underway.   

Philippa van Kuilenburg’s artwork  ‘Arising’  frames the offering and the whakatauki (proverb) above sets the tone.   

The AANZPA website has the latest information and we understand the need for us all to be agile in these uncertain times.  This is reflected  particularly in the COVID 19 policy – allowing you to register knowing that if a Government Covid restriction stops you from being able to attend your registration is fully refunded.

Whether in person or online, your committee welcomes you.  

Left to right in the photo above:
Cushla Clark, Co-Convenor; Cissy Rock, Secretary; Faith Moon, Registrar; Philippa van Kuilenburg, Co-Convenor; Vivienne Thomson, Programme Director; Eric Park, Treasurer (with support from David Grant not pictured)