Socio is the Newsletter for the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Psychodrama Association (AANZPA)
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November 2020 


Welcome to this Edition of SOCIO

Kia ora te whanau o AANZPA

Greetings to you all as 2020 comes to an end – what a year it has been. My hope is that you are able to join with those you love to celebrate the season, the ending of one year and the beginning of the next. Blessings and peace to you all.

The purpose of Socio is to provide a window into the life of our Association. Members provide pieces of writing, poems, photos, reports and reviews that are shared with us all.

This edition is later than I planned. At the end of November, I was called to be alongside my old friend Ruth as she died. She had her 87th birthday at the end of October. For the last three or four years, Ruth has been mainly housebound and was being cared for by her daughters, one living with her, one not far away. Ruth and I have had a weekly date for 3 or more years, starting with me going for dinner every week and once I moved back to Nelson in March, ringing her every week. I had known her and her daughters since 1974 and her life had not been easy. This year, she became bedbound and received much care from a dedicated team of care workers. About two weeks before she died, we had our last phone call and we knew it was the last time we would speak together.

She soon slipped into unconsciousness and I was privileged to be in the house with her daughter when she died. Plans, in place for some time, were carried out to the letter – a death at home;  turning the house into a marae with our own tikanga (custom and practice); a tangi where people visited Ruth and the family and mourned and celebrated Ruth’s life; told stories, laughed and cried; morning and evening prayers and a beautiful service, carried out by Ruth’s priests, members of the Third Order of St Francis and her whanau – friends and family with robust, unaccompanied singing !

I promised Ruth that I would help her daughters at the time of her death and it was a wonderful privilege to do so, It has provided me with rich memories and a clearer picture of what is possible when my time comes – as it will.

Bronwen Pelvin
SOCIO Editor

Ruth and I about 2010

If you are inspired by what you see and read here, please consider putting pen to paper for our next edition of SOCIO which will come out at the end of April 2021. The close-off date for submissions is 20 April 2021 and I await your contributions !!

Thank you to the following for their contributions: Rollo Brown, Phil Carter, Paul Baakman, Kate Cooke and Jean Mehrtens.

Dr Philip Carter, Auckland

                        a hundred birds


I had a dream, a morning chorus, a cacophony of birds singing their hearts out in a lush forested place on the coast, everything sparkling with light and sound. There is a quivering as I write and remember, a mixing in of that morning exuberance of songs and images as words back and forth sounding…

silver bells warbling throats splat back pop rattle 

whistles and rustles, a hundred birds happy 

like nothing he has ever heard before 

but somewhere… yes that place 

warm and the beach curving 

around white sand and 

crystal clear water

dolphins chatter





and children

a net hung out 

men on stools mending,

fishermen and pots on fires and

huts under wide spreading trees with

children playing hide and seek laughing,

a village by the sea where they know his name.


Looking out from Kahuwera Pa at Paroa into the Bay of Islands

That is the sense I have of Paroa Bay, of the community of people who were there in living connection with that place of abundant life. After I left dad and before the voyage, I found Paroa Bay where Granddad grew up. Since then, there have been many experiences, deeply imprinted in me. 

I am on the urupa. The bones of these people, my people. My heart is open and soft. There is a longing, wide and empty. I weep, grieving for what was and what was lost. 

There is much that can be said about Paroa and its history. I want what is alive in me now. The step of a foot, the touch of a fingertip, the eyes sparkling with the light off raindropped leaves. I climb down from the urupa to the old pohutakawa halfway down. 


  I crawl up to where the big branches go out, a wide place, like my brain, they twist up and spread out and over the bank and the water and I’m pondering something and it’s a branch, that one, sent out over there, over the water, that’s a thought. Is that how a thought works? It’s put out to see what it will find and how things will respond to it? The branch gets to know what it is by how the air off the water finds it. Yes! Thinking is an adventure. What will it find? How will the world greet and meet this thought that got agglutinated in this here sticky root trunk of imagination? What will the world send back to me? 

How we love to be the player in this dance.

Continued from our last edition:
Rollo Brown also remembers Colleen Guray

I first met Colleen, sometime in the early 1990s. Since then it has been a long association through many AANZPA conferences and workshops. She was initially attracted to psychodrama, she said, because at least people were asked to relate to one another, something she had never learned in her original social atom. She relished Moreno’s concept of the encounter and brought it directly into her professional work as an organisational psychologist, executive coach and group leader. She did substantial hours of training, finally decided to complete her Systems Paper in 2008 and subsequently made significant progress on her sociodrama thesis. I particularly remember her systemic thinking in relation to her work with the Executive group she was writing about. She invented the memorable set of questions for the group members, “What is it about the system that keeps you stuck?” and “What is it about you that keeps the system stuck?” A highly intelligent person. I recall directing her once to take up her physicality. She stalked round the stage like a panther, loose-limbed, potent and purposeful.

Of most personal importance were the groups that she, as the child of Polish holocaust survivors, attended led by Yaakov Naor, the Israeli psychodramatist, also a 2nd generation survivor. I certainly remember her telling me the distinction between holocaust and genocide. A holocaust is the annihilation of a people by God and, hence, they have no right to exist at all. Those who did survive, should not have, and carried that guilt. Whereas genocide is the deliberate attempt by one racial group to exterminate another, where survival is not against God’s law, but still carries life-shaping consequences. I only found out at her funeral that there is a transcript of an extensive interview Yaakov had done with her on the bus trip back from Auschwitz to Berlin, in 1996, about her life as a child of holocaust survivors. And, as happens after people have died, I learnt more about her reading the transcript than from her many cryptic comments and our partial conversations over the years. At the end of the interview, Yaakov asks permission to quote her and she replies, “Of course. I always like seeing myself in print”. Her husband, Mike, told me that, as part of dignity therapy in the month before she died, Colleen was encouraged to list the most significant things in her life. Insisting it was in no particular order, the first things she wrote was Auschwitz.

She had a love of quality science fiction writers, and introduced me to Anathem by Neil Stephenson, among others. She was a voracious reader and could be relied on to find books with interesting ideas. Her cancer symptoms came and went and, late in 2019, we met at her favourite cafe over a dirty chai to reconsider her sociodrama thesis. She told me that, despite everything, her intellect was not her natural strength, it was actually affect, and then she smiled, as it was a surprise to her too, but also obviously true. All her life, it seems, she searched for understanding to make some sense of her inner life, and the great puzzle of relating to others as an outsider. She told the story that when she was born, her parents named her Feyga, after her grandmother, but the clerk at the registry office insisted that she must have a proper Australian name. So, even her family’s name for her was unacceptable. The last time I saw her was in February at the cafe, it was really to say goodbye, in person. I will miss her.

Colleen, Yaakov and the Auschwitz Trip – from conversations with Mike who dived into Colleen’s files.
While living in London, Colleen, a child of Polish holocaust survivors, attended a workshop in Jerusalem in 1995, led by Yaakov Naor, the Israeli psychodramatist, also a 2nd generation survivor. The next year, she went to a series of three workshops in Berlin led by Yaakov and Hanni Lewerenz, a German psychotherapist who had been running workshops for young Germans (most of them children or grandchildren of perpetrators). This time, in roughly equal numbers, the 2nd generation Jewish survivors would be in the same group as 2nd generation German perpetrators, although a number had parents who would never tell them what they did during the war. Their children, of course, feared the worst. What united these two groups were that secrets abounded on both sides.  This workshop series culminated in the whole group taking a bus trip for a 5 day visit to Auschwitz in Oct 1996.  Back in Sydney she ran a workshop for 2nd generation survivors with Nathan Dorra, an Israeli psychodramatist, in 1999 and a few years later with Jenny Rosen, psychologist and also  for children of survivors. In 2007 she returned to Poland, met Yaakov there, and they went to find the remains where their families had come from. In turn she took her husband, Mike, and 12 year old daughter, Miriam, there in 2009.  The whole experience was a significant step in learning about how she came to be who she was.


Dr Robert Crawford

Robert has recently moved from his beloved Hanmer Springs to a rest home in the North Island to be closer to family.

Paul Baakman writes about Robert based on his citation when he became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) – pictured above with Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand.

Paul also reflects on Robert’s influence on alcohol and other drug addiction services in New Zealand and on the role of Psychodrama in these services.

“Dr Robert Crawford was the Superintendent of the Queen Mary Hospital in Hanmer Springs, a Residential Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centre, from 1976 to 1991. Dr Crawford brought an innovative and bold approach to treating people with addictions, introducing ground-breaking educational, physical and psychotherapeutic models for recovery, especially psychodrama. Under his leadership, Queen Mary Hospital became a centre of excellence for expanding the treatment modalities for families affected by addiction and the training of health professionals and others working nationally in treatment and rehabilitation. He established a successful Kaupapa Māori/Taha Māori programme, Te Aroha o to Hau Angiangi, which provided a model of cultural healing.”

“He also authored a number of publications and served in various national governance and advisory roles, including on the treatment committee of the Alcoholic Liquor Advisory Council, the Medical Society on Alcoholism, and the Doctors Health Advisory Service. In 1999 he was appointed Director of the Christchurch Institute for Training in Psychodrama.”

“In 2018 Dr Crawford was awarded Distinguished Membership of the Australian and New Zealand Psychodrama Association.” 

“Robert has an ongoing love for and commitment to Psychodrama. He supports those who continue the work with addicted persons and their families and wants to encourage us all to keep developing the applications of Psychodrama with alcoholics and addicts.”

“He has asked me to reminds you all of the research that was done at Queen Mary Hospital about the effectiveness of Psychodrama in the work with alcoholics. The outcome was astounding: a 76% positive outcome for those patients who liked psychodrama.”

“Remembering this should function as the wind in our sails and encourage us to continue the work he pioneered. Personally, I can say that 35+ years on, my time as a therapist at Queen Mary Hospital, still inspires and informs my work.” 

Paul Baakman

Robert’s original article in the NZ Medical Journal April 1989: 



Our co-convenors Jean Mehrtens and Kate Cooke want us to warm up to this new experience. To log into their video, you will need the following Passcode: Steering5!  (Will only work with the exclamation mark.)

You may also have to wait for it to load on the Zoom site

Please watch them by clicking on the button below.

Link to Video

Responses to items in SOCIO are gratefully received by the editor – if you wish to express yourself please submit it.
ARTICLES FOR SOCIO are always welcome !! When submitting articles that have photographs of people, please ensure you have the subjects’ permission to use them in Socio which only goes to AANZPA members.

Please have your contributions to socio-editor@aanzpa.org by 20 April 2021

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