for the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Psychodrama Association (AANZPA)
Welcome to the 3rd Edition of Socio

Kia ora

The flowers are blooming,
The sun is out more,
The temperature’s rising,
meaning SPRING is HERE

Many thanks to contributors Selina Reid, Anne Hale, Simon Gurnsey and Cissy Rock.

An Exposition – Valuing our uniqueness

What a great day we had on the 10th of August at the Historical Ferndale House in Auckland. Twenty-seven of us – northern region members and ATCP trainees – gathered for a day of workshop sessions, connections and continuing conversations over dinner. The photos, along with comments from the workshop leaders and two attendees, provide a glimpse into the day. Selina Reid (Northern Region committee)


Sue Christie – Warm Up and Integration Sessions

It was very satisfying to explore the diversity of the Northern Region community. There was a number of long standing members as well people much newer to psychodrama. Through the day people warmed up to their curiousity and appreciation of each other, and connections were made across groups that wouldn’t normally get to spend time together.

Pip van Kuilenburg – Paradoxes in Group Life 

A day of warmth, companionship and collegiality. I loved being part of an event where trainees relatively new to the method felt free to share their work and gain confidence in presenting. There was a lot of generosity and a willingness to work with imperfection. The beginnings, I hope, of an ongoing event.

Andy Shaw – Facilitating and Sociometry 

I enjoyed how welcomed I felt as a first experience of presenting to this group. I felt empowered to talk about how I apply sociometry and what I know about it from my learning in the world. Other people were so interested in that. 

Cissy Rock – Facing Facebook 

I felt relaxed and I delighted in moments when people expressed themselves freely, e.g. pushing bellybuttons to make Facebook come alive. I really enjoyed seeing people outside of the training group; realizing I knew most of them and getting to know others I hadn’t met. I love that AANZPA Northern is on alert, wanting to get better connected with each other.

Hadyn Olsen – Making Interventions When People Believe They Are Being Bullied At Work 

I found the session constructive and illuminating. It helped me think about using more sociodramatic interventions with groups I work with.

Yvonne Shaw – Psychodrama Through the Lens

My workshop centred around a slideshow of moments in two days of psychodrama that I had framed up earlier this year. It was an opportunity to consider psychodrama via the lens of an artist, seeing how lighting and composition imprint a moment in the memory of an auxiliary or protagonist. My hope was realised as participants saw ways in which a still and wordless moment can be sustained and held, leading to a profound experience. 

Cushla Clark – The Psychodramatic Stage 

I enjoyed the opportunity to share with others in the region my passion for the potency of the Morenian stage. We explored the impact of the physical space on the warm up, the group, and the protagonist. People shared that their consciousness of the stage was heightened and that they were wamed up to further experimentation in their work spaces.

Marilyn Sutcliffe – Psychodrama Session 

I had a positive experience. I really felt that people were with me and we created an event together.

Jane Goessi – Sociodrama Session

I ran a sociodrama session based on my analysis of the dynamics of AANZPA Northern evoked by the notion of an “Exposition”. I enjoyed myself. It was a really good event to build community. I met people I didn’t know. I think it would be great to do every year.


Robin Sutcliffe 

I had a great time. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming and a spirit of generosity permeated the day. The glimpses I had of how people engage with the method were thought provoking. I come away, in particular, with a more-nuanced appreciation of the phases of warm-up and with my thinking stimulated regarding bullying in the workplace. 

Marian Hammond

It was a day in which the Māori principle of manākitanga was fully embraced by the committee, as expressed in their warm welcome, provision of an abundance of food, and an impressive number and range of workshops. We were left with a satisfying sense that the Exposition Day had proved to be a true ‘watering hole’ for us all. 

Christchurch Conference 2020

A Loving Look Back

By now all members and associate members will have received the Conference Announcement and an Invitation to Present at the Conference. It is the hope of the organisers that the theme, ‘An Everlasting Present – integrating experience’.

Whoops, sorry… wrong conference! That was 2004!

I have been reading the ANZPA (yes, ANZPA!) Bulletin No. 30 from July 2003. Socio’s predecessor, the Bulletin, was done in black ink printed on white glossy paper, posted out to all ANZPA members, published by Colin Martin and this edition was edited by Grace Kennedy. Who remembers those days?

The article was by Christchurch’s own Paul Baakman. He sends, ‘Greetings from the Christchurch Conference Committee!’ I love his line in the article, ‘A great deal more can be said and done in relation to this theme’, so prescient. We were living in the present, our hopes and dreams alive. Going by the photo accompanying the article our younger selves were a jolly happy lot and our meeting with Exec seemed to have gone well. We were looking pretty pleased with the ‘present’ and were anticipating a great event.

My older self is inspired by that committee. They were a well organised, thoughtful and well-connected group, who were excited about the 2004 conference and were staying ‘light’ and un-rushed. Lovely.

Flash forward 16 years and a lightness of touch, a sense of togetherness and dedication still typifies our committee meetings. Some people from the photo are bringing their experience to bear today; Sara Crane, Paul Baakman, Ali Begg, me. Others are working in different roles.

The 2020 conference is shaping up to be a doozy.

The Association is responding to our times with its conference theme.

Beauty and Truth
Ugliness and Ignorance

Pre and post-conference workshops have been organised:

  • Giovanni Fusetti, a self-described ‘Italian multi-disciplinary fool’, is giving the keynote address and will offer a two-day pre-conference workshop, The Tao of Clown: A poetic journey of awareness through laughter.
  • AANZPA psychodramatist, Hiromi Nakagomi, is offering a one-day pre-conference workshop How do different cultures meet?

We have cleverly arranged the pre-workshops so you can attend both of these.

  • A two-day post-conference workshop, It’s what we do now that matters: Spontaneity after a breach in the working alliance, is being led by Charmaine McVea.

We would also love to hear from you if you feel warmed up to running a conference session. Have a chat with the programme group (Paul, Walter, David) if your ideas are still forming,

Registrations are now open for the 2020 Ōtautahi Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand Conference.

Simon Gurnsey
Canterbury Westland Regional President and Conference 2020 Treasurer

Aotearoa New Zealand Trainers’ Meeting 
Aotearoa New Zealand trainers’ meeting being held at the Our Lady’s Home of Compassion in Island Bay Wellington. The photo shows the trainers and Board of Examiners members learning dance moves during a break in the work.
Left to right: Jenny Hutt, Rollo Browne, Chris Hosking, Diana Jones, Paul Baakman, Bev Hosking, Hiromi Nakagomi, Simon Gurnsey, Charmaine McVea, Viv Thomson, Cher Williscroft, Martin Putt and Sara Crane. Missing from the photo are Hamish Brown, Walter Logeman and Claire Guy.
The Walking Billboard

I have always loved promotional products.  Be it a tee shirt or a pen, a drink bottle, a tote bag or a cup.

At the conference last year I got very warmed up to the idea that AANZPA could have a tee-shirt, with the notion that this could be like a walking billboard for us.  Something to help people understand more about why we love psychodrama so much. Also, something that could potentially desensitise some of the language (because I know that often when people hear the word psychodrama, it conjures up all sorts of ideas for them!).
So when they see someone like us wearing the shirts, it will hopefully not only spark their curiosity to find out more, but they will also realise that it is nothing to be frightened of (well most of the time anyway!).

I made a proposal to the projects committee – it was huge and involved a whole lot of tee shirt prototypes with different phrases, quotes and pics on them that we would get printed.

The idea was to have a survey in action. That people throughout our association in Australia and New Zealand would wear them and seek real-time feedback – so that when the time came to deliver a tee shirt, we would have something that was based on real-life experience.   However, after feedback from the special projects committee, I realised that there were many more questions to be answered and other people going for projects that might have more weight. Things that couldn’t be self-funded or done in a different way.

I spoke about this at one of our Northern Region dinners and found out (much to my horror,) that not everyone was even warmed up to the idea of a tee shirt.  I realised I had made some basic assumptions that had turned out not to be correct.

So this is my next attempt at working out from the people in our association what would be useful – be it a tee shirt or a different product, or not.

CLICK HERE is a short questionnaire, and I would love to hear your thoughts!

Cissy Rock

Book Review: 
Leadership Material: How Personal Experience Shapes Executive Presence.  By Diana Jones. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2017
Review by Anne E Hale from the ASGPP Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy, pp 164-165. Vol 66, no. 1

Diana Jones has written an exceptional guide to the complex journey of becoming a valued and responsive leader. For most of us the role comes first. We then have that extended ‘‘seat of our pants’’ period when we struggle with how much of our true person can exist alongside, or even benefit, the job of leading. Diana’s book awakens the reader to a level of consciousness bright with promise. Her language is simple and flows as you turn pages, reading remarkable stories of persons like you, making their way—sometimes defensive, sometimes clueless, and still eager to learn and succeed.

The book is organized in 10 chapters, each chapter with case studies from Diana’s 30 years as an executive coach. Then you are provided with practice sessions developed to invite you into the training session and become your own case study. For example, in Chapter 3: “How Relationships Work’’, Diana offers the reader a series of questions and short tasks giving you an experience of your personal sociometry—the people who make up the world you inhabit, who stand out, blend in, or trip you up. You get to know empathy in the workplace. You study your own groups and create a case study of your connections. This guidance has immediate benefits when you follow along with the tips Diana gives for the language of the receptive leader.

Persons trained in psychodrama, sociodrama, and sociometry will find this chapter a remarkable example in the way Diana introduces the concepts and experiences drawn from her years of study to become one of the few certified sociometrists in the world. (She is a TEP certified through the Australian and  Aotearoa New Zealand Psychodrama Association and a past member of their executive board.) In Chapter 3 there is a section entitled ‘‘The Tele Connection.’’

Diana begins with: “Something beyond the traditional concept of empathy is required to account for the complex dynamics of work relationships. Relationships are not one-way, they are two-way between people, and multidimen- sional among people. Where ‘empathy’ falls short in organizations is that its one-way nature leaves staff and peers unaccountable for their part in the relationship.
The field of Sociometry gives us language and concepts to help us describe what is occurring. . . . Tele reflects the socioemotional distance between people based on measures of companionship”. (p.59)

It is helpful for business leaders, heads of agencies, and managers of large and small corporations to know there is a rich field of study of interpersonal communication available. And further, it is a field that goes beyond the building of skills and resources. It is a field that grows you into a person who connects with others, who is seen by others as receptive, a person others want to have as a leader.

Diana shines the light on the steady commitment it takes to discover the way your life experiences enrich the work you have chosen. She calls us to value our emotional life as the source of how we have come to know the important events that have shaped us. To quote her again, ‘‘Mutual positive connections inspire people to take action, leading to progress and forward movement’’ (p. 61).

Executive presence is highly sought. It conveys a level of involvement that is welcoming, inclusive, attractive, and solid. Some may confuse this presence with charisma. Perhaps energetically they have similar components; however, executive presence is earned through mining your own personal history for the essence of that life event as a valuable experience to build upon. Diana describes these events as the source of the ‘‘emotional tone’’ the leader brings into the room, the source of his or her receptivity to the others.

This is one of those books you take with you when you travel to offsite locations. It helps you integrate moments that have unsettled you. The sections of each chapter take you directly to Diana’s succinct listing of questions to ask yourself. You are able to reflect more easily with her practical approach. A whole team can engage with the perplexing issues and feel Diana’s presence as a guide.

Attributing meaning to something immediate and sharing the search with colleagues creates a bond. Well done, Diana. Thank you for your generous sharing from your professional and personal life.

Readers will want to check out Diana Jones’s website The Organisational Development Company as a resource for useful videos, podcasts, and her monthly newsletter.

Ann E. Hale, MA, TEP