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Dynamic of social interest

Dr. Albina Kepalaitė

 Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania

e-mail: [email protected]


Different theories of psychology and therapy, trying to help the person, are traditionally directed on development of Ego autonomies, independence, identity, believing, that the mature individual itself will manage constructive mutual relation with associates. At the same time, importance for development of the person’ interpersonal communications, attitudes with all associates in the broad sense of the word – an alive and lifeless nature is overlooked. Theories and principles of practical activities of A.Adler and J.L.Moreno accenting social human nature, mutual aid, cooperation, constructive influence on an environment and a society entirely, are very actual in present time.

         Both psychotherapeutic approaches are similar on structure of psychotherapeutic process. Time and receptions requires in both cases the inclusion in psychotherapy. In adlerian psychotherapy this adequate to the phase of democratic mutual relation, in psychodrama- warming up. Research of life style, the erroneous purposes in individual psychotherapy is similar to a phase of action in psychodrama. Reorientation and acceptance responsibility in adlerian therapy has similarity to the phase of sharing in psychodrama.

         Thus, both psychotherapeutic systems have enough, as well as similarities, and distinctions. the given research will lean on the basic similarity in both systems – a social basis of the person.

The formulation of purpose of this study bases on the main concepts of individual psychology: feeling of communality and social interest (3, 11) The feeling of communality is that force which directs the compensation of superiority and reflects social roots of the person. Feeling of communality express a constant, positive attitude to other people, care about others, and unconditional acceptance of others. Social interest is such aspect of communality feeling which reflects active, socially useful interaction with other people. The mature personality compensates feeling of inferiority according to the advanced social interest and tries to solve a situation, a problem, to perfect him, not others (2). This is the main condition for better adaptation to social life and expresses in cooperation with others.

         The purpose of this pilot study is to disclose the dynamic of social interest through psychodrama sessions.

Methodology of research

The general principles. Psychodrama is such an approach of group psychotherapy when participants dramatize the past, present or the future life situations in role game for the purpose of deeper comprehension and achievement catharsis (5,8,10). Situations are played in group, and it helps to realize and integrate emotions, to realize ways of behaviour in specific situations and to change it.

Procedure. Psycho-dramatic sessions were once a week in 4 hours of 12 weeks. The total sum hours is equaled to 48 hours. Psycho-dramatic sessions were directed on self-knowledge of participants and concentrated on their specific problems. Sessions began with warming up exercises, duration of 30 minutes. The purpose of this stage was also development of spontaneity, activity, and preparation to accept roles. After the ending of warm-up was defined protagonist for investigation the problem during this session. The following phase is acting stage. In the last stage of psycho-dramatic group process, participants share the feelings, and also the similarity of the experiences noticed by them and protagonists’ life experience. If there was time – were played vignettes.

Techniques. Director uses typical for psychodrama techniques: the exchange of roles – during which protagonist takes a place of other character on a stage; doubling – when participants and conducting relates to protagonist and helps him to express feelings; the mirror – protagonist from side observes development actual to him actions; a monologue – protagonist aloud verbalizes the ideas, feelings during action or for warming-up the theme; maximization – protagonist increases action, expression of feelings (6,7,9).

Role conducting. The directing of psychodrama sessions could be defined by the following criteria (12):

1.      Directedness – non-directedness. On this parameter work in psycho-dramatic sessions could be named flexibly directive. Because sessions have the structure (having warmed up, action, sharing), but the subjects of sessions depend exclusively on needs of group and protagonist.

2.      Interpretation – non-interpretation. Directly interpretation was not made, participants generalized the experience or by means of leading questions: that it reminds you, to what is connected etc.

3.      Confrontation – non-confrontation. During sessions it was not specified unproductive behaviour directly, but it was assisted in comprehension of unproductive behaviour and at will protagonist – he could research by psycho-dramatic way.

4.      Catharsis – non-catharsis. Using doubling, maximization, a monologue – expression of feelings and ideas was supposed.

5.      Rigid structure – non-structure. There was no thematic structure, but there was psycho-dramatic structure in distribution of time, the specified phases (see 1 point).

6.       Self-disclosing –non-disclosing. During sharing and especial in initial sessions, expression of feelings, experiences of director was supposed.

Recipients. In research participated 2 experimental groups (8 and 10 person in everyone) all of 18 participants. In each group was one male, others were female. All participants are students of university. They have decided to participate in group work at their own will. The age of participants was from 19 till 22 years, middle age is equaled 21, 5 year.

         Control group was the academic group of students of undergraduates total amount of 18 person, among them were two male. The age was from 22 till 23 years, middle age of the given group – 22, 2 years.

          Thus, both groups are about the same age and structure to a sexual attribute. As an independent variable the gender and age was not examined because of too small sexual and age differentiation.

Techniques. Social interest was examined by the scale of social interest (4). The scale is made with 24 pairs personal qualities from which it is necessary to choose that quality which recipient most prefers. The parameter of social interest was defined on the sum of key answers. Its maximal value makes 15 points.

Process of research. Research of experimental group was done before the first session and one week after sessions. The control group answered the scale two times, between measurements was the same interval in 13 weeks, as for experimental group.

Data processing. Because of small amount of recipients the variability of data did not satisfy criteria of normal distribution, therefore for search of distinctions nonparametric criteria were used. Dynamics of parameters inside one group (as experimental so control) it was defined by nonparametric criterion of a sign – G. Comparison of parameters between experimental and control groups was defined by nonparametric criterion of Mann – Whitney – U. In data processing was used 10 version of SPSS.

Results and discussion

Results of this research have shown some significant changes which have taken place in the course of psychodrama sessions concerning dynamics of social interest.

It is necessary to note, that for participants of this self-knowledge course is characteristic much less expressed social interest in comparison with control group. Parameter of social interest at experimental group statistically significantly below control (p < 0,05). But in the course of psychodramatic sessions parameters of social interest (p < 0,05), have considerably increased. These parameters for control group didn’t change (p>0,05).

A.Adler (3), J.Moreno (10) in the practice and the theory emphasize importance of social inclusion in life, and explains neurotic person as with shortage of social connections. It is possible to assume, that students have chosen visiting group, having felt the gap in the adaptation. The increase of social interest in the course of psychodrama indirectly can confirm it. Results of dynamics of behaviour in group show a way and opportunities of the reference to microsocium of group. As confirmation of this statement can serve statements of participants in last session that they have started “to see more in other people”, that they “feel more patience to others” and etc. Certainly, such dynamics of social interest could be observed and in groups with other theoretical principles, and this phenomenon could be the object of other researches. 

Representation of the case.

X the female student of 4-th rate of social sciences, 21 year old. At the first research her parameter of social interest was 6 points, after sessions – 9 points. Supervision of her attendance to the group showed, that X never was late, did not miss any session. She wasn’t initiative for contacts. During the first warm-up when participants were animals in a midday sun and aspired to water, Inna was an animal that nobody could recognize. She went with the bent legs and hands leaned on a floor. In a consequence appeared, that she represented the monkey. During words “suddenly” which were said on a way of animals to water, with the purpose of creation the situation of uncertainty and probable projections of the feelings, behaviour, X was simply closed in a lump while others showed or aggression, or clinked the friend to the friend. In discussion she has told, that “suddenly” has taken away from her forces and simply it would not be desirable to move and have any contacts. Also she has realized, that in situations of uncertainty, threats she don’t aspire to contacts, to the help of others and concentrates on herself. During 3 sessions she was one of sociometrically chosen protagonist, but has given up the place as she said more to a vital topic of other participant. X participated in all psychodrama sessions as auxiliary (5 times), the doubler (4 times), and the antagonist (2 times). It is possible to note some development of roles on which her chose. She was a chamomile, a bird, the girlfriend, the taxi driver, the teacher (auxiliary roles). She was doubling the protagonists: exploring attitudes with the younger sister; addictive to love of the participant; mother; flight. As the antagonist she has acted in a role of the father living outside of family, and quarreled, feeling of aggression. Participants of group, in process of X’s change, being based on “tele”, began to choose her on a role of a different level: from psychological (aggression), social (the taxi driver, the teacher) up to transcendental (flight). For J.Moreno development of the person consists in expansion of self-understanding, comprehension of the connection with Cosmos. It passes different role levels: somatic, psychological, social, and transcendental (9). For passage on the following level development of roles of previous level is necessary. So, development of social roles, expansion of communications of the person with other people, is necessary for achievement of transcendence (6). When the person self-transcending his egocentrism, he experiences itself as a part of universal, in existential connections with other people. It show the similarity with feeling of a community about which speaks A.Adler (1, 2).

         X has presented the problem on 5-th session. She presents doubts concerning the further training at university and desire to be engaged in music. As it was a theme of a choice – was solved to put two stages in which she would feel herself in these two opportunities, has gone through them, would take a detached view. Taken a detached view (mirror), she has given both directions of the life equal odds. Being in “mirror” she has told, that would like to connect two opportunities and to use music in psychotherapy. Inna has wished to try itself in a new role of the musical therapist. Thus, X not only has lived in operation the ambivalent situation, but having realized it on a basis insight, using the creativity, has created for itself a new opportunity which an effective way and has checked up. In sharing, all in group has responded on the duality submitted by X and a problem of a combination of real opportunities. X’s problem, it is possible to tell, was that event of group work which has served for unification of group.


Change of social interest might be biased presumably on the influence of the therapeutic factors of psychodrama and need further investigations. But this pilot study preliminary assumes psychodrama’s application as preventive mean against psychological difficulties, for developing of social interest.

The literature:

1.  Adleris, A. (2003.) Žmogaus pažinimas. Vilnius: ALK/Vaga.

2.  Ansbacher H., Ansbacher R. (Ed.) (1964.) The individual psychology of Alfred Adler. New York.

  1. Ansbacher, H.L. (1992) Alfred Adler, pioneer in prevention of mental disorders // Journal of Individual Psychology, Vol.48, No. 1, p. 1-34.

  2. Crandall, J.E. (1981.) Theory and measurement of social interest. Columbia: Columbia University Press.

  3. Blatner, A. (1997.) Acting-In. Practical applications of psychodramatic methods. New York: Springer. (2nd edition)

  4. Fox, D. (1987.) The essential Moreno. Writings on psychodrama, group method, and spontaneity by J.L.Moreno, M.D. New York: Springer.

  5. Gale, D. (1990.) What is psychodrama. Loughton, Essex: Gale Centre Publications.

  6. Geisler, F. (2001.) Psichodrama: ištakos ir galimybės. Vilnius: Friskas.

  7.  Goldman E., Morrison D.S. (1984.) Psychodrama: experience and process. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt publishing company.

  8. Moreno, J.L. (1987.) Psychodrama and Sociodrama. In: Fox, D. (Ed.) The essential Moreno. Writings on psychodrama, group method, and spontaneity by J.L.Moreno, M.D. New York: Springer.

  9. Sweeney, T.; Witmer, J.M. (1991.) Beyond Social Interest: Striving toward Optimum Health and Wellness // Individual Psychology, Vol. 47, No. 4, p. 527-540.

  10. Yalom, I.D. (1995) .The theory and practice of group psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books.

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