The History of Swedish Morenoinstitute

The history of the institute dates back to 1970, when Gretel Leutz introduced psychodrama in Sweden. Leif Dag Blomkvist started the first formal basic training to psychodrama assistant in cooperation with S:t Lars hospital in Lund. Södra Sveriges förening för psykodrama was founded 1975. 1977, the first further training and the first instructor group began. The association was well acknowledged in the south of Sweden and collaborated with the Moreno institute in New York. At first the work was located at S:t Lars hospital in Lund, where both clinical work as well as education were being prosecuted. During the following years the activities spread and the association started educational programmes in Karlskrona, Linköping, Stockholm, Visby and Falun. Several new psychodrama theatres were built and the demands on having an independent institute representing Morenos philosophy increased. The original Moreno institute in Beacon, New York, closed down 1985 and Zerka Moreno continued to supporting the international development of psychodrama. 1987, Södra Sveriges institut för psykodrama recieved Zerka Moreno’s approval to take the name Svenska Morenoinstitutet, and she attended the opening at Grand Hotel in Norrköping 1988.

Through the years the institute has followed the original definition of psychodrama and group psychotherapy. Psychotherapy has been defined as ”serving the soul”, psychodrama as seeing ”the action of the soul”, and group psychotherapy as ”serving the group”. Psychodrama and sociometry has been regarded as equally important parts of the method. The institute has seen it as psychodrama’s purpose to teach people to become sensitive and to develop an ethical and responsible way of life. These are wider goals than usual in therapeutic kontexts. The institute has with it’s courses welcomed everyone willing to grow and has defined psychodrama as something much broader than psychotherapy. Artistic, humanistic and social dimensions have been given more room than clinical, diagnostical. Already at the beginning of the 1980s several psychodrama seminars were held in Barcelona, Budapest, Lissabon and Amsterdam, which contributed in the making of the surrealistic psychodrama. Marc Treadwell, who has been trainer at basic and further levels in Sweden during the years, has been the driving force in this work.

Leif Dag Blomkvist was the institute’s leader until his death in May 2007. There has been a core of teachers at basic level while the guest teachers in the further education have been colleagues from USA and Europe as well. Parallelly with the institute’s expansion in Sweden, the Estonian, German and Swiss branches were built up. Exchange has taken place during all the years. For almost thirty years the institute has given courses at all levels. In general several basic educations have ran parallelly and every third or fourth year a new further education has started. For over fifteen years the institute’s staff of teachers were held together by method and instructor seminars three times a year, led by Leif Dag Blomkvist. He defended the Morenian psychology and inspired the institute’s teachers to deepen their knowledge in areas such as surrealism, Greek mythology, alchemy and different philosophers’ theories. He also saw to that the institute kept contact with other countries’ institutes nad arranged during many years recurrent seminars in Lichtenstein, Karlovy Vary and on the rebuilt Beacon stage outside New York. At the end of the 1900s some of the teachers left the institute and formed two new, and the activities in Sweden became less comprehensive.

Svenska Morenoinstitutet has in all these years stood for the merging of Moreno’s original thoughts with other artistic and philosophical movements. After Leif Dag’s departure Marc Treadwell has taken over the leadership. Now the institute stand before the mission of not losing it’s distinctive character and at the same time reaching out to new groups of people.