Saturday, 6 June 2009


A lost link

An commonplace feature of the creation myth of Conductive Eduction, as typically recounted, is András Pető's association with psychodrama.

Certainly, András Pető was closely involved with Jakob Moreno in their early student days, when the latter was acting out his first manifestations of this approach, and Pető's book Unfug der Krankheit includes a chapter called 'Ein Hitler-Psychodrama'. But what to make of this association in connection with Conductive Education. András Pető and Mária Hári have left no explicit account of any such connection and I am not aware of psychodrama's explicit incorporation into conductor-training, anywhere (I could be wrong and, if so, I would welcome specific information to the contrary).

It is of course open to anyone, in this as in other respects, to analyse and articulate conductive practice using any preferred theoretical framework, but so far no observers, service-users, commentators or academics have examined conductive practice from the point of view of psychodrama.

All this is a shame for, if psychodrama really was important to András Pető and his own practice, then it might prove fruitful to elaborate present conductive practice in a conscious appreciation of what psychodrama was and is about.

Psychodrama today

Like everything else, psychodrama has seen much change and development over the course of a century. An important modern representative is Lois Holtzman working out of the Eastside Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy in New York.

An intriguing cross-connection is that Lois is a leading American 'neo-Vygotskian'.

Were Conductive Education less autarchic then conductors and others with commitment to developing conductive services in the New York area might have already beaten a path to the door of the Eastside Institute.

A quick introduction

Later this month the Eastside Institute is hosting a half-day introductory experience led by Mark Wentworth:

An Introduction to

The drama of life and community

with Mark Wentworth

'If you can dream it, you can play it,
if you can act it, you can create it.


Sunday, 21 June 2009

14th Floor
920 Broadway
New York, NY

Fee $35 (students/seniors $10)

If, while reading the blurb for this event, you consider shamanism and the like rather an unlikely consideration in the context of Conductive Education, even an unsuitable one, then do have a thought for what the founder of Conductive Education wrote in the Unfug der Krankheit ('The Nonsense of Illness'), his only substantial published monograph. There are still copies turning up in the second-hand bookshops of Europe for sale over the Internet...

Further information

Enter "Psychodrama", Jakob Moreno", "Lois Holtzman" and/or "Eastside Institute" into the search engine of your choice, to find more than enough to be getting on with that is highly evocative for anyone in Conductive Education.


Bärnklau, O. [pseudonym of A. Pető] (1965) Unfug der Krankheit: Triumph der Heilkunst. Hanau/Main: Verlag Karl Schustek.

If you would like to shop around for a copy yourself (NB the book is in German) then enter "Unfug der Krankheit" into your search engine, not forgetting to include the inverted commas.

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