Ciotola is the 2008 recipient of the
T. Moreno Award.
Who is Zerka T. Moreno?
Zerka Toeman Moreno is often called “The Mother of Psychodrama”. She
is the widow of J. L. Moreno, M.D., and as his partner and collaborator
developed group psychotherapy, psychodrama, and sociometry. She has
written and published extensively in the field, trained psychodramatists
world-wide, and, at age 95, continues to write, train, and inspire from
her home in Charlottsville, VA. Linda is honored and proud to have
received the award named for Zerka. Zerka has just published her memoirs , entitled, To Dream Again.
This award is given annually to an individual who is not a
TEP or a Fellow of the Society for distinguished work in psychodrama,
and group psychotherapy. Selection was based on accomplishments in
the following categories:
- professional presentations
- professional activities leading to
the increasing utilization and awareness of psychodrama
membership activities \
Here is the presentation speech:
Remarks* of Cathy Nugent to the ASGPP
Introducing Linda Ciotola, Winner of the
2008 Zerka T. Moreno Award
ASGPP Annual Conference
April 12, 2008
I am honored to present the Zerka T. Moreno Award to my friend
and colleague, Linda Ciotola. When I think of Zerka Moreno, two role
descriptors that spring immediately to mind are “collaborator” and “innovator.” These
two words also aptly describe Linda.
Over the past several years, I’ve been fortunate to have many opportunities
to collaborate with Linda on the design and delivery of psychodrama personal
growth and training workshops. Linda is the kind of collaborator
one dreams of working with – knowledgeable, conscientious, organized,
and creative. She brings tremendous resources and skills to the table,
but, even more important, Linda she has a way of drawing out the best in
her collaborators that truly maximizes the co-creative process. She
demonstrates tremendous openness and a genuine enthusiasm for the
work by, in her words, taking on the roles of leader and learner at the
As an innovator, Linda has been very productive. She has developed
a variety of psychodramatic action structures, such as the body dialogue,
the “walk around the clock check-in,” and others. All
are informed by her expert knowledge of holistic health, body psychotherapy,
and psychodrama, combined with her signature touches -- exceptional creativity
and a dash of the playful or whimsical. Those who work and train
with Linda are familiar with her use of stuffed animals and animal puppets,
which she calls her “furry auxiliaries.” More than simply
giving her auxiliary objects a cute and clever name, Linda has developed
a myriad of ways to use them in individual and group work, both as therapeutic
and training tools. Part of what makes Linda so innovative, I think,
is her ability to tap into her joyful, spontaneous child role, and
it is delightful to see the playfulness and enthusiasm Linda can access
in her work as a psychodramatist.
Linda has served as a workshop co-leader with Zerka on
at least two occasions I know of, so I wrote to Zerka to ask
have some words of congratulations for Linda.
Linda Ciotola is a natural-born psychodramatist. She discovered it
as the mother to her own son, when she helped him to overcome a fear he
had by accepting his reality and using it in surplus reality to overcome
it together. That was well before she knew there was such an approach
to a child’s or adult’s inner world know as psychodrama, When
she did find it – or it found her—she felt she had come home. Linda
well deserves this award. It is a suitable recognition of her achievements
in our field. Good luck, Linda.
In closing, I would like to suggest that what makes Linda’s work
as a psychodramatist so inspired and inspiring is that, at her best, she
is able to move aside from her ego, and step into a sacred space she has
created through her spiritual practice. At such moments, Linda is
lit from within, and all within her orbit benefit from her light. That
is a phenomenon to see, and, certainly, one to honor.
I am delighted to present this year’s Zerka T. Moreno award winner,
*Actual remarks delivered may have differed slightly from
the prepared text
Linda with Zerka Moreno at Zerka’s
Upon Receipt of the Zerka Moreno Award
In 1975, I was in my mid-20’s, a wife, mother, amateur actress and
director, finishing my graduate degree in education. I was writing
a final paper on my Philosophy of Education – I called it “Education
as a Dramatic Process”. I had focused my work on both theatre
and philosophy, and, although I wouldn’t learn
there was such a thing as psychodrama for another
17 years, I knew somehow that my passion
to make the world a better place thru theatre,
philosophy, creative arts, psychology, and education
was my spiritual calling.
As I have followed that calling, I have simultaneously held the roles
of both teacher and learner. I want to express
my gratitude to my teachers, trainers, students,
trainees, colleagues, family and friends.
To Cathy Nugent who has encouraged me from the time
I first discovered psychodrama and who is a dear and treasured
colleague and collaborator
To my primary CP trainer, JoAnn Thacker, who trained me with brilliant perception, encouragement, and compassion.
To my secondary CP trainer and TSM trainer, Kate Hudgins,
who challenged me to work with trauma survivors with courage
To my primary TEP trainer, Joe Kenna, who is the heart
of support and encouragement
To my secondary TEP trainer, Mario Cossa, who is my
role model for training with clarity and creativity
To Adam Blatner who encouraged me to write and publish
To Connie Miller whose work in Souldrama has helped
me grow both personally and professionally
To Kathy Amsden who blesses me with music and friendship
To Karen Drucker, Karen Carnabucci, Steve Kopp and all
the members of MAC and ASGPP past and present
To Cathy’s sister, Alma, whose unwaivering friendship has sustained
me for two decades
And to my husband, Joe, my children, clients, protagonists,
and trainees who have been my greatest teachers.
And to Zerka who never ceases to inspire me. I am both
honored and humbled to accept this award in gratitude to all
who have taught
me, inspired me, and sustained me.
Let us never lose sight of the dream of healing all
Cathy Nugent presenting Linda with the Zerka Moreno Award at
the ASGPP Conference in San Antonio, Texas, 2008.