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Salvador Minuchin, structural family therapy theorist, described enactment as the technique by which the therapist asks the family to "dance in his presence" (1974).
Commenting on the efficacy and widespread utilization of enactment in family therapy, Hamburg (1985) writes:
Enactment is one of family therapy's most powerful techniques for inducing behavioral and experiential change.
Of his technique of psychodrama Moreno (1953) wrote: "There are several forms of enactment, pretending to be in a role, re-enactment or acting out a past scene, living out a problem presently pressing, creating life on the stage or testing oneself for the future" (p.
Blatner (1973) refers to psychodrama as "acting-in": "What emerges is an enactment which turns the impulse into insights.
Personality theorist George Kelly, developer of Personal Construct Theory, also spoke of the use of enactment in group work.
Early literature on Gestalt group work is also replete with references to enactment.
As Anna Freud pointed out, in the context of the widening scope of psycho-analytic treatment the concept of acting out has undergone a change from denoting resistance against recovering the past to denoting experiential attempts at re-enactment or enactment in the clinical situation [emphasis mine].
Hoffman (1983), in a prescient acknowledgement of enactment, also interchangeably used the terms.
According to Aron (1996), the key analyst responsible for "the introduction and acceptance of the term enactment within the mainstream psychoanalytic community is Theodore Jacobs.
Neuroscience has elucidated the process of enactment even further, through its findings on neural networking.
This caveat notwithstanding, neuroscience, validating Hume's centuries-old two-person perspective with the discovery of mirror neurons, has aided psychoanalysis in scientifically validating the process of enactment.
I will suggest that all behavior might involve an enactment of neurally encoded schemas.
When the enactment goes unrecognized, it can leave the therapist lost in the dyad of the relationship.
Therapists have a responsibility to understand how a patient is engaging them in the dyadic relationship and to detect, understand, and interpret enactment involving both parties in the dyad, he said.