Zerka T. Moreno

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Zerka T. Moreno
Moreno in 1986
Celine Zerka Toeman

(1917-06-13)June 13, 1917
Amsterdam, Netherlands
DiedSeptember 19, 2016(2016-09-19) (aged 99)
Known forSociometry, psychodrama
SpouseJacob Levy Moreno
ChildrenJonathan D. Moreno
Regina Moreno
Scientific career
FieldsEducation, psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy, social psychology

Zerka Toeman Moreno (June 13, 1917 – September 19, 2016) was a Dutch-born American psychotherapist and co-creator of psychodrama. She was a close colleague and wife of Jacob Levy Moreno.


Celine Zerka Toeman was born in Amsterdam on June 13, 1917.[1] Her paternal grandparents were grain merchants who, like many other Jewish families of the time, left Warsaw to go to England when Zerka's father, Joseph Toeman (1887–1956), was still a toddler. Her mother, Rosalia Gutwirth (1890–1969) originated from Eastern Europe.

It was in the Netherlands that Zerka, the youngest of four children, lived the first part of her life. Her siblings were Sabine (born 1912), Rudolph (1913–1992) and Charles (1916–1990). In 1931, when Zerka was fourteen, her parents moved to London to reunite with the rest of her father's family. Here, she finished high school and later studied art and fashion design. In 1939, she crossed the Atlantic for the first time to arrive in the USA with some family friends. In 1941, she was able to take her elder sister from Belgium to New York, to pursue treatment for her sister's mental illness.[2]

Moreno was one of the co-founders of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy.

Moreno's contribution to the field of group psychotherapy and psychodrama began immediately upon meeting Dr. J. L. Moreno. Within a year of their meeting J.L. and Moreno founded the Sociometric Institute on Park Avenue, New York City. They established the Psychodramatic Institute in New York in 1942. They began producing the journal Group Psychotherapy (originally called Sociatry) in 1947, publishing a volume of research documenting their application and refinement to the social sciences of sociatry, psychodrama, and sociometry. Moreno was J. L. Moreno's partner and co-creator for over thirty years until his death in 1974.

Moreno continued training and teaching the psychodramatic theory and method for more than 30 years since Dr. Moreno's death, training psychodramatists worldwide. Moreno is recognized as a leader in further realizing Dr. Moreno's vision in bringing this method to the lives of communities worldwide. In the 2000s she lived in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Moreno died in Rockville, Maryland, on September 19, 2016, at the age of 99.[3]

The Zerka T. Moreno Foundation for Education and Training[edit]

The Zerka T. Moreno Foundation is involved in the exploration of the Morenean theory, which examines the complex dynamics of human interaction. Moreno has been influential in shaping the foundation's activities regarding psychodrama and group psychotherapy. It engages in various initiatives including training, research, and educational programs conducted in diverse locations like Western Massachusetts, Lesley University in Cambridge, and Portugal. With a collection of unpublished works by J.L. Moreno, the foundation offers insights into his evolving ideas. It also provides a selection of training resources by Zerka T. Moreno, promoting the exchange of knowledge within these fields. As a non-profit organization, the foundation operates with a focus on advancing understanding in these domains.[4]


  • Moreno, Z. T. (2012). To dream again: A memoir. New York: MHR[5]


  1. ^ "Toeman, Celine Zerka › Toeman, Celine Zerka - Fold3.com". Fold3. Retrieved 2020-10-28.
  2. ^ "Kalverstraat". joodsamsterdam (in Dutch). Retrieved 2020-10-28.
  3. ^ "Zerka T. Moreno's passing". sociodrama.co.uk. The UK Sociodrama & Creative Action Network. September 20, 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-20.
  4. ^ American Society of Group Psychotherapy & Psychodrama (April 15–19, 2010). "68TH Annual Group Psychotherapy & Psychodrama Conference" (PDF). American Society of Group Psychotherapy & Psychodrama.
  5. ^ "Bibliography of Psychodrama: Search Failed".

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