Zerka T. Moreno

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Zerka T. Moreno
ZERKA-MORENO-web-ARCHIVIO-PLAYS-1986 (cropped).jpg
Moreno in 1986
Celine Zerka Toeman

(1917-06-13)June 13, 1917
DiedSeptember 13, 2016(2016-09-13) (aged 99)
Known forSociometry, psychodrama
Spouse(s)Jacob Levy Moreno
ChildrenJonathan D. Moreno
Regina Moreno
Scientific career
FieldsTheory, education, psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy, social psychology

Zerka Toeman Moreno (June 13, 1917 – September 19, 2016) was a Dutch-born American psychotherapist and co-founder of psychodrama. She was the closest colleague and the 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 (Warsaw, November 17, 1887-Nice, April 15, 1956), was still a toddler. Her mother, Rosalia Gutwirth (Antwerp, July 27, 1890-London, 1969), from Eastern Europe, had to move with her family to the Netherlands. It will be in Holland that Zerka, the youngest of four children, will live the first part of her life. Her siblings were: Sabine (Rotterdam, July 17, 1912-?), Rudolph (Rotterdam, November 8, 1913-Stockport, February 2, 1992) and Charles (Amsterdam, February 21, 1916-Montreal, March 9, 1990). In 1931 her parents moved to London, when Zerka was fourteen, reuniting with the rest of her father's family. Here, the young woman 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]

This foundation, now in the first phase of its development, is dedicated to the teachings of Zerka T. Moreno, co-founder of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. The foundation's work is dedicated to making these instruments available in collaboration with other psychodramatists, other practitioners of other disciplines, and those interested in benefiting the human condition.[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. ^ "Zerka T. Moreno Foundation". zerkamorenofoundation.org. Retrieved 2014-06-15.
  5. ^ "Bibliography of Psychodrama: Search Failed".

External links[edit]