The Myth of Facebook. Relationship between Psychology, Addiction and Technology

Dynamische Psychiatrie - die Zeitschrift der Deutschen Akademie für Psychoanalyse (DAP) e. V.The Myth of Facebook. Relationship between Psychology, Addiction and Technology. Are we addicted to Facebook, or are we just addicted to ourselves?, Conference Proceedings, 17th World Congress of the World Association for Dynamic Psychiatry. Multidisciplinary Approach to and Treatment of Mental Disorders: Myth or Reality?, St. Petersburg, May 14-17, 2014, In Dynamische Psychiatrie. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychotherapie, Psychoanalyse und Psychiatrie – International  Journal for Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, and Psychiatry, Berlin: Pinel Verlag GmbH, 1-3, Nr. 266-268, 2015, pp.23-34.

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Professor Ezio Benelli (Florence, 1947) is Chairman of the Italian Branch for the 17th World Congress of the World Association for Dynamic Psychiatry WADP – XXXth International Symposium of the German Academy for Psychoanalysis (DAP) eV; degree in psychology at the University of Padua and then in Florence who specialized in psychotherapy at the Institute of Psychotherapy HS Sullivan, is actually Psychoanalyst in neoFreudian, interpersonal and humanistic paradigm. He is currently Director of the School of Psychotherapy Erich Fromm di Prato (recognized by the Italian Ministry of University and Research), for which he is supervisor training analyst; and Professor of Clinical Psychology and Psychoanalysis Theory and Techniques of individual and group. He is President of the International Erich Fromm Foundation, scientific and cultural institution based in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, and director of the editorial series “L’Immaginale”, for publishing Aracne, Rome. Judge at the Court of Florence for children, and vice president of the Order of Psychologists of Tuscany Region, has now been reelected councilor of the Order of Psychologists of Tuscany, and regional contact for the Penitentiary Psychology and Criminology. Ezio Benelli is also coordinator of the Center for Mediation and Family Resources at the Polo PsicodinamicheTraining Agency accredited by the Region of Tuscany, site in Prato.


The article deals the issue of new dependencies: in particular those from Internet and social networks. Having distinguished between “dependent” (dependence from substances) and “addicted” (psychological dependence), the article refers to some neuroscience researches that confirm the empirical data. Then, it is stated how psychodrama, as it is practiced at the Polo Psicodinamiche of Prato in Italy, can be an effective and powerful tool also for the treatment of new dependencies and reasons of it are explained. At last, after providing a brief history about the birth of psychodrama and its inventor, J.L. Moreno, the article describes building blocks, basic steps and different ways of interaction of psychodramatic practice.


The article, first, distinguishes between the concepts and terms of English language “dependent” and “addicted”: in the first case it is an addiction to substances such as alcohol, drugs or tobacco; in the second, addiction is psychological and the subject depends on behaviors, practices and situations, it is the case of the dependence on new technologies and on Internet. Erich Fromm, in his book Escape from freedom, he highlighted how the human beings become slaves to addictions because they cannot accept the emptiness, that feeling of “not being”, which lead them to give up the freedom and to isolate more and more from society. Fromm had somehow foreseen practices and effects of new dependencies, those from excessive exposure to Internet and to social networks. And then in the article it is stated that Psychodrama analytical, as is practiced at the Polo Psychodynamic of Prato in Italy, may represent an innovative approach in the treatment of addictions from new technologies. For its being a cure through the action, the dramatic action (and not just through words), for being a group therapy and for being very close to the patient’s daily life, psychodrama, more than others care systems, can achieve stable and lasting outcomes. Subsequently, the article recounts the experience, made in person by the writer in the summer 2013 at the Hotel Byron in Forte dei Marmi (Lucca) in Italy, that is the use of psychodrama in the treatment of psychological dependency. Empirical data and conclusions of this experience are similar to those which have come neuroscientific studies on new dependencies. And in the article are cited two of these studies: that one of Diana Tamir and Jason Mitchell of Harvard University and that one of Dar Meshi at the Freie Institut of Berlin. Then the discourse moves on to analysing from a historical point of view the birth of psychodrama: its being rooted in some phenomena of the history of theatre and the human and cultural formation of its inventor, Jacob Levi Moreno, an eclectic and complex figure, which has been able to put together and summarized ideas, suggestions, contributions coming from different fields. Then briefly it is mentioned some reworking of psychodrama practice occurred in the twentieth century and it is underlined that psychodrama has assumed over time not only a therapeutic value, but also educational and social. Finally, it is described basic components of psychodramatic practice: the four key characters (therapist, patient or protagonist, auxiliary ego, group), the three different steps in which is subdivided the dynamics (warmup, scene or action, return) and main modalities of interaction (the double, the mirror and the role reversal).


Ezio Benelli on The Myth of Facebook. Relationship between Psychology, Addiction and Technology. Are We Addicted to Facebook, or Are We Just Addicted to Ourselves?

a cura di Andrea Galgano e Irene Battaglini