What is Dramatherapy?
“Drama therapy is the intentional use of drama and/or theatre processes to achieve therapeutic goals”.
Clients who are referred to a Dramatherapist do not need to have previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama. Dramatherapists are trained to enable clients to find the most suitable medium for them to engage in group or individual therapy to address and resolve or make troubling issues more bearable. (BADth)
Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a Dramatherapist may employ.
Dramatherapists draw on their trainings in theatre/drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes. These methods will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through an indirect approach.
Dramatherapists work in a wide variety of settings:
•in mental health
•in general health social care settings
•in the voluntary sector.
Therefore the people we work with will have differing needs for example:
•children on the autistic spectrum
•older people with dementia;
•adolescents who self-harm,
•people with histories of sexual and/or physical abuse,
•those suffering from a mental illness
•Women with post-natal depression.
Dramatherapists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and work under their code of ethnics.
"Under the guise of play and pretend, we can - for once - act in new ways. The bit of distance from real life afforded by drama enables us to gain perspective on our real-life roles and patterns and actions, and to experiment actively with alternatives."
(Renee Emunah, PhD, RDT/BCT Director, Drama Therapy Program, California Institute of Integral Studies)
What Do Dramatherapists Do?
A Dramatherapist first assesses a client's needs and then considers approaches that might best meet those needs. Dramatherapy can take many forms depending on individual and group needs, skill and ability levels, interests, and therapeutic goals. Processes and techniques may include improvisation, theatre games, storytelling, and enactment. Many dramatherapists make use of text, performance, or ritual to enrich the therapeutic and creative process. The theoretical foundation of drama therapy lies in drama, theatre, psychology, psychotherapy, anthropology, play, and interactive and creative processes.
Where Do Dramatherapists Practice?
Mental Health Facilities, Schools, Hospitals, Private Practice Settings, Substance Abuse Treatment Centres, Adult Day Care Centres, Prison, Community Centres, After-school Programmes, Shelters, Group Homes, Nursing Homes, Theatres, Housing Projects, Training Organisations.