Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). It uses action methods as a means of externalizing conflicts, and metaphor as a way of distancing and containing emotional and psychological issues. Dramatherapists hold the client at the centre of the creative and therapeutic process. Thereby, each client makes their own sense and meaning in dramatherapy, within the creative opportunities available to them. 

FAQ
How does it work?

• Dramatherapy takes place with individuals, or groups.

• Sessions usually run between 1 hour (individual) and 1.5 hrs (group) at the same time and place each week. Shorter sessions can be arranged for young children.

• People can be referred for dramatherapy from within an organization / health and/or social care provider, educational settings, or self-referred for private practice.

• Group sessions can be long-running, or designed as short courses

METHODS

Dramatherapy uses action and play methods – employing creative and expressive mediums such as:

• Story-making

• Movement

• Voice

• Improvisation

• Script-writing

• Music

• Role-play

• Drawing

• Clay-modelling

• Puppetry.

These methods are used to express thoughts and feelings, facilitate creativity, promote confidence and well-being, imagination, interaction (in groups), learning, insight and growth.

THEORETICAL INFLUENCES

• The use of drama as a healing art can be traced back thousands of years enveloping continents and developing cultures.

• The term ‘dramatherapy’ used today is attached to ‘the intentional use of the healing aspects of drama and theatre’ – and is the mission statement of the British Association of dramatherapy www.badth.org.uk.

• The core processes of dramatherapy are supported by both psychological theories and theatre practices.

• Psychotherapy and psychological fields of human inquiry, such as: Attachment (Bowlby); transitional space (Winnicott); Object relations (Melanie Klein); Group therapy (Yalom); human development (Errikson); as well as art, music and drama, are actively employed by dramatherapists, while humanistic psychology (Rogers) provides the basis of a client-centered model of practice.

• Theatre practices influence conceptual models and tools used within the practice of dramatherapy. Practitioners of particular influence in my work are Peter Brook, Jerzy Grotowski’s, and Keith Johnston.

WHY DRAMATHERAPY?
Dramatherapy is used with a wide variety of client groups and settings, aims and purposes. Aims are necessarily tailored for each group and individual participant and evaluated accordingly. However, among benefits include:

• Raising confidence and self-esteem and well being ‘A sense of achievement’ (mental health client) ‘I learnt new things’ (young carer) ‘I had so much fun’ (young carer) ‘Every second was BRILLIANT’ (young carer)

• Promotes self-knowledge / personal growth ‘I got to show my personality’ (Young Carer) ‘…there are many ways to express yourself’ (EBD child) • Provides positive social/group experience ‘[I learnt] that even your enemies and be fun to be around’ (EBD child)

• Reduces feelings of isolation ‘United togetherness’ (mental health client)

• Promotes an ability to focus and relax ‘It gave me time to think’ (mental health client) ‘It made me relax on an anxious day’ (mental health client)

• Aids turn-taking, negotiating and listening / behaviour ‘Being able to express themselves in a safe environment has been vital for this group. Watching them change in attitude and behaviour, as a group and individually in a relatively short space of time, has been vital to their emotional and social growth. Thank you!!’ (Teacher, Special school for excluded children)

OUTCOMES EVALUATION

• Dramatherapists provide practice-based evidence towards the evaluation of outcomes associated with the therapeutic intervention.

• Ongoing assessment and evaluation is a collaborative process between client, dramatherapist and carers (when working with children), which provides information about the process and outcome of the service for evaluation.

• The information provides a summary and analysis of the creative-therapeutic work, evidencing change.