This is Drama Therapy

Drama Therapy was developed in the 1960’s with a background in psychoanalysis. It was developed for clients who had difficulties with the confrontational nature of psychoanalysis, or did not have the verbal capacity needed.

Drama Therapy uses methods other than verbal communication as the therapeutic medium. They include Psychodrama, Gestalt, and Creative Therapeutic Method.

Drama Therapy uses drama and play as the medium, through which the client addresses their issues. The therapy works on the subconscious. Using drama, a process can be started where the client experiences new ways of thinking, and experiments with emotions and situations in a safe situation, for example ” I am only pretending”, “It is the police officer I’m playing who is angry, not me”.

Drawing upon all theatrical genres, Drama Therapy is a wide and varied medium that is suitable for all age groups.

In Drama Therapy, the clients experience different feelings and emotions by acting out situations. They get the chance to experiment with feelings i.e. make them more/less intense. Forms of acting are: improvisation; working with scripts, myths and fable; role-play; making up stories and situations; or using real life stories (a form of psychodrama).The therapist assists the client by playing the other roles, offering the client new themes, emotions or verbalising their thought processes. The therapist is used as a sounding board, prop, and a person to project their emotions on to.

Other Drama Therapy techniques include: puppetry; making/working with masks; playing games; and directing (the therapist or other clients in the group). These forms of drama help the client to project their feelings, introjections and emotions onto something else, other than a person. It allows them to have a look at their feelings from a ‘safe’ distance, and experiment, change or make adjustments in the way they approach their issues.Drama Therapy can take place in individual or group therapy sessions. During the initial assessment, the therapist will advise which would be most beneficial for the client. Generally, the therapy sessions take place at least once a week for 60 minutes. It is important that the sessions are held regularly to maintain momentum, building on progress from earlier sessions.

By analysing a person’s behaviour in Drama Therapy, the therapist can assess the issues which face the client, and put appropriate processes in place to address them.

In Europe and the USA, Drama Therapy is successfully used in the following settings:

Rehabilitation Centres, Psychiatric Hospitals, Disability Services, Children’s Hospitals, Drug and Alcohol Abuse Centres, Refugee Centres, Special Schools, Prisons, Elderly Homes, and Private Practices.