Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).  It utilises the creative and expressive arts with which to access and address a wide range of current or enduring personal and emotional difficulties through verbal and non-verbal means, and can thereforebe helpful for people who may find it hard to put things into words.

In a creative and structured environment, this approach uses action methods as a means of externalizing conflicts, and metaphors to illuminate, distance and contain 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. 

Who is it for? How does it work?

Dramatherapy takes place with individuals, or groups.

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

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

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

METHODS

Dramatherapy uses the creative and expressive arts, including

• Story-making • Movement • Life narrative • Improvisation • Script-writing • Role-play • Drawing •

These methods are used to access and express thoughts and feelings, facilitate creativity, promote confidence and well-being, imagination,  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.

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.