What is Drama Therapy?
Drama therapy utilizes the tools traditionally found in drama and theatre, such as storytelling, play, improvisation, performance, witnessing, and role-playing to promote growth, change, and self-awareness. Drama therapy is active, experiential, and engaging! Every drama therapy session is unique and adapts to the group’s or individual’s current therapeutic goals and needs, ability/skill level, and interests. You may see a drama therapist creating a sculpture with chairs and scarves, putting on a puppet show, helping clients to write a play, improvising a job interview, or even witnessing a client delivering a heartfelt monologue about their lives.
Much like in traditional therapy, drama therapists establish treatment goals with clients and develop interventions to help them meet their goals. Drama therapy can be used in both group and individual forms. Although many drama therapists use embodiment and performance, the goal is not to be an amazing actor or to be “right.” In fact, you do not have to have any previous experience with theatre or drama to participate in drama therapy! The goal of embodiment and performance is to actively experience the therapeutic process and build connections with others.
Who is Drama Therapy Appropriate for?
Drama therapy is appropriate for all ages and experience levels! Specific populations that may benefit from drama therapy include children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, those recovering from or working through addiction, those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, families, older adults, youth in the foster care system, those in the prison system, abuse survivors, those in both in-patient and out-patient treatment facilities, those who are hospitalized, and the general public. With the inherent creativity and flexibility present in drama therapy, the possibilities are endless.
Where do Drama Therapists Work?
There are drama therapists all over the world working in a variety of different settings. Some of these settings include: Schools, prisons, treatment facilities, shelters, mental health clinics, hospitals, group homes and adult day treatment facilities, substance abuse centers, community centers, colleges, nursing homes and care facilities, private practices, businesses, and theatres (and there’s more where that came from!)
Sources: The North American Drama Therapy Association (https://www.nadta.org/what-is-drama-therapy.html)