What is Dramatherapy?
Dramatherapy is a creative form of psychotherapy (talking based therapy) that offers practical and emotional support in a safe and confidential space. This means that dramatherapists can offer the option for clients to talk or work creatively. Individuals are supported to express and explore their difficulties in a way in which they find comfortable. This can include working non-verbally, which is supportive of people who experience difficulty with expressing or communicating verbally, or when words are simply not enough. Through this, feelings and difficulties can be creatively and indirectly explored, thus helping to identify, process and implement solutions.
You do not need any skills or experience in the performing arts to benefit or participate in dramatherapy. Dramatherapy does not necessarily involve drama. It is a reference to the creative techniques that may be used in the sessions. For example, using stories to explore difficult scenarios or sound, movement, objects or images to represent feelings.
This therapy is client-led and utilises a vast range of performance arts techniques alongside psychology, such as:
- Role play
- Vocal work
Through working within a dramatic context, individuals are enabled to work at their own pace and explore their material at a safe and aesthetic distance. These artistic methods are used to help people engage with their mind and body to make emotional, social and psychological changes.
Dramatherapy provides a holistic and indirect approach where individuals can explore painful and difficult life experiences, as well as externalise inner conflicts and dilemmas through creativity. Dramatherapy helps individuals to build healthy relationships and make sense of themselves, as well as their past and current circumstances.
By using the imagination, as well as metaphors and externalising inner difficulties, individuals are supported in making connections between what is creatively explored and their personal life. This helps individuals to gain a better understanding of their feelings, behaviour and experiences.
Dramatherapy works with people across all age groups, from the cradle to the grave. Dramatherapy can be used as a positive intervention for individuals, groups and families.
How can it help?
Dramatherapy can help people to:
- Express and safely manage difficult feelings
- Gain insight into behaviour and painful life experiences
- Make sense of the past
- Increase levels of confidence and self-esteem
- Develop communication and social skills
- Develop positive parts of the self
- Increase personal autonomy and motivation
More specific therapy aims are identified and created at the beginning of the intervention by both the client and dramatherapist.