What is dramatherapy?
Drama has been used by communities since ancient Greece (if not before) to explore the unconscious, express feelings and share stories. Children learn through play and make-believe; it is a rehearsal to help them to prepare for adult experiences. As adults, drama can still open new possibilities in our lives.
Talking Therapy has been developed by many people since the 1880’s, some with a focus on our past, some on our behavioural patterns, some on how we are feeling now. The therapist supports the patient to talk about their lives and thoughts.
Dramatherapy is therapy using drama and the creative arts as the tools to explore the themes brought by the client.
“Dramatherapy represents the marriage of drama and therapy, but it is not a simple addition of the two disciplines. Rather the combination produces a third, distinct way of helping people, using appropriate elements of each area to encourage growth and development.”(Paula Crimmens)
Dramatherapy is involvement in drama with a healing intention. Dramatherapy facilitates change through drama processes.” (Phil Jones)
Drama therapy is action oriented… change is not only envisaged but literally practised” (Ren’ee Emunah)
One of the fundamental concepts in dramatherapy is creativity: the capacity to find new solutions to old problems.’(Herman Smitskamp)
Dramatherapy is holistic – concerned with the whole of you – your experiences, your likes and dislikes, your connections to others, your hopes and aspirations, your thoughts, feelings, instincts, senses.
Individual or Group?
A client can have either group dramatherapy, usually with others seeking therapy for a similar theme, or individual dramatherapy. Group sessions usually last 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on the group size. Individual sessions are usually 1 hour.
If you are looking for therapy for yourself please see our payment details for more information on the cost and how to pay.
If you are a company, charity or organisation seeking therapy for your clients please contact Amy for her day rates.
Where do dramatherapist’s work?
Here are just some places Dramatherapists work:
- rehabilitation centres,
- schools (nursery through to sixth forms),
- elderly care,
- community centres,
- charities, and
- private therapy practices.
What happens in a dramatherapy session?
Sessions start with a chance for reflection and preparation. This could include:
- Deep breathing or meditation or visualisation – engaging the senses and preparing for the session.
- Check in circle – where you share something that is on your mind (This may include thoughts, feelings, memories, desires or sensations.)
- Reflecting – on the previous session / week and agreeing a focus for this week (e.g. if you arrive feeling very stressed about traffic jams or tube delays, is that frustration something you want to explore or is that something you want to put aside to focus on something else).
The theme for the middle part is client led, this means you, or the group you are in, choose what the focus will be.
This may be a one-off theme or could be something to explore in greater depth over a number of sessions.
Themes could be:
- identity and roles,
- events from the past,
- hopes and fears for the future,
- relationships to others,
- whatever is on your mind.
Dramatherapy allows themes to be worked with in many ways, some material which could be difficult to work with directly can still be processed using a story or metaphor. This is similar to the way your unconscious processes events during dreams and why certain films or songs speak to us on a deeper level.
The Dramatherapist will suggest activities to explore the themes. Clients may choose to use all the different styles or may focus on a few of the activities in-depth over time.
Sessions end with a time to reflect.
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is a statutory regulator of Dramatherapy in the UK. The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth) is the professional organisation for Dramatherapists in the United Kingdom. Dramatherapists must process clients personal and sensitive data ethically, as regulated by the ICO. Dramatherapists must hold appropriate insurance.