What is Dramatherapy?
The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth) current definition of dramatherapy is:
Dramatherapy has as its main forms the intentional use of the healing aspects of drama and theatre within the therapeutic process. It is a method of working and playing which uses action methods to facilitate creativity, imagination, learning, insight, and growth.
The Health Professions Council Standards of Proficiency for Arts Therapists document (2003) describes Dramatherapy as:
…a unique form of psychotherapy in which creativity, play, movement, voice, storytelling, dramatisation, and the performance arts have a central position within the therapeutic relationship
Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy in which the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapist work with body and mind and make use of stories, myths, play-texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation as therapeutic interventions. Dramatherapists creatively engage with the client in order to explore their life experiences and enable psychological, emotional, and social changes.
If, during a stage, TV or film drama, you have experienced the welling up of emotion as the story unfolds, you have witnessed the effectiveness of drama. This everyday use of drama helps us make sense of our lives. It can help us make choices and understand better the roles we play in our relationships with others.
Dramatherapy makes use of these drama and theatre processes in a therapeutic way.
You do not need to have any previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama and the dramatherapist is not looking for you to make any kind of performance. Instead the emphasis is on the experience of the group and individual. Dramatherapists have a playful, active and holistic approach which can be helpful in developing a person's emotional growth. We work by first developing trust and trying to understand the problem and then move on to explore issues in a deeper way.
Dramatherapists work in a variety of settings:
- In Schools
- In mental health
- In general health social care settings
- In prisons
- In the voluntary sector