What is Dramatherapy?
The current definition of The British Association of Dramatherapists, a governing body formed in 1976 is as follows:
‘Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their training in theatre / drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes. The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, playtexts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a drama therapist may employ. These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through an indirect approach.’
The distancing techniques that dramatherapy can provide allows the client to probe deeper into their emotional world. The containing nature of the therapy space and the trust built within the therapeutic relationship allows for issues to be fully explored and the vital reflection time means that the client can internalise and process the issues that surfaced during the creative work.
Some techniques Dramatherapists might use:
- Object sculpts
- ‘Empty chair’ work
- Role play
- Poetry/song lyrics
- Creative imagery