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 trainings in theatre/drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes. (Definition given by The British Association of Dramatherapists - BADth)
Dramatherapy is not about performance, it is about using the imagination to work creatively. The approach is non-confrontational. Clients are invited to interact and respond in sessions to a degree with which they feel comfortable. It is made clear that clients can do as much or as little as they want.
The aim of a session is to respond to the particular needs of individuals/ group with the intention of achieving personal change. In the sessions, clients are able to explore issues and feelings, and find new meanings of their lives in a safe, contained and playful environment.
The Structure of a Session
Dramatherapists work with individuals or groups over a number of weeks. Each session is between 40-90 minutes and consists three sections;
- The Warm Up is in preparation for what is to follow. It allows individuals time to arrive in the space, acknowledge and be witnessed by other group members, and warm up the body, voice and imagination
- The Main Event takes clients into the world of creative imagination, where things can happen that are maybe not possible in the literal way.
Dramatherapist will identify the themes in response to the needs of individuals/ group. Some of these themes are connected to human development, and the tasks of different life stages. The main aim within this section is engagement with the unconscious and the possible integration of this material into consciousness when clients are ready.
- The Grounding or De-roling brings clients back out of fantasy by leaving the themes behind, and returning to the here and now
Clients will be provided a space to share their experiences in a non-direct way e.g. through images, or verbally sharing a word from where they ended in the main event, or something they would like to take and leave behind from the Main Event . Often in the sessions, rituals will be used to provide a recognisable structure and a more grounded ending for clients