Drama therapy

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Dramatherapy (often written drama therapy in the United States) is the use of theatre techniques to facilitate personal growth and promote health. Dramatherapy is used in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, mental health centers, prisons, and businesses. Dramatherapy, as a form of expressive therapy, exists in many forms and can be applicable to individuals, couples, families, and various groups. [1]

History of Dramatherapy

The modern use of dramatic process and theatre as a therapeutic intervention began with Psychodrama. The field has expanded to allow many forms of theatrical interventions as therapy including role-play, theater game, group-dynamic games, mime, puppetry, and other improvisational techniques. Often, drama therapy is utilized to help a client:

  • Solve a problem
  • Achieve a catharsis
  • Delve into truths about self
  • Understand the meaning of personally resonant images
  • Explore and transcend unhealthy patterns of interaction

The application of dramatherapy is extremely varied, based on the practitioner, the setting and the client. From fully-fledged performances among a troupe of actors to individual empty chair role-play, sessions may involve many variables.

Core Procesess

Phil Jones has written in his book "Drama as Therapy, Theatre as Living" that there are 9 core processes at the heart of dramatherapy. These include projective identification and dramatic distancing. Projective identification is the process whereby a person identifies with a character in a story. Dramatic distancing refers to the way that emotional and psychological problems can be accessed easier through metaphor. The client has a distanced relationship through metaphor to these problems that makes them easier to tolerate.

Becoming a Drama Therapist

In the US, the governing body is the National Association for Drama Therapy (NADT), which establishes guidelines for the RDT (Registered Drama Therapist) accreditation.

In the UK, the governing body is the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth).

See also


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External links

Governing Bodies

Other Drama Therapy-Related Websites


  1. Malchiodi, Cathy A. (2003), Expressive Therapies , New York: Guilford, ISBN 1593853793