What is Dramatherapy?
Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy that uses a range of action techniques to promote health and facilitate growth. Dramatherapists work with the body and mind, and make use of stories, myths, ritual, play-texts, puppetry, masks, improvisation and theatre games as therapeutic interventions.
Dramatherapists creatively engage with the client in order to explore their life experiences and enable personal and interpersonal change. Dramatherapy can be applied to help an individual solve a problem, understand the meaning of personally resonant images, gain insight, or explore and modify patterns of interaction.
The Health Professions Council Standards of Proficiency for Arts Therapists (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.’
The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth) defines dramatherapy as ‘…the intentional use of the healing aspects of drama and theatre within the therapeutic process. It is a method of working and playing that uses action methods to facilitate creativity, imagination, learning, insightand growth.’
Drama as a medium for beneficial change has its roots in the ancient rituals and healing dramas of early societies. The connection between drama and psychological healing was recognised by Aristotle, who first coined the term ‘catharsis’. In the early twentieth century, the emergence of psychodrama demonstrated the beneficial affects of dramatic techniques and laid the foundation for the development of dramatherapy in the 1970s and 1980s.
Now one of the established arts therapies, dramatherapy is practised around the world. Dramatherapy can be used for working with individuals, groups, couples and families. Dramatherapists currently work in schools, mental health settings, general health and social care settings, prisons, the voluntary sector, as well in private practice.
For Organisations interested in finding out more about dramatherapy.
Dramatherapy Projects in Europe and the UK
How Does Dramatherapy Work?
When our own emotions threaten to overwhelm us, we tend to retreat from them or block them out. Yet when we watch a film or play, read a book or listen to a story, we can often allow ourselves to feel strong emotions because the dramatic content allows us to be involved at an emotional distance. Rather than overwhelming us, witnessing the reactions and predicaments of the characters, who may be very different from us in terms of time, culture, class or lifestyle, allows us to unlock difficult feelings in a safe and non-threatening way. If, while witnessing a stage, film or TV drama, you have experienced a welling up of emotion as the story unfolds, you have experienced the potential effectiveness of drama for yourself. The journey of the characters can provoke unexpected emotional reactions within us.
Dramatherapists make use of this quality of drama in a therapeutic way. Working within a dramatic framework as a kind of empathic director, they help individuals to explore issues and make sense of their lives. For example, a dramatherapist might work with an individual to create that person’s own unique imaginary story, or they might use an existing play-text to create a form of fictional reality that is tailored to the life situation of an individual or group. In this indirect way, a dramatherapist is able assist individuals and group members to explore, come to terms with, and resolve areas of emotional or psychological distress.
How Can Dramatherapy Help You?
The experience of dramatherapy plymouth can help you understand the roles you play in your relationships with others. It can help you gain insight, take greater responsibility for your life and make more informed choices. If you are considering dramatherapy, you do not need to have had any previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama. The experience does not lead any kind of performance; instead, the emphasis is on the experience of the individual or group.
Dramatherapists have a playful, active and holistic approach that can be helpful in developing a person’s understanding of themselves and their emotions. They begin by developing trust, and by learning about the issues relevant to the individual or group. Only then do they move on to invite the participants to explore deeper personal and interpersonal issues in a safe and structured way. The content of a course of dramatherapy is based on the needs of those taking part and is negotiated both at the start and during therapy.
What Issues Can You Treat with Dramatherapy?
I am experienced working with individuals and groups manifesting a range of symptoms, including disordered eating, self-harming, substance misuse, and general mental health issues. All that is needed to take part a willingness to work in a creative and imaginative way.
For further information visit the BADth website: http://www.badth.org.uk/
Please contact me about Dramatherapy Plymouth