What Is Drama Therapy?

“Drama Therapy is an active, experiential approach to facilitating change. Through storytelling, projective play, purposeful improvisation, and performance, participants are invited to rehearse desired behaviors, practice being in relationship, expand and find flexibility between life roles, and perform the change they wish to be and see in the world.”

North American Drama Therapy Association

‚ÄúDrama Therapy is an expressive and action-oriented therapy that focuses on the here-and-now. It combines theatre techniques with therapeutic principals, providing a hands-on opportunity for change and personal growth.”

Peyton Welch, MA, Registered Drama Therapist (RDT)

Drama therapy applies techniques from theatre to the process of psychotherapeutic healing. The focus in drama therapy is helping individuals grow and heal by taking on and practicing new roles, creating new stories through action, and rehearsing new behaviors which can later be implemented in real life. Drama and psychology are both the study of human behavior. Just as psychotherapy uses talking to treat clients who have difficulties with their thoughts, emotions, and behavior, drama therapy uses informal drama processes (games, improvisation, storytelling, role play) and formal drama processes (puppets, masks, plays/performances) to help clients understand their thoughts and emotions better or to improve their behavior.

How Is Drama Therapy Established?

A drama therapist first assesses a client’s needs and then considers approaches that might best meet those needs. Drama therapy can take many forms depending on individual and group needs, skill and ability levels, interests, and therapeutic goals. Processes and techniques may include improvisation, theater games, storytelling, and enactment. Many drama therapists make use of text, performance, or ritual to enrich the therapeutic and creative process. The theoretical foundation of drama therapy lies in drama, theater, psychology, psychotherapy, anthropology, play, and interactive and creative processes.

– Information provided by the North American Drama Therapy Association.

Where Do Drama Therapists Practice?

There are a variety of places to practice Drama Therapy. Just a few include: Mental Health Facilities, Schools, Hospitals, Private Practice Settings, Substance Abuse Treatment Centers, Adult Day Care Centers, Correctional Facilities, Community Centers, After-school Programs, Shelters, Group Homes, Nursing Homes, Corporations, Theaters, Housing Projects, Medical Schools, Training Organizations. Participants benefiting from drama therapy span the life spectrum. Client populations may include persons recovering from addiction, dysfunctional families, developmentally disabled persons, abuse survivors, prison inmates, homeless persons, people with AIDS, older adults, behavioral health consumers, at-risk youth, and the general public.

– Information provided by the North American Drama Therapy Association.