What is Drama Therapy?
Drama therapy applies techniques from theatre to the process of psychotherapeutic healing. It emerged as a field in the late 1970’s from hospital and community programs where it was first used with clients to produce plays and later was integrated with improvisation and process drama methods. The focus in drama therapy is on helping individuals grow and heal by taking on and practicing new roles.
While much drama therapy aims at helping people who are in therapy, drama therapists have extended their applications beyond clinical contexts to enrich the lives of at-risk individuals, to prevent problems, and to enhance wellness of healthy people. Many of the skills for such extensions require a measure of training psychological training as well as a strong basis in theatre.
Drama and therapy have been natural partners for at least the last 350 centuries! Archeological evidence suggests that early humans began to make art paintings, sculpture, music, dance, and drama between 45,000 and 35,000 years ago at the same time they became capable of symbolic, metaphoric thought. As part of this creative explosion, shamans incorporated the arts into their religious and healing practices. Dance and drama, in particular, were used in rites to create sympathetic and contagious magic and to embody myths and rituals. That the arts have been connected to healing and meaning-making since their origins, shows how vitally important they are to health and to civilization.
© Copyright Sally D. Bailey, Registered Drama Therapist. All Rights Reserved.
The Drama Therapy Pie