What is dramatherapy?

When a person’s mental well-being starts to suffer, it’s natural to seek help from a therapist.

Therapy, however, can be delivered in many ways, and the creative therapies, such as dramatherapy, can prove to be instrumental in rebuilding mental health as effectively as talking therapies alone. 

What is dramatherapy?

Whether you consider the word ‘drama’ as acting, being on stage, or story-making, dramatherapy is the process of bringing movement and art together as a medium for psychological therapy (psychotherapy).

Dramatherpists are highly qualified mental health practitioners that have studied to become accredited (HCPC) therapeutic clinicians and then taken additional qualifications and accreditations as dramatherapists at masters level.

Dramatherapists use their knowledge of therapy and theatre as a method for psychological therapy that might include story-making, drama, music, movement, art, and many other theatrical exercises.

What happens in dramatherapy?

Dramatherapy doesn’t usually require a stage, although it can be used for some exercises. 

Dramatherapy can take place in any room or environment that is conducive to therapy sessions for that person or group and is suitable for the type of therapy, for instance, space for movement. 

A person might express themselves in acting out imagined or real scenarios, movement, use of mask work, puppetry, art, storytelling and story-making, music or sculpting aspects of how they feel in the form of a static tableau or scene, or create stories using photographs and postcards and discover similarities to their life (past or present).

People do not need to have any experience of acting to attend dramatherapy.

Verbal and non-verbal techniques are used to unpack and build mental wellness, alongside embodiment, dramatic play-acting and movement.

How does dramatherapy help?

Dramatherapy is for everyone — it’s very inclusive as it includes a vast choice of mediums within the arts. 

Dramatherapy is available individually, in couples, groups, schools, and organisations — with all ages and mental health challenges.

Dramatherapy is an alternative way of exploring mental well-being in the safety of a qualified professional clinician — providing a journey of discovery.

An example would be working through feelings or events by acting, working on voice and releasing tension in the body that may have built up trauma — learning how to explore difficult real-life experiences through metaphor or the ‘as if’. Let’s imagine you are this character or that character, what would it feel like?

Dramatherapy helps people with a wide range of mental health challenges to explore feelings by learning effective coping strategies.

The breakthroughs felt by people in dramatherapy are a result of using different mediums, which may not have been otherwise discovered and supported and are evidence-based.

How to book dramatherapy for children and adults?

You can book dramatherapy sessions at the AoC Trust’s friendly centre, which is located in the heart of Dudley in the West Midlands.

You can call 01384 211168 or email support@theaoc.org.uk for more information.