What is Dramatherapy?
Dramatherapy is a unique form of psychotherapy that integrates story, improvisation, movement, art-making and projective play. The result is an active, experiential process that draws on the child’s capacity for creativity, utilising it as a central means of accessing and expressing feelings, gaining insight, and practicing successful new approaches to difficult situations.
Sometimes the stories dramatherapists listen to are real and sometimes they are fantasy. Sometimes stories are told by children in role, sometimes not. Stories may be enacted using objects (such as puppets, dolls, or other toys), using one’s body, or using one’s voice.
What are the potential benefits of dramatherapy?
Some specific benefits likely to be achieved in dramatherapy with children include reducing feelings of anxiety, developing new coping skills and patterns, broadening the range of expression of feelings, experiencing improved self-esteem and confidence, increasing sense of play and spontaneity, affirming body-boundaries and developing relationships.
Dramatherapy provides a developmentally appropriate means of processing events with children and adolescents for whom verbal methods alone may be insufficient. It taps into their natural propensity toward action and utilises it to engage children in play as a means of safely exploring issues and painful feelings.
Often children don’t communicate their feelings and thoughts through words alone. They have another language – that of play. Children use toys, objects, and stories to attempt to understand the world around them, as well as to communicate their needs, wants, and fears. A dramatherapist working with children is trained to speak and understand this special language.
What types of difficulties do Dramatherapists work with?
Dramatherapists work with children experiencing a variety of issues including but not limited to depression and anxiety, bereavement and loss, PTSD and complex-trauma; social, emotional and behavioural challenges, learning difficulties, neurological and developmental delay disorders.