What does a Drama Therapist do?

Drama therapists help clients achieve therapeutic goals combining dramatic arts techniques with psychotherapy. Drama therapy has been around since the mid-twentieth century, and several professional organizations dedicated to the advancement of the field were founded in the 1970s. People who want to work as drama therapists can get training at a variety of colleges and universities, and they may also have the chance to work with practicing drama therapists to hone their skills.

Drama therapy sessions can incorporate a variety of theater arts techniques. Scripted activities, improvisation, role plays, puppetry, pantomime, masks, and even scene design and staging are all examples. A drama therapist evaluates a client’s needs in order to determine which techniques are most appropriate and how to use them.

A drama therapist may work with a group at times. Hospitals, prisons, and mental health facilities frequently use group therapy as part of their treatment programs. People who are not institutionalized can also benefit from group therapy, and their doctors and therapists may refer them to such programs. The drama therapist facilitates breakthroughs, assists people in working through traumas, builds trust among group members, and encourages all members of the group to participate in order to experience personal growth in group therapy.

Smaller groups, such as families or couples, can also benefit from drama therapy. In the aftermath of a traumatic event, a drama therapist may be called into a location such as a classroom or an office to assist people in processing the trauma. The drama therapist can help members of a group regain their confidence providing focused, directed therapy that addresses the trauma that the group members have shared.

Working with a drama therapist on a one-on-one basis is also an option. Some patients benefit from drama as a form of expression, and with the help of a drama therapist, they may be able to achieve therapeutic goals more quickly. Even within drama therapy, there are many different approaches to a treatment, so people who are frustrated with one therapist’s lack of progress may want to try a different therapist to see if a new approach is more effective. It’s also important to remember that drama therapy isn’t for everyone; if a drama therapist believes a patient would benefit from a different therapeutic approach, she or he can refer them to other professionals who might be a better fit.