Drama therapy is a creative arts therapy modality that integrates role play, stories, movement, improvisation and other techniques derived from theatrical performance with the theories and methodology of psychotherapy. The result is a body-oriented, experiential process that meets kids where they are developmentally and enhances their strengths and creativity. Mirroring exercises, communicating with puppets, taking on and interpreting different emotions, and creating miniature worlds with toys are just a handful of a wide range of techniques that might be used in individual or group sessions. While many people may be familiar with the term psychodrama, drama therapy represents a unique and more holistic discipline. The focus in drama therapy is on helping individuals grow and heal by taking on and practicing new roles.
When applied in working with children on the Spectrum, drama therapy helps to serve as a bridge to their inner worlds, helping them to connect to others through the safety of play while engaging their bodies and senses. As such, drama therapy is ideally suited to support these children in building social relationships, developing empathy, and enhancing communication through words, gestures and facial expressions. In addition, the therapy process is highly focused on jump-starting the processes of play and imagination, developmental precursors to cognitive and psychological milestones. Most importantly, drama therapy can be an effective way of engaging kids who may not have had success in other forms of treatment.
Finally, by engaging in drama therapy work, children are taught in an active way to control impulses, develop teamwork, attend to social cues, and begin to think about the feelings, actions and intentions of others. By recognizing that children on the Spectrum approach and take in the world with their own unique style, drama therapy is designed to “play to their strong points.”
What are other creative art therapies?
Art Therapy incorporates artistic media of painting, drawing, sculpture and other art as a pathway of expression and container for emotions.
Dance/ Movement Therapy focuses on engaging the body in movement and dance for the development of motor skills and emotional expression.
Music Therapy involves the use of music within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. Music therapists use both instrumental and vocal music strategies to facilitate changes that are non-musical in nature.
Poetry therapy and bibliotherapy are terms used synonymously to describe the intentional use of poetry and other forms of literature for healing and personal growth.
Psychodrama is a therapeutic discipline that uses action methods, sociometry, role training, and group dynamics to facilitate constructive change in the lives of participants.