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What is Dramatherapy?
The British Association of Dramatherapists has adopted
the following definition:
" Dramatherapy has as its main focus the intentional
use of healing aspects of drama and theatre as the
therapeutic process. It is a method of working and
playing that uses action methods to facilitate creativity,
imagination, learning, insight and growth."
Theoretical Basis for the practice of Dramatherapy
Dramatherapy has very ancient, historical roots
in the healing rituals and dramas of various societies.
The connection between drama and the psychological
healing of society, though not of the individual,
was first formally acknowledged by Aristotle, who
was the originator of the term 'catharsis'. Traditionally,
the ability of drama to reorganise human awareness
has been explained in philosophical and aesthetic
The Dramatherapist can be seen as an empathic director
who encourages clients to experience their physicality,
to develop an ability to express the whole range
of their emotions and to increase their insight and
knowledge of themselves and others.
In the internal life of this client there are memories
and dreams, fears from the past and apprehensions
about the future and these can be embodied and realised
in this "Empty Space". Dramatherapists
enable clients to release their own "inspirational
creativity" into roles they play, thus, both
clients and dramatherapist become "spectactors" -
both actors and spectators. Thus the Dramatherapist
as empathic director helps the client or group member
take responsibility for his/her own life through
the use of aesthetic distance and theatrical metaphors.
As different psychotherapeutic
approaches have emerged from social, developmental
and clinical psychology,
there has been an increased awareness of the importance
of the hypothetical or "as if" reality
upon which drama depends (Object Relations, Symbolic
Interaction Theories and Personal Construct Psychology
are all examples of this). The best known example
of dramatic psychotherapy is of course Psychodrama,
developed by Jacob Moreno.
In Dramatherapy a range of insights and techniques
derived form Psychodrama can be employed, but Dramatherapy
is more genuinely dramatic due to the use of metaphor
and fictional plots instead of straightforward autobiography.
The distinctive characteristic of Dramatherapy is
the obliqueness of its approach. The creation of
fictitious reality enhances the client's involvement
and identification with the drama.
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