What is drama therapy?

Drama therapy works on the belief that engaging with fictional narratives can help people filter and process their personal emotions. The medium of drama acts as a kind of cushion against the emotions experienced, protecting those involved from becoming overwhelmed, whilst still encouraging them to experience the emotions as they arise. Drama therapy also offers a space in which people may express emotions they would not usually; doing so often results in a sense of catharsis. 

Drama therapy is often group-based but can be one-to-one also. It is used in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, prisons and businesses. But you can also work one-to-one with a drama therapist in private therapy. You do not have to have experience in acting or performance in order to benefit from seeing a drama therapist. 

Who benefits from drama therapy?

Drama therapy can be very useful for those feeling stuck; there is a sense of freedom in drama therapy which many can find cathartic and liberating. The indirect manner employed to deal with emotions makes drama therapy suitable for those who struggle with facing their emotions and problems head-on. 

Drama therapy can be used to solve problems, understand a personal experience or life event, gain better understanding of yourself and overcome unhelpful emotions or patterns of behaviour. 

Drama therapy can be helpful for building self-confidence and a sense of trust in your environment. This can be beneficial for those with an addiction or anxiety. The interpersonal nature of drama therapy also makes it helpful for those who struggle with their relationships. The physicality of drama therapy is an important factor which can promote a sense of unity between mind and body; this can be useful in treating those who physically self-harm or who feel uncomfortable in their body.

Dan Skili, welldoing.org drama therapist:

"Drama therapy is a form of psychological therapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Drama therapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their training's in theatre/drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes. The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play-texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a drama therapist may employ. These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through an indirect approach.

Clients who are referred to a drama therapist do not need to have previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama. Drama therapists are trained to enable clients to find the most suitable medium for them to engage in group or individual therapy to address and resolve, or make troubling issues more bearable."

Relevant associations


This information has been vetted by a professional member of the welldoing.org directory

Last updated on 6 December 2018