Drama Therapy

Drama therapy is a therapy modality that many people find helpful when traditional talk therapy reaches its limits. By tapping into creativity, physical movement, and narrative devices, clients who engage in drama therapy can see benefits in their mental health.

What is drama therapy?

Drama therapy is a therapy modality that uses experiential practices to help clients express their emotions, address relationship conflicts, and grow their self-esteem. In drama therapy, clients might engage in storytelling, improvisation, playful dialogue, theater games, or performative readings. Drama therapists typically identify the specific type of tool, exercise, or practice that can benefit their clients and then create a safe, comfortable space for clients to explore their emotions.

Drama therapy can be conducted in individual sessions as well as group sessions. Therapists bring in various texts or encourage their clients to write their own texts. The creative process, not just the performance, has therapeutic value as it gives clients the opportunity to explore their inner thoughts and find a new way to tell their stories.

What happens in drama therapy?

Drama therapy looks different depending on the therapist, the type of therapy session, and the client’s mental health goals. Drama therapists start by assessing the client and learning about what they would like to get out of therapy. Clients then learn about different ways to practice self-expression, which can include playing games, reading plays or other theatrical texts, or writing their own pieces.

Throughout the sessions, the drama therapist uses the games, performances, or discussions to connect the client with their inner thoughts or feelings. Bringing creativity into the fold, therapists and clients explore various forms of storytelling and narration, which can be used to tell the client’s story and help them feel empowered.

Clients might also engage in role play with their therapist. This can be helpful to practice difficult conversations, finding different perspectives on a conflict or challenge, or mastering specific coping skills.

What can drama therapy help with?

Drama therapy is a useful therapeutic modality for many mental health conditions, including:

Drama therapy is most effective with a certified and experienced mental health clinician. Drama therapists who have additional training in this modality not only know the various tools or exercises to bring into the session, but also have expertise in helping clients grow from the experience.