Drama Therapy

Drama therapy is when you use theatre techniques to express your feelings, solve your problems, and achieve your goals. You do not need to be an award-winning actor or to have a theatre background in order to take part in drama therapy. Drama therapy is all about playing enacting scenes in order to express yourself in ways that words alone would not be effective.

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Sometimes simply talking about issues does not help your well being but using verbal and physical expression can help you work through these issues. The idea of drama therapy came from psychiatrist Jacob L. Moreno who came up with psychodrama which uses dramatic actions to address emotions and concerns. Many other important people helped contribute to drama therapy such as psychiatrist Carl Jung and theatre practitioner Konstantin Stanislavski. Drama therapy incorporates many modes of therapy such as creative arts therapy, role theory, and analytical psychology. In 1979, the North American Drama Therapy Association was created which now provides education, advocacy and accreditation for anyone who wants to be in this field.

Drama therapy consists of acting out scenes that better educate patients on how they should live their lives. There are theatre techniques to better affect change in behaviour, personal growth, and emotional state through role-playing, storytelling, games, rituals, scripts, and improvisation. Drama therapy encourages expressing your emotions through role-playing and dramatic interpretations. This mode of therapy will help you improve interpersonal relationships, positive behaviours and will help you become more awareness of future choices you make.

Drama therapy can be used in mental health clinics, schools, prisons, community centres, and hospitals. This kind of therapy can help treat mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, PTSD, dementia, eating disorders, grief and loss, learning difficulties, autism, and schizophrenia. Drama therapy has been proven to be very effective. For example, two studies in NADTA journal showed this form of therapy was effective on children with autism in their hyperactivity and inattention as well as being effective in couples therapy. European Psychiatry journal says that drama therapy has worked for those with social anxiety as well.

It is important for those who would like to take part in drama therapy to make sure their therapist has a Registered Drama Therapist certification. Playing a role can be an effective way of expressing your emotions and telling your therapist something that would be hard to say if you were being yourself.


Smarmore Castle Private Clinic in County Louth, near Dublin was founded in 1988 as a residential rehabilitation hospital treating people suffering from drug and alcohol purposes. Smarmore Castle believes in helping patients lead a life of abstinence through 12 Step programs, detox and medical treatment, psychotherapy, and complementary therapies. For more information, please call 041-214-5111. For those who live out of the country, the international number is 00353-41-214-5111.

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