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Drama therapy

Drama therapy

Kristīne Rudzinska, Master of Health Sciences, Art Therapist and Drama Therapist, talks about what drama therapy is and how it helps to understand the patient's emotions, improves motivation, corrects destructive behavior and develops self-confidence and social skills.

What is drama therapy?

Drama therapy is one of the art therapies. There is various use and it can help everyone to improve their emotional, cognitive, physical and social health.It is based on the scientific application of drama and is used for therapeutic purposes - to promote and facilitate communication and relationships, learning and cognition, mobilization, expression and organization or physical, mental and social health, thus promoting personal potential development and / or restoring better functions to achieve quality of life.

A drama therapist is a medical practitioner who has a master's degree in health care and a professional qualification as an art therapist, specializing in drama therapy.

Drama therapy is a scientifically and medically technologically based method of integrative psychotherapy, which is currently very popular in England, USA and other developed and economically active countries, where drama therapy is also used as a life coaching method for client's ability to work and improve/develop the quality of life.

There is British model chosen for the creation and development of drama therapy in Latvia. In the UK, the therapy has been officially recognized since 1976, and since 1999, drama therapy has been included among 14 health care professions controlled by the British Health Professions Council (HPC).

When the drama therapy is recommended?

Drama therapy use is spacious and this method can be applied to work with a wide range of clients / patients and cases: patient emotions, motivation, behavioral correction, self-confidence and social skills development. DT works with children, adolescents, adults, both individually and in a group

This method is used in cases of mental problems such as depression, eating disorders, behavioral and emotional disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety and panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, prolonged feeling of loss or prolonged grief, experienced emotional or physical violence, especially in the period of social rehabilitation after acute treatment.

Drama therapy is also used effectively in cases of behavioral problems, autism, thinking disorders, eating disorders, women with postpartum depression, as well as in geriatric patients.Drama therapy is also used in therapy work with clients who have experienced emotional trauma, now it is as distress. Drama therapy is also suitable for clients who have non-specific difficulties and who want to improve their quality of life.

  • Patients with learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and mental retardation.
  • Patients with various addictions (psychoactive substances, gambling, etc.);
  • Patients with somatic diseases (including oncological diseases, HIV, AIDS, etc.)

Drama therapy is also suitable for clients with non-specific difficulties who want to improve their quality of life. This method can be successfully used to diagnose and model and improve various life / relationship / business situations.

Therapy is individually or in a group, in pairs or family therapy. It is suitable for children, adolescents, young people, adults and also geriatric patients.

  • Pregnant women and mothers in the postpartum period.
  • For couples with family planning disabilities.
  • In patients with movement disorders.
  • Due to its gentle effect, it is especially suitable for children.

Drama therapy helps to:

  • to reduce emotional and mental stress;
  • to reduce the consequences of emotional, physical and sexual violence trauma;
  • to promote the ability to be aware of the meaning of life;
  • find out your personality potential and opportunities
  • to promote personality creativity;
  • to develop communication skills;
  • learn new patterns of behavior;

Be aware of possible solutions to the problemBy realizing these goals according to the results of the patient's evaluation, drama therapy helps the patient to become participatory and co-responsible for their physical and mental health. Achieving these goals is realized in a safe and supportive therapeutic atmosphere, which helps the patient to recover faster.

Drama therapy is closely related to other sciences - psychiatry, psychology, sociology, social anthropology. The goals of drama therapy are determined in the evaluation process and are individual, depending on the client's range of problems, environment and theoretical orientation, within which they must be realized:

  • to help the client express, process (develop) and resolve emotional conflicts; overcome stress and traumatic experiences;
  • to promote self-awareness, increase self-esteem, facilitate the move towards a sense of reality;
  • to develop a sense of internal control, to promote the ability to take responsibility for finding and implementing solutions;
  • strengthen the sense of "I";
  • to improve interpersonal competence;
  • to regulate behavior, to develop social success, to promote various adaptation processes;
  • to facilitate the treatment process; discover or identify one's inner potential and resources, develop artistic abilities (creativity, spontaneity), etc.

Drama therapy is one of the ways to facilitate getting rid of various harmful habits. Drama therapy and psychodrama techniques can help people who have given up hope of improving or changing something in their lives. Drama therapy allows you to distance yourself, so it is possible to analyze thoughts before and after the manifestation of aggression. In the dramatic game, the patient can explore aggressive scenes and see and be aware of the stimulus of the triggers of aggression. The client can gain insight into his internal conflict regarding status and dignity. The dramatic game provides an opportunity to develop the ability to regulate aggression.

Drama therapy works for:

  1. primarily reduce the symptoms of the disease, disorder (such as depression, anxiety, phobias and other mental disorders, as well as chronic pain);
  2. secondarily, using an integrative approach, focus on the patient's thinking, feelings and behaviors, the way of life that affects his underlying problem. In this case, the activity of drama therapy is related to self-awareness, expression and regulation of emotions, improvement of interaction and communication, promotion of the development of cognitive skills, improvement of behavioral manifestations. If necessary, the focus can be on developmental therapies, thus trying to influence the problem indirectly. Attention is not focused on the problem (disorder, symptoms) directly, but on the factors that may affect it;
  3. tertiary, using a supportive approach, focus on personality development to help the patient with the existing problem, reduce the consequences of the problem or reduce the development of the problem in a preventive context. In cases of chronic and incurable diseases, the focus of drama therapy is on reconciliation, resolving sadness and accepting the situation.

Indications for drama therapy:

  • Mental illness (depression, including postpartum depression, schizophrenia, manic depressive psychosis, alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, except for acute conditions);
  • Functional syndromes and chronic fatigue syndrome;
  • Diseases of the musculoskeletal system (various pains, etc.);
  • Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (arterial hypertension, stroke, etc., except acute conditions, hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance);
  • Respiratory diseases (bronchial asthma); Skin diseases (psoriasis, neurodermatitis); Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (chronic diseases of the upper abdomen without an organic cause).

Drama therapy contraindications:

  • Acute conditions (need for surgery, acute psychosis);
  • Exacerbation of a chronic disease;
  • uncompensated arterial hypertension;
  • acute musculoskeletal pain;
  • disorientation in time and space;
  • increased pressure in the eyes;
  • damage to the optic nerve with marked visual impairment, damage to the auditory nerve with marked hearing impairment;
  • participation in the group is contraindicated for persons who are unable to control their aggressive impulses and may endanger other members of the group.

The collaboration of the drama therapist in the rehabilitation team is important. Acting interdisciplinary, drama therapists can help develop the patient's understanding of their emotions and feelings, understanding of the situation, awareness of their identity, develop the ability to concentrate, improve social adaptability. Drama therapy in a group promotes the development of the patient's communication skills and social networking. All these effects help to improve the client's quality of life, so they are considered an important part of the treatment process.

What is the process flow in drama therapy sessions?

At the beginning of the cycle of drama therapy sessions, depending on the client's / patient's needs and the nature of the problem / difficulty, the goals of the therapy are determined. Therapy sessions take place in a safe, supportive atmosphere under the guidance of a therapist. The session consists of conversation and balanced activity with the use of elements of drama, which allows creative expression of thoughts, feelings and emotions. Various properties, objects, accessories, photographs, images, metaphors, etc. are used in the process. The session ends with a conversation summarizing the experience gained.

In the process of therapy, a sense of security is deliberately created, and the client is protected from the dangers of confrontation with inner chaos and experiences, which can upset the mental balance of the personality and make him unable to solve problems in everyday life. Drama therapy provides an opportunity to identify manifestations that are unacceptable to the personality, and to control them safely in the process of drama therapy.

Drama therapy is open to people at any age - children and adolescents, young people and adults, as well as seniors.

Drama therapy, depending on specific goals and needs, takes place individually, in a group, with parents (or one of the parents) and a child, the whole family, as a couple.

Drama therapy sessions are recommended with or without a doctor's appointment.