By Sarah Bilodeau, Dramatherapist
Dramatherapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses creative methods to facilitate expression, healing and growth. This therapeutic process enables individuals to safely explore their experiences, thoughts and feelings in verbal and non-verbal ways, using a wide range of techniques including: art and image making (i.e. drawing, crafts and using fabrics, small stones, shells to create images), play, stories, movement, role-play and music. Experience or skill in the arts/drama is not needed to benefit from dramatherapy.
In working creatively, in a safe space with a therapist’s non-judgemental regard, individuals have the opportunity to connect with their creativity, which is a healthy aspect within everyone’s personalities. This process allows the individual to work holistically, where not only issues are worked through, but also encouraging the individual to see themselves as more than their challenges. Strengths are accessed and fostered, which assists individuals to use their own abilities to support their difficulties, hurt and vulnerabilities. By cultivating this relationship to one’s self, self-acceptance, self-esteem and resilience can grow.
Individuals are invited to express their feelings, thoughts and experiences creatively. Working therapeutically with the arts and the body enables individuals to share in ways that words can at times not permit. Metaphors can also create a distance from the self, allowing blocked or unconscious feelings to be re-activated and worked through without the person becoming overwhelmed. This creative process enables a sense of freedom in exploration, expression and play. At the same time, Dramatherapists see that parts of the self are being expressed through this process, with metaphors representing parts of one’s inner world, be they unconscious or conscious. Thus, the Dramatherapist will also aid the client to gently explore the links between their art, the creative therapy process and their life, with a pace that is appropriate and respectful of their emotional and psychological well-being. In doing so, the individual can increase their awareness, self-understanding, empathy, compassion, and may find insight and new solutions in how they respond to their experiences and relationships.
Role-play & Play
Individuals can become stuck in patterns of thinking, communicating and behaving and these can at times get in the way of change, development, wellness and relationships. Role-play and stories can offer new perspectives, allowing one to visualize and embody change. Stepping into the shoes of another character can also increase understanding of one’s self and others, also expanding communication skills. Play can also help to increase emotional flexibility, and bring coherence to chaotic feelings and thoughts. Play is part of the language of children, it is a rehearsal for life, and integrating this therapeutically allows the life development process to continue.
Interested in learning more about Dramatherapy? Read more about ELG’s Dramatherapy service or call us at +86 4006 129 423 or +86 21 5206 6273.