What is drama therapy?

mariel asks: I am a guidance counselor. Can I use drama therapy for my clients even though im not a psychiatrist….further more can u give me other sample of therapist. thanks a lot.

Hi mariel –

There is often a lot of confusion about the difference between Drama Therapy and Psychodrama.  The first is a large “umbrella” of therapies, including art, music, dance, costumes, masks, puppets, poetry… and Psychodrama.


There is no license required to practice Drama Therapy.  Basically it’s just stuff you’ve been doing all your life, but using these activities for therapeutic purposes.  For example, let’s say you’re working with a group of kids who have poor self-esteem.  Well you might do an activity where they make masks of the quality they most wish they had.  One might make a “beautiful” mask, another a “brave” one, another a “popular” one, and so on.  Then you can set up a “party,” where they come in those masks, and act as if that’s their strongest quality.  “Hello, I’m the most beautiful woman in the world, and everyone wants to take my picture or ask me out.”  “Hello, I’m the bravest person ever, I’m getting a medal at the UN next week, and children everywhere idolize me.”  And after the “party” is over, you have the group sit around and talk about how it felt to play those roles.  Now that’s Drama Therapy!


Psychodrama is the one part of Drama Therapy you really don’t want to do without years of extensive training.  That involves an intensive process where a patient has other group members re-enact a traumatic event in their life, including precipitating events and events that stemmed from it, and also act out possible new directions to take in their future.  It’s extremely powerful, but can be psychically dangerous if done by someone not fully trained.


But beyond that, can you have your clients draw pictures of events in their lives, write and perform raps about what’s annoying them these days, create costumes to act out the strengths they believe no one recognizes in them, teach a group dance steps to their favorite song, and a million other creative active ideas?


Absolutely!  And you wouldn’t believe how much fun this is for kids and teens, and how much they’ll enjoy this process (which they’ve probably dreaded beginning).


Have Fun!


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