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Dramatherapy - Anna Szymanowska

What is Dramatherapy

Interview with British Dramatherapist dr Anna Seymour about what is Dramatherapy:

Dramatherapy as a profession, along with its structures, was developed in Great Britain in early nineteen-seventies.
It evolved as a separate form of psychotherapy from the fields of drama for education, educational theatre and remedial drama.

In Great Britain, there are courses trained for the practice of this profession and also organizations verifying future therapists.
According to the British Association of Dramatherapists, Dramatherapy has as its main focus the intentional use of healing aspects of drama and theatre as the therapeutic process. It is a method of working and playing that uses action methods to facilitate creativity, imagination, learning insight and growth.

Dramatherapy is rooted in healing rituals of many ancient cultures. The first one to formally acknowledge it and define these qualities was Aristotle. Using aesthetic and philosophical terminology, he assigned to them the term of „catharsis”. There is inseparable mutual dependence of the theory of drama and the theory and practice of dramatherapy.

It should also be underlined that this is a model of psychotherapy, which arose from social, developmental and clinical psychology, among others from such theories as: Object Relations, Symbolic Interaction Theories and Personal Construct Psychology. Wherein the essence is the creation of "hypothetical reality" on which drama is directly dependent. This in practice means work with the metaphor.

Many dramatherapy techniques are derived from Psychodrama (the founder is Z. Moreno). The difference, however, between the two methods lies in the use by Dramatherapy of the metaphor and fictional story, and by Psychodrama the direct use of someone's biography.
Creation of fictional reality improves the client's engagement and allows for identification with the presented world and thereby recognition of personal contents. That is why it may be said that Dramatherapy was inspired more by Aristotle than by Moreno.
Dramatherapy arose also under the influence of such theories as: Group Analytic Psychotherapy, Jungian Archetypal Psychotherapy, Gestalt Therapy.

The list of various influences on this method is long – from anthropology and growing awareness of the significance of healing rituals of the ancient cultures to developmental psychology and Winnicot’s transitional object theory. The application of Dramatherapy also is very extensive; it may be used with equal success in working with children having behavioura problems in schools as well as in psychiatric hospitals with acute patiens.

Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their training in theatre /drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes.