What is drama/theatre therapy?
Drama/theatre therapy is an art-oriented form of therapy in which the transformative
power of theatre play is used for individual and societal therapeutic purposes.
By means of specific methods, psychological and psychosocial processes are activated,
accompanied and integrated. Hereby the healthy parts of people are focused on and
strengthened as resources.
The term drama therapy is understood to mean primarily process-oriented work in
which scenic work and also the performance of a play can become an integral part of the
The playful and body-oriented approach overcomes the limits of rational understanding;
this enables access to emotions and their expression. New perspectives as well as
possibilities for action can be opened up and tried out.
Theatre has been used for therapeutic purposes since ancient times and has been
considered healing since the beginning. It is an expression of the human search for
orientation and rootedness in the "we" of the "big whole".
The term drama comes from the Greek and means action, meaning the aesthetic,
emotional, expressive and communicative process that takes place through theatre play.
Discovering new possibilities for action in play, embodying them and integrating them
into one's own life can contribute to solve problems and develop the potential of each
individual as well as society. The action- and presence-related aspect is in the
foreground; the individual is always seen as part of and in relation to a larger whole.
Among other artistic means, myths, stories, movement elements, body and voice work,
puppetry, masks, literary texts and poems serve as therapeutic tools.
The principles of contemporary drama therapy are based on the long experience of
therapists, especially from England, the USA and the Netherlands. Since the 1960s,
pioneers such as Renee Emunah (USA), Alida Gersie (GB), Sue Jennings (GB), Mooli
Lahad (USA/Israel) and Robert Landy (USA) have developed and tested this form of
therapy and its methods.
In the countries mentioned, drama therapy is now a recognised form of therapy and
integrated into the state health system.
It is used in all psychosocial fields of work, as individual, couple and group therapy, and
has proven particularly successful with clients who are otherwise difficult to reach.