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Teaching drama as a therapy, adivce and ideas appreciated.

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by poor tom, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. Hi Tigsy!
    What a great opportunity! I am a bit jealous, but I know you'll do a fantastic job.
    It's important that you stay within your comfort/confidence zone: don't be tempted into being a therapist if you're not ready for it.
    And it's safer to use drama creatively, rather than re-enacting traumatic events - this can be useful in the hands of a skilled psychodramatist, but it still scares the beJesus out of me... Folktale enactments can let participants tap into their archetypes, and thus improve psychic integration; after the 'main event' you can achieve balance through enacting an opposite - can be done quickly via sculpts. E.g. victim now plays role of hero - you can use quick techniques as in Boal's Image Theater. Important to provide a reference point for the individual experience, as well as de-roling. MUST exit room NOT in role as a victim, nor as a sword-weilding warrior hero!!
    Most turntaking exercises you already use will work - run them round the circle a couple of times more... (I went to market and bought a [mime #1] etc...)
    You can also do physicalisation of a 'safe place' (Physical Theatre), and I like fantasy fulfilments, but they can go wrong if the fantasy is too destructive or self-harming...
    With your numbers, critical mass might be something to be aware of, so you can maintain the pace of an enactment by providing narration - helps keep it safe as well by maintaining the story (don't let them change it, just let them narrate aspects of it in the way they interpret).
    Similarly, the dramatic art form will provide safety; but don't pressurise anyone into taking on a particualr role: it might retraumatise them, if they're opening up emotionally in your sessions.
    More details on nature of need(s), size & setting of group would enable more targetted advice. But this is a public forum!
    I use a wee introductory 'ritual' of (in mime) placing any 'issues' people want left outside the business of the day on a table by the door as they come in; and a reminder they can uplift them at the end (some people choose to leave them - that's ok!).
    And I do use a lot of Forum Theatre (Boal's, not the cheapened D-i-E version) - but I've never really been enthused by Boal's forays into 'therapy'.
    That's all I can think of at the mo.
    Get back to me if you want more details or rationales. (Or if I've rambled...)
  2. thats been very enlightening, thank you! I will be using drama creatively, I wont be using it to create events (shows how little I know about drama therapy) or to discuss issues.
    Its just to use drama to help them learn, to socialise, to be creative. I'm just having to be aware of issues etc and clearly cope with a small group. So many of my games and resources arent suitable, or they can only be played for a short time until kids get bored.
    but you have given me a few things to consider, many thanks.
  3. That sounds amazing. I was thinking about taking a course in Drama Therapy (3 years part time) but I really wanted something that was accessible to a whole class. If you don't mind me asking, where did you learn all this, or is it just down to experience? Sounds like exactly the stuff I want to learn.
    About 20 years ago I used to work in a psychiatric unit just doing confidence building exercises through Drama (some Boal) but I remember seeing the experts in action and it was quite overwhelming what they achieved. Anyway I seem to be coming back to it now along side the Drama teaching - but with young people. I think I feel 'old enough' now.
    Any advice or direction you can offer would be appreciated.

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