How drama therapy can assist with mental health recovery

The Benefits of Drama Therapy

Drama has commonly been used as a form of therapy since the 18th century. Mental health hospitals used it as a way for patients to explore their own psychoses by developing their own plays. It was realised that Drama allowed people to explore life experiences, mental health issues and deep-set trauma that they found too painful or difficult to verbalise. Over the years, Drama Therapy has been refined and has become an exceptionally popular form of therapy.

Drama Therapy is not the same as a regular drama class. Drama Therapists are specially trained to guide people through different activities which can help them explore issues that they find difficult to deal with using traditional therapeutic routes. Individuals that take part in drama therapy have reported seeing a difference in their behaviour, emotional state, anxiety levels, and relationships, through participating in activities such as:

  • Storytelling
  • Script Writing
  • Puppetry
  • Role-Playing
  • Directing
  • Improvisation
  • Physical Theatre
  • Masks

Drama therapy provides a safe space for individuals to explore and process any difficult thoughts, feelings, and experiences that they are going through, without relying on verbal communication. It has been found as an effective aid treatment for people suffering from conditions such as; Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, Eating Disorders, Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It is an effective form of therapy for both individual and group sessions. A drama therapist can tailor how each session will be beneficial and healing to each person.

The benefits of using drama therapy include:

  • Enabling Patients to Experiment with New Ways of Thinking and Behaving- Through activities such as role-play, masks, improvisation, puppetry, and physical theatre, patients can adopt a mindset of someone else. They can then explore different behaviours and thought processes which are different from their own.
  • Providing the Opportunity to Learn New Skills – Drama Therapy opens the door to developing and discovering skills and talents that people were not aware that they had or could enjoy. It can evoke passion in some people to learn and develop each new skill they learn.
  • Improves Social Skills – In group therapy sessions, people work closely with each other in different activities. This requires everyone to be vocal with each other and participate as a team. This can drastically improve an individual’s social and communication skills. Drama therapy has also been proven to help decrease symptoms of social anxiety, in a study published by European Psychiatry.
  • Provides an Escape/Release – Drama therapy gives people the opportunity to escape from how they are feeling. They get to be another character, who has a completely different life and mindset. They can also get the feeling that they are in control through directing and scriptwriting.
  • Opportunity to Explore Trauma/Issues Without Verbalising It – Many people can find talking about what they are struggling with daunting, upsetting and painful. Drama therapy gives people the opportunity to explore how they are feeling and what they have gone through in ways that don’t have to be verbal. Drama forms such as puppetry, physical theatre, mime, and masks have been proven to help people with recovery.
  • Promotes Imagination and Creativity – Drama therapy is filled with activities that require individuals to think outside and create abstract performances. This encourages people to use their imagination and come up with creative strategies for each session.

At Northern Healthcare, we offer various forms of therapy and activities. This includes drama therapy, where sessions have been tailored to specifically help each person that takes part.

For more information on Northern Healthcare and how we can help you, please contact us today on

Tel: 0161 974 7210 or info@northernhealthcare.org.uk

Photo by Nadim Merrikh on Unsplash

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