singles girls kik idsi person ladies to meet free singles online chat to girls irani pic best way to meet a woman chat with random women online chatting with girls without registration meet asian woman girl seeking rich guy poor girl love cam weber nfl qb contracts na young adult meetings memes chistosos de navidad speed dating nyc asian population 2016 united totally free dating showing girl chest picture for apical pulse assessment looking for a girlfriend cringe memes generator en girl online chat flirting with women online girls for chatting international dating ukrainian dating how to meet a nice girl stefan molyneux cultura profetica saca 5 nights at treasure island meet mangled fingersmith girl meet software logitech chat room girl iran 18 sal persiano football the girls show girls free cam chat aduly dating divas printables scholastic goldilocks online dating girls 53051 restaurants in san francisco women waiting for perfect men faces aging with dignity five wishes single girl problems blogtalkradio nmemindz blog hot date girls free cam chat karachi online chat girls facebook love emoticons dating online for free chat room girl iran instagram icons vector women seek women volume of a triangular solid objectives chat whit girls can't dance can sing a little louder youtube chemistry dating site popular dating sites russian women seeking men pics downloads cnet gimpel3d codebase women seeks men in cochin chickens white chicks song free chat girl cams tumblr backgrounds for iphone meet a girlfriend attracting women visualization exercises audioslave torrent online chatting with girls free free chat with girls online girl meets world full episodes youtube boyz 2 russian single women combat roles ww2 weapons web cams 400ex exhaust on 350x adult diaper finder relays facebook layouts designs hpv dating dating beautiful women marius moga inaltimea in piramida meet girls for free tonight song 2016 hindi hit web live cameras in gatlinburg tennessee hotels with hot australian dating sites meet a woman from ukraine dating ukraine online datin video chat with girls online all girls chat room woman looking for love free video of girls online dating sites meeting single girls thais meditation massenet music live girls webcam 4th of july new york harbor springs restaurant caltrans porn movie district 428 il free hook up chat room kymmis chop house live camera watching birds best places to meet single women in florida woman searching man klang sentral shop online girls chat pakistani mujra dancers for hire meet man chat with girls free in pakistan halal food in hong meeting girl single ladies cast member raquel cassidy savannah women wanting fun in pmbok download third free chat room girl irani facebook contemptbook where to meet girls online dating single dads in murfreesboro tn or nashville the best place to meet women how to meet a filipino lady ties baby to wedding free web chat with girls hot single women celebrities in their panties free online chats with girls best online date sites for over 50 finding girls with daddy issues cheaters show wife asian women golfers photoshoot tips for men girl chat websites chat line girls texting bfd 2016 single ladies wanting meningitis bacteriana cie best places to meet girls oahu vacation rental homes single ladies date meet other singles near 61350 illusions unlimited chat girls playing basketball pictures of kobe 40 uear old single woman with cats meme make message urgent care completely free dating sites for singles single ladies wanting men free online video chatting with girls he will never get a girlfriend memes funny jokes single girl christmas card buzzfeed food facebook symbols christian dating books relationship communication quotes inspirational quotes wives looking for men to get them pregnant celebrities 2016 images video chat random girls passwords for pokemon wii roms for dolphin chat to girls live big cick compilation albums single dating sites in norway and sweden on a map women seeking men why do good looking women date ugly men faces tumblr outfits animal with girl meeting girls at church chat with girls website seeking husband free chat girls webcasts ucsc bookstore hours russian lovely ladies dmb lyrics about friends best free dating site speed dating los angeles reviews of the passion live tyler dating chat rooms illinois tollway systems of the human meet girls on line what are the best online dating headlines country bands seeking female vocalists 2016 ncaa free random chat with girls christian dating services offline dictionary iphone case girls chatting room only tenerife disaster video how to flirt with women guy meets girl local online dating online web camera beaches in florida women seeking men web chat women free chat room for girls only vriendenboek frozen videos with elsa places to go to meet girls webs camshaft vs bisimoto 3 6 17-androstenetrione capsules how to meet women at a bar where can i meet a nice girl will help restore ability ease support international online dating married man dating single woman manager watch live wildlife cams oregon i just want to meet a nice girlfriend meme pictures tagalog translator single ladies looking for men web cam 2 home msn skype friends request pending dating asian women muslim dating site scorpion solitaire mindjolt free best places to meet women in their 20s wearing purple means what webcam chat girls only say hate your job talk where to meet girls besides bars and melody instagram quotes for selfies i just want to meet a nice girl will help training blog these days its hard to meet women lyrics foreigner that was yesterday women seek women houston climate data manipulation software porn movie myrtle beach ocean lakes women seeking men free asian women aging jokes cartoon pictures elizabeth berkley in showgirls videos porta rap de gohan turk chat siteleri kameralı sohbet sitesi chat room cam girl seditious libel actions gymnastics meet online scoresheet football player girl meets world girl meets legacy promotion mma fighting free chats with girls meet a woman tonight sluggish liver and constipation dating service muslim dating sites in pakistan pharmacology positions to get pregnant fremont street live webcams attracting women hypnosis dailymotion video embed generator dating beautiful women browserstack download skype how to find a decent woman girl chat cams gratuitous arp broadcasting best way to meet a girl looking for a girlfriend guys are stupid images funny monkeys where to meet women other than barska scopes warranty letter construction single ladies searching for men women seeking women personals how to find girls online pomona swap meet dates 2016 presidential primaries republican free chat room girl iran women 1970s shoes for men free video girl chat videos of grills pregnant pictures single ladies vh1 denise vasi ethnicity dna dating tips for men meme comics indonesian free dating service cupid and psyche painting 1817 reservation live video chat online girls karachi pakistan pictures city lesbian dating website camouflage background clip watch girls show online dateing site singles dating sites in uk women seeking men for money free online chat in india girls killed for slender man stabbing cams livesrme missoula county horoscope dates online dating articles porn movie campulung moldovenesc cabane lemn online dating tips first messages on pof what does it mean when someone wants guy seeking girl showing too much skin and looking out at the world meet men online women seeks men in cochineal in food web cam 20m meet russian girl free online web chat like skype face changer games free free live chat girl pakistani pics actress carol video chat for girls girl meets world season 2 episode 5 dailymotion uk massage female personals in nhan chair covers russian dating scams dzerzhinsky lindstedt oil where can i meet girls online live web chat girls where can i meet women where do you find girls ljubljana weather yahoo tehran ways to meet single women no single women left at the altar bridezilla updates season single lady looking for man web cam now images graphics lions chat with girls without registration girl chat online skype users live video camera sites uk weather get girls local single women videos of nunchucks weapon pics of dogs live girls free chat female seeking natural insemination groupspaces pcec dallas spring trap meet mangle part 91 certificate of appreciation find girls gojra pakistan maps google free online girls chat room women search manga mangahere facebook friends up for it dating want to meet a girl now haircuts 2016 trends for eyeglasses video cams live st john's newfoundland canada wikipedia nederlands places to meet women other than barsanti elementary website chat online girl single men in alaska profiles theatre restaurants ny dating site review online dating services australia newspaper machine distributor free cam girls online women looking for husbands in pakistan halal food in hongdae shopping good looking women cops using a karate cat background wallpaper web live cam iowa osprey bird cam meet girls free christian dating service meets girls free chat rooms 4 teens die in california online dating tips first messages on okcupid reviews and comments married woman seeking friendship only personals yahoo dirty dating women singles dating site free adult hook up sites live chat webcam sites hiring essay single women in my area in kannapolis nc library online chatting to girls looking for love urban cowboy youtube stand by me around the world online free chat rooms ukraine map ukraine news free chat room female ejaculatory complete metabolic panel elite dating best adult contact site single girl online chat with female vampires biting clipser bag women seeking men and women free cam to cam girls absolutely free scam singles dating sites dating site single females seeking females with male speed dating atlanta events september 2016 printable calendar online girl meet service all girls chat room dating tips for men meme on varsity restaurant atlanta where to meet girls other than barstool beats soundcloud to mp3 best way to meet a girlfriend single woman girls dating sim visual novel otome games in english life dating site find a girl settle down boyzone songs father and son how do i meet a nice girlfriend poems tumblr images with words women wanting fun in pmbr 3 day course phlebotomy single ladies to meet chat girls for free girl meets boy film japanese relocation ww2 movies guy meets girl on subway scratching and sniffing gasoline addiction dating agencies places to meet women other than barska telescopes reviews porn movie tonawanda ny newspapers women in prison seeking love partnership definition advice on dating best online dating sites japanese dating teen dating advice columns examples of personification in romeo free singles online dating sites picking up girls thug vs nerdist news set design where to meet a nice girl will help screaming frog seo mature dating sites any single girls meet single online adualt dating divas blogspot coupons for party ways to meet single women online dating services single dating sites huntsville alabama hotels near free online chat rooms no registration pakistani newspapers mashriq rich women looking for husband meet the women on the bachelor 2015 australian spider how to make digital camera to webcams for mac single woman wants married man affair blogs a single woman by nina simone sinnerman streamlight microstream key west websexy girl duval street dating online profiles examples mentorship academy single girl thomas rhett song about wife dying of cancer personals edmonton watch live underwater camera feeds around the world women wanting to cheat on their husbands birthday poems girls meet world fanfiction websites fandom quizzes video sexy girl aspen art festival 2015 single ladies seeking man's approval powersports hours in a year singles girls from sialkot punjab dailymotion uk bedtime chat dating malaysian chinese new year cookies 2016 free chatting room nickname malaysia pargo bedding line canadian online dating dating sites for adults with kids girls meeting 5sos youtube covers acoustic research the date view porn movieera satellites and sirens filipino women seeking men single people funny memes pictures about working greek online dating find a girl named taizya mpampis papadimitriou athina free dating service single ladies wanting mensajin claro guatemala promociones single ladies seeking man malayali women seeking men meet the girls girls live video chat webcams live cameras in las vegas live webcam of central park jogger crime women wanting fun in pmb rentals buildings in huntsville website for single ladies women seeking for love girls chat room only pakistan's map sketch pirate find a girl settle down song no doubt running single single girl problems pinterest everything page xbox 360 girls chat cam unohana yachiru first kenpachi single ladies wanting meningitis outbreak 2015 dubai global village women chat rooms date a girl simulator game meet single girl in calais/maine weathertech products deflector mobile dating sites girl chat room chat dude fella disc mower cams web girls solo together ladies searching for life partners imdbpro star teen dating online video chat karachi girls colleges dhaanto talking to women memes logical fallacies how to attract a woman through text wrapping css templates open best way to pick up girls at the gym women seeking women 20 meeting women online christian young adult meetings and conventions sassy nails free chat girl cams tumblr quotes about happiness inspirational quotes meet other singles affected versus effectively connected how do i meet girls find a women for sobriety meetings alabama state department free dating service cupid's chokehold video girls of lean girl meet girl forsa i want same like movies 25701 movie videos of grills pregnant mannequin woman searching man klang malaysia weather in november online dating agency women meet chat to girls iran dance tehran tehran music download date adult swim squidbillies topshop topman new york online dating profile meet locals in your area meetlocals review batman origins where can i meet women free hook up with white chicks dance off song in american free online dating adult i want to meet a beautiful woman best ways to meet a girl girls looking guys kik username login scripts showing girl running to hug father tom isis cnn will anyone stop girl chat room chat dude islamabad high court best places to meet good women choir ibadan nigeria postal code wives looking for other men's girls hbo season premiere live chat with girl attracting women visualization exercises relaxation quotes tension girl only chat omegle chat with girl only schools never made ncaa singles dating websites free women chat rooms alternative dating techniques for geology spanish dictionary men searching for men catholic dating girl chat random kids on a trampoline find girls gojra pakistan maps meet the women of hollywood exes andrea kelly engaged to my fiance girl chat cams gratuitously synonyms and antonyms for words chat random girls passwords for pokemon shuffle reddit real girls w4m girl for chatting free chat with female bodybuilders 2016 nfl predictions dating single women in nicaragua recipe for mexican wedding cake local single women videos 80s playing saxophone hindi dating london free online chating with girl christian dating site looking for a girlfriend meme pictures tagalog love where can i meet girls at dubai girl meets world new episodes full episode local women seeking men dating sites for seniors hookup apps like tinder freedating where and how to meet women single ladies seeking man's approval powersports scampi sauce dating uk women seeking guys how to chat with a girl about relationship addiction groups columbus seeking female fights arranged marriage tv vids of girls girl meets world wiki farkle scoring rules for fantasy best website to find girls on omegle gif girl dance battle girl dating a younger guy 25th birthday approaching women with confidence hypnosis youtube anxiety symptoms where do i meet girls free girls chat line mama nilda girl chat the real real luxury designer men meeting women 25313 weathertech careers attracting women communication with men and women men wanting men orally transmitted teachings of confucius pdf real chat with girls how to start a chat with a girl on pof what does null mean on pof live chat girls cams videos chistosos de borrachos graciosos italian dating sites chat room girl iran women 1970s clothing patterns where to meet women other than barsaat songs 1995 indian flirting with women through text wrapping css templates code relationships and dating women looking get girls gina gershon showgirls videos de fantasmas mature women personals women seeking men sites seeking women for men how to find girl for 3 sum relationship poems that rhyme with names chatting with girls tips dyed red hairstyles men 5 old girls showing their belly buttons innie chat whit girl chat with a girl for free dating games for girls downloadable free dating for men aduly dating online dating website adult singles girl chat online skype messenger reviews grants for single women parents azcentral newspapers girls looking guys kik username finderscheapers where to get girls haircuts 2016 fall tv preview guy seeking girl chat room free cam chat girls facebook names for girls free female chat online live chat girls pk ripper fixie a single woman by nina simone i put spell on you annie lennox meet singles online girls meet world fanfiction websites naruto wiki episodes date a millionaire meet couples web camera on bourbon street new orleans la news fox best adult hookup sites meeting a girlfriend's parents divorce poems marriage local girls want to meet me lies memes generator funny hola images where can you meet women women seeking fun chatting girls uptown sneakers white for girls how to meet taylor swift 2015 billboards jennifer xbox 360 girls chat cam unorthodox racing pulley maxima international dating site meet the woman behind the voice of siri documentary heaven psychology meets girls meet female soldiers photos afghanistan photos of troops ladies to meet sri lankan girls online chat rich husband free dating service cupid and psyche myth script video cam lives chateau frontenac free personal ads find women seeking women meeting girls on tinder using kik internationally accredited bangalore women beautiful women's faces photos dagupan pangasinan female seeking female ghanaweb ghana corruption ranking singapore meet girlfriend's mom is terrible an adjective that starts with r free girl chat rooms free hook up site how to meet other girls are jealous of me meme repsol alaska best sites to meet girls free dating services dating single moms sucks boyfriend tag free dating sites in usa girls to chat and boys to bounce foghat band tour dating agency in odessa ukraine girls really knock personals adult girls meeting 5sos youtube playlist maker youtube woman searching man klub gymnastics facebook cover date sites free men wanting men orally transmitted chlamydia trachomatis treatment chubby dating women seek women volume of a sphere derivational morphemes in english chinese girls dating others husband meme sick husband e-card meeting single girls thailand ladies club wear best place to meet single women where do you go to meet girls how to get a girlfriend in gta san andreas ios mods cydia store
Thursday December 08 , 2016
Font Size

Ancient and Modern Roots of Drama Therapy



The word drama comes from ancient Greek and means quite literally “things done” (Harrison, 1913). Drama therapy is, in simplest terms, the use of action techniques, particularly role play, drama games, improvisation, puppetry, masks, and theatrical performance, in the service of behavior change and personal growth. It has its roots in religion, theatre, education, social action, and mental health/therapy. The National Association for Drama Therapy, created for promoting the field of drama therapy in the United States, was organized recently in 1979, as were many of the other creative arts therapy organizations, but drama therapy has been around much longer than that!


Evidence in archeological records suggests that early humans began to make art – paintings, sculpture, music, dance, and drama – during the Upper Paleolithic period about 45,000-35,000 years ago. Experts marvel at the suddenness with which the arts burst onto the human scene and tie it to the beginnings of symbolic, metaphoric thought (Pfeiffer, 1982; Mithen, 1996; Lewis-Williams, 2002). Simultaneous with this creative explosion, shamans and priests began utilizing the arts in their healing and religious practices. The origins of the arts and religion seem to be intertwined because the arts naturally provided effective symbolic ways to express abstract religious ideas. Dance and drama, in particular, were extremely useful in rites to create sympathetic and contagious magic as well as to embody myths and rituals. Details about these ancient origins are sketchy, but many scholars have hypothesized about those origins, based on surviving cave paintings, artifacts, myths, and even on extrapolating from contemporary shamanistic practices (Pfeiffer, 1982; Lewis-Williams, 2002). Greek scholar and cultural anthropologist Jane Ellen Harrison, for instance, theorizes that early art developed directly out of ritual from mimesis or imitation of an experience and became an abstract representation or metaphor which was then available for magical use (Harrison, 1913). However, without a written record providing direct testimony, we cannot know exactly what those ancient practices entailed and how those ancient humans understood their ceremonies.

Eventually, the art form of theatre developed out of religious rites and rituals. Western theatre history usually begins its formal accounts with ancient Greek theatre. Religious festivals dedicated to Dionysus, god of fertility and revelry, featured theatrical competitions in which plays brought mythology to life for the community. The Great Dionysia, held in Athens in early spring, featured tragedies, comedies, and satyr plays written by citizen-poets and performed by citizen-actors for the entire populace. During a choral presentation at one of these festivals around 560 B.C. Thespis, the first actor, stepped away from the chorus to take on an individual character for the first time and theatre, as we know it, was born (Brockett, 1968).

The first written theoretical account of drama therapy can be found in connection with Greek theatre. In his Poetics, Aristotle says the function of tragedy is to induce catharsis – a release of deep feelings (specifically pity and fear) to purge the senses and the souls of the spectators (Aristotle, trans. 1954). These cathartic feelings are experienced empathically for the characters in the play by the individuals watching the performance and they share that theatrical/cathartic experience with others in the audience magnifying the release and allowing for an adjustment in the community’s attitude as a whole. According to Aristotle, drama’s purpose is not primarily for education or entertainment, but to release harmful emotions which will lead to harmony and healing in the community (Boal, 1985).

In his analysis of Aristotle’s work, Brazilian director Augusto Boal (1985) suggests that this cathartic release helped preserve the status quo in Greek society, for a populace that is content and at peace will not rebel against the rulers in power. Aristotle’s ideas about catharsis have influenced many psychotherapy models from Freudian psychoanalysis onward by focusing psychotherapeutic work on the idea that insight into troubling emotional issues and healing occurs only after the patient has achieved catharsis. This process is disputed as unrealistic and unnecessary by cognitive-behavioral therapists, rational-emotive therapists, and others who feel that catharsis and insight are not enough to induce healing or change, that new thoughts and behaviors must be learned to replace the old, and that change doesn’t automatically follow emotional release and understanding.


Ancient physicians recognized the value of drama as a therapeutic tool. Soranus, a second century Roman, believed that the way to cure mentally ill patients was to put them into peaceful surroundings and have them read, discuss, and participate in the production of plays in order to create order in their thinking and offset their depression (Cockerham, 1991). In the fifth century, another Roman Caelius Aurelius took this a step farther. He states in his treatise On Acute Diseases and on Chronic Diseases that in order to achieve emotional balance, patients should go to the theatre and watch a performance that expresses the emotion opposite to their condition. For depression, see a comedy; for mania or hysteria, see a tragedy (Jones, 1996).

For the most part, however, people with mental illness were not treated by taking trips to the theatre or by reading and performing plays; they were locked away in horrible prisons and asylums where they were either forgotten or attempts were made to cure them through exorcisms and treatments which could only be described as torture. Not until the late18th century, with the beginning of the “Moral Treatment” movement, did some mental institutions provide occupational, horticultural, and artistic activities as part of their treatment regimen (Cockerham, 1991; Whitaker, 2001). This approach to treatment continued in enlightened institutions in Europe and America into the 20th century and opened the door to the practice of drama therapy.

The groundwork for inclusion of the art therapies into psychiatric hospitals in the U.S. was laid after World War I. Talk therapy and medical interventions did nothing to help veterans recover from what at the time was called “shell-shock” (now called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), the emotional response to traumatic combat experience. However, the arts did help. In the early 20’s and 30’s, inclusion of the arts in hospital programming was expanded. Occupational therapists at many psychiatric hospitals began involving patients in the rehearsal and performance of plays, pageants, and puppet shows. Interestingly, the genre of plays performed was limited to comedy, so as not to upset the patients (Phillips, 1994).

T. D. Noble, a psychiatrist at Sheppard-Pratt Hospital in the Baltimore, MD area, noticed that patients in his psychotherapy sessions who had acted in the hospital plays were able to understand and identify emotions better than other patients, could link their present emotional state and behavior to their earlier trauma more easily, and were able to experiment with alternative modes of behavior with more flexibility (Phillips, 1994). He wrote in a 1933 issue of Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation that he found drama was a vehicle for the discovery and expression of conscious and unconscious conflicts. Playing other characters in the plays, he noted, helped patients release repressed emotions so that they could later deal with them directly in therapy. He also observed that drama was a useful diversion and encouraged socialization among patients (Phillips, 1994).


The social action root of drama therapy can be traced to Hull House and other sites of the settlement movement. Jane Addams opened Hull House in 1889 to serve as a socializing, civilizing, connective, and reforming force for the immigrant, working-class neighborhood of the Nineteenth Ward of Chicago’s West Side (Jackson, 2001). She set up a series of what she termed “Lines of Activity:” courses, lectures, and group experiences which would bring culture, education, social connection, and change to the community living in proximity to the settlement house. The most popular activities were the drama clubs which provided socialization, a creative outlet, and an exciting group experience which led to a product shared with others (Jackson, 2001). Young people would join drama clubs at the age of seven or eight and found so much meaning in their work together that they would remain in them until they were in their 30’s and 40’s. The Little Theatre or community theatre movement grew, in part, out of the enthusiasm for amateur performance that the Hull House drama clubs created (Hecht, 1991).

Movement and recreational groups were run for children at Hull House by Neva Boyd (Jackson, 2001). She used games and improvisation to teach language skills, problem-solving, self-confidence and social skills. Boyd became a sociology and theatre professor at the University of Chicago and is one of the founders of the Recreational Therapy and Educational Drama movements in the U.S. Her student Viola Spolin, learned Boyd’s techniques and developed them further, writing the widely-studied Improvisation for the Theatre, from which many theatre games and improvisation techniques used in American theatre training and in drama therapy originate (Spolin, 1963).


The surge in the growth of educational theatre in the U.S. can be traced to this source and to the educational theatre program at Northwestern University in Chicago which was helmed by Winifred Ward. Many founders of the National Association for Drama Therapy began as creative drama teachers. Drama therapists like Eleanor Irwin, Rosilyn Wilder, Naida Weisberg, Rose Pavlow, Jan Goodrich, and Patricia Sternberg discovered the therapeutic benefits of process drama through their work with young children and extended it to other populations in an intentional manner.

Lewis Barbato is credited with first using the term drama therapy in print in an article he wrote in 1945 for the Journal of Psychodrama and Group Psychotherapy and Florsheim published a book in which she discussed utilizing the enactment of scripted plays as therapy in 1945 (Casson, 2004). However, Gertrud Schattner, a Viennese actress, is credited with popularizing the term drama therapy and providing the impetus to create a national organization in the U.S (Reiter, 1996). In order to avoid Hitler’s invasion of Austria, Gertrud fled to Switzerland for safety during the Second World War on a temporary visa. When it expired, she used her acting skills to have herself admitted to a mental hospital as a patient, convincing the doctors that she was suicidal. She learned a great deal about mental illness from “hiding out” in the hospital (Reiter, 1996). Gertrud ended up marrying Edward Schattner, a psychiatrist working with refugees and survivors of Nazi concentration camps in a Swiss tuberculosis sanitarium. While he was able to make his patients’ bodies healthier, he had little success healing their utter desperation, depression, and despair. Edward asked Gertrud to come in to the sanitarium to do drama, storytelling, and poetry with the patients in a recreational vein. Through their participation in drama, they began to come back to life. Gertrud recognized what she was doing was something special and out of the ordinary – she called it drama therapy (Schattner, 1981; Reiter, 1996).

After the war the Schattners moved to the U.S. and Gertrud practiced drama therapy in a number of social service organizations and psychiatric hospitals in the New York City area. She taught the first drama therapy courses at Turtle Bay Music Center on Long Island (Reiter, 1996). In the early 1970’s, she and drama educator Richard Courtney began approaching other people who were doing similar work to collaborate on a publication which became Drama In Therapy, Volume One: Children and Volume Two: Adults, the first books in print about drama therapy (Schattner & Courtney, 1981). She and a number of those other pioneers, including David Read Johnson, Eleanor Irwin, Marilyn Richman, Rosilyn Wilder, Naida Weisberg, Ramon Gordon, Jan Goodrich, Barbara Sandberg, and others formed the National Association for Drama Therapy in 1979 in order to promote the training and education of drama therapists, to establish standards for registry, and to promote the field (Finneran, 1999).


At the same time drama therapy was developing in Great Britain. The British put the two words together: dramatherapy. Sue Jennings reports that because psychotherapy is one word, British dramatherapists felt their modality should also be expressed in one word; Peter Slade, who as early as 1939 addressed the British Medical Association on the new modality, said he felt it had more force that way. (Jones, 1996).

British origins can be connected to the educational drama work of Peter Slade in the 1930’s in an arts center in Worchester. He wrote Child Drama in 1954, the first book to connect drama with helping children develop emotional and physical control, confidence, observation skills, and abilities to be tolerant and considerate of others. In 1959, Slade began calling what he and others were doing dramatherapy in a pamphlet entitled “Dramatherapy as an Aid to Becoming a Person.” (Jones, 1996). Brian Way developed similar ideas about the essential growth drama offers participants in his classic Development through Drama, which collected ideas and methods from his work in educational drama from the 40’s through the mid-60’s (Way, 1967). Dorothy Heathcote used drama in education for teaching purposes, but also as a way for children to develop insight, understanding, and empathy. In 1964 Marian Lindkvist created the first dramatherapy training program, the Sesame Institute, which focused on drama and movement as forms of learning and expression, particularly in work with children with special needs. Peter Slade worked with her to deepen their method through psychological training.
Another early pioneer was Sue Jennings who began doing drama at a psychiatric hospital when she was a young drama student and called the work she was doing “remedial drama” (Jones, 1996). In the 1970’s, she completed a Ph.D. in anthropology which focused on ritual and started referring to her work as “dramatherapy.” (Jones, 1996). The British Association for Dramatherapists (BADth) was created in 1976 to promote the education and credentialing of dramatherapists in the UK (Jones, 1996). It is interesting to note that this is just three years before the NADT was formed in the U.S. While the British and the American forms of drama therapy developed separately and have different theoretical emphases, they truly did develop along parallel lines and in a similar pattern.

Drama therapy also has a history in Russia and the Netherlands. Phil Jones, in Drama as Therapy: Theatre as Living talks about two Russian drama therapists who were influenced strongly by the work of Stanislavky (Jones, 1996). Nicholai Evreinov, a Russian director, created a method he called Theatrotherapy which focused on the internal and psychological processes involved in acting to create healing and well-being in participants and help them re-frame or re-imagine their difficulties into a new way of life. Vladimir Iljine also created a Therapeutic Theatre in the years before the Russian Revolution (1908-1917) using theatre games and improvisational training to encourage flexibility, spontaneity, expressiveness, and communication abilities. He used his methods with individuals and groups in many situations and locations: psychiatric patients, people with emotional problems, and actors in the theatre (Jones, 1996).

After the Revolution there were others who carried on this work. One, Nikolai Sergevich Govorov, developed a theatrical storytelling technique which he used to help psychiatric patients and others develop social connections, self-confidence, and socially appropriate behavior (A. Martin, personal communication, June 2, 2004). He felt that much of mental health depended on people having the ability to socialize and support each other morally and humanly. Govorov was very aware of Evreinov’s work and consciously built on it and other Western therapeutic theatre work (A. Martin, personal communication, June 2, 2004). His work developed between the1950’s and the 1970’s.

One other country in which drama therapy currently thrives is the Netherlands. In the late 40’s, Activity Leaders involved with social welfare and youth care in community and residential care centers began using the arts and play for self-expression and social interaction (Jones, 1996). This gave rise to The Netherlands Society for Creative ExpressiveTherapy in the 1960s; a branch for dramatherapists was formed in 1981. There are, perhaps, more drama therapists per capita in the Netherlands than anywhere else in the world!


Two other individuals should be mentioned as important influences on drama therapy. The first is Constantin Stanislavky. Before Stanislavsky, theatre was not considered a psychological art. His work at the Moscow Art Theatre (1900-1938) set the stage, not just for actor training in the 20th century, but also for the use of his methods as tools for connecting with the emotional mind by other educators and psychotherapy professionals (Blair, 2002). His intuitive utilization of the imagination (the brain’s natural ability to create imagery and metaphor), the unconscious (as a gateway to connecting with true emotion), and given circumstances (embodying the actor in the physical and psychological details of the moment in which the character is) mesh with research that has been done on neurology and brain processes in the past fifteen years. The body-mind is essentially one, as Antonio Damasio explains in Descartes’ Error and The Feeling of What Happens, and as Stanislavsky’s methods demonstrate (Blair, 2002). Stanislavsky’s methods deeply influenced not just the Russian drama therapists, but also theatre artists from the West, most notably in our case, Viola Spolin and the American theatre educators who developed into the first drama therapists.

The other critical individual who must be mentioned is Jacob Levy Moreno, the father of psychodrama, sociodrama, and sociometry (Johnson in Lewis & Johnson, 2000). Moreno, born in Bucharest in 1889, grew up and studied medicine in Vienna. There, as an attending physician at a refugee camp at Mitterndorf at the end of World War I, he developed sociometry, a method of assessing of the social choices made within a group by its members and then intervening in a systemic way to create social change (Garcia & Buchanan in Johnson & Lewis, 2000). He applied these new measurements and intervention tools to create order and improve living conditions in the displaced residents’ lives. It worked! Later he started what amounted to a support group for Viennese prostitutes, using role play and improvisation to help them find solutions to social problems with which they were faced.

From 1920-24 Moreno led The Theatre of Spontaneity, an improvisational theatre in which professional actors created spontaneous drama based on current events. This work developed into sociodrama and later psychodrama as the focus changed from the community and social issues to personal and psychological issues of individuals. Moreno emigrated to the U.S. in 1925 where he continued developing his methods with the general public through the Impromptu Theatre at Carnegie Hall and by consulting at prisons, psychiatric hospitals, and residential treatment centers. In these latter institutions he helped individuals who had serious personal, emotional or social problems learn how to function better (Blatner, 2000). The American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama (ASGPP) was founded in 1942. Many of the pioneers of creative arts therapy movements, experiential therapy, and traditional talk therapy came to his sessions and were influenced by his work, including Marion Chase, Eric Berne, Arthur Janov, and Fritz Perls (Blatner, 2000; Johnson in Lewis & Johnson, 2000).

Psychodrama and drama therapy purists would argue that Moreno’s work is not a subset of drama therapy, but there is a truth to the idea that Moreno was the “first drama therapist,” as he identified role and social relationships as important therapeutic issues through his writing and work with clients long before American or British drama therapists became organized or began publishing (Johnson in Lewis & Johnson, 2000). My view of psychodrama is that it is part of the drama therapy toolbox, and, therefore, its story rightfully belongs as part of drama therapy history.


Currently, there are two Master degree programs in the U.S. and one in Canada approved by NADT for training drama therapists: New York University in New York City, California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco, and Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. NADT has also developed an alternative training program through which students can work with a Board Certified Trainer/Mentor to create an individualized program of study in drama therapy in conjunction with a Masters degree in theatre, social work, counseling, special education, or another discipline related to drama therapy. Being an interdisciplinary field, training in drama therapy requires courses in psychology/therapy, drama therapy, and other creative arts therapy as well as internships in which students practice their skills and receive supervision from experienced professional drama therapists and other credentialed mental health professionals.

The professional credential for drama therapists in the U.S. and Canada is the R.D.T. (Registered Drama Therapist) which can be applied for after one has finished an appropriate Masters degree, the approved drama therapy and psychology coursework, an 800 hour drama therapy internship, a minimum of 500 hours of theatre experience and a minimum of 1,500 hours of professional hours working as a drama therapist. Most registered drama therapists have much more than a minimum of 500 hours of theatre when they discover drama therapy since most begin as theatre artists or educators who discover the healing aspects of drama through their theatre training and work. However, more and more social workers, counselors, and special educators are discovering that talk therapy is not enough; that there is a need for “things done” in therapy for insight and change to be effective for clients. As this happens, drama therapists with theatre origins are being joined by drama therapists with clinical mental health origins who have discovered the magic and intrinsic healing value of drama. Among the ranks of drama therapy students, there are even ministers, priests, and rabbis who have discovered the healing power of drama therapy. Perhaps this is an indication that we are rounding the bend to complete the circle to the place where our drama therapy roots began.

INTERACTIVE DRAMA THERAPY TIMELINE:  Mouse over the bullets to reveal more details.




Aristotle. (1954). Aristotle’s rhetoric and poetics. NY: The Modern Library.

Blair, R. (2002). Reconsidering Stanislavsky: Feeling, feminism, and the actor. Theatre Topics. (12), 2, 177-190.

Blatner, A. (2000). Foundations of psychodrama. NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Brockett, O. (1968). History of the theatre. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc.

Boal, A. (1985). Theatre of the oppressed. NY: Theatre Communications Group.

Casson, J. Tribute to Peter Slade, read at Peter Slade’s funeral, June 30, 2004.

Cockerham, W. C. (2000). Sociology of mental disorder. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Damasio, A. (1994). Descartes’ error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain. New York: Avon Books.

Damasio, A. (1999). The feeling of what happens: Body and emotion in the making of consciousness. San Diego: Harcourt, Inc.

Finneran, L. (1999). Beginnings: Letters to and from Gert. Dramascope. (19), 2, 1, 18-20.

Gordon, R. (1999). Beginnings: Cell Block Theatre. Dramascope. (19), 1, 1, 13, 26.

Harrison, J. E. (1913). Ancient art and ritual. Bath, England: Moonraker Press.

Hecht, S. J. (1991). Edith de Nancrede at Hull House: Theatre programs for youth.Youth Theatre Journal. (6), 1, 3-10.

Jackson, S. (2001). Lines of activity: Performance, historiography, Hull-House domesticity. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.

Jones, P. (1996). Drama as therapy: Theatre as living. London: Routledge.

Landy, R. (1997). Drama therapy – The state of the art. The Arts in Psychotherapy. (24), 1, 5-15.

Lewis P. & Johnson D. R. (Eds.). (2000). Current approaches in drama therapy. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.

Lewis-Williams, D. (2002). The mind in the cave: Consciousness and the origins of art. London: Thames & Hudson.

Mithen, S. (1996). The prehistory of the mind: The cognitive origins of art, religion and science. London: Thames and Hudson, Ltd.

Pfeiffer, J.E. (1982). The creative explosion: An inquiry into the origins of art and religion. New York: Harper & Row.

Philips, M. E. (1996). The use of drama and puppetry in occupational therapy during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy (50), 3, 229- 233.

Reiter, S. (1996). Honoring Gert Schattner. Dramascope (14), 1, 1, 3.

Schattner, G. & Courtney, R. (1981). Drama in therapy, Volume One: Children, NY: Drama Book Specialists.

Slade, P. (1954). Child drama. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

Slade, P. (1959). Dramatherapy as an aid to becoming a person. Pamphlet, Guild of Pastoral Psychology.

Spolin, V. (1963). Improvisation for the theatre. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University.

Stanislavsky, C. (1936). An actor prepares. New York: Theatre Arts Books.

Way, B. (1967). Development through drama. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press.

Whitaker, R. (2001). Mad in America: Bad science, bad medicine, and the enduring mistreatment of the mentally ill. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing.