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DRAMA THERAPY WITH CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTSEdit

HOW DOES DRAMA THERAPY MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS?Edit

Some specific benefits likely to be achieved in drama therapy with children include reducing feelings of isolation, developing new coping skills and patterns, broadening the range of expression of feelings, experiencing improved self-esteem and self-worth, increasing sense of play and spontaneity, and developing relationships. According to Erikson and other theorists, play allows children to gain mastery over conflicts and anxieties. Drama therapy provides a developmentally appropriate means of processing events with children and adolescents for whom verbal methods alone may be insufficient. It taps into their natural propensity toward action and utilizes it to engage children in play as a means of safely exploring issues and painful feelings. Because the drama therapist is willing to meet the child at whatever space they are in, be it angry, frustrated, refusing to talk,etc., and because drama therapy accesses the imagination, it is a safer, familiar method for young people. This isparticularly true for those who have a hard time trusting or connecting with adults or who might otherwise struggle in therapy.

Often children don’t communicate their feelings and thoughts through only words. They have another language –that of play. Children use toys, objects and stories to attempt to understand the world around them, as well as to communicate their needs, wants and fears. A drama therapist working with children is trained to speak this special language.

IN WHAT SPECIFIC SETTINGS DO DRAMA THERAPISTS WORK WITH CHILDREN AND Edit

ADOLESCENTS?Edit

Drama Therapists work in inpatient and outpatient mental health settings, educational or school/after school settings, community centers, shelters, group homes, multicultural centers, private practice, early intervention programs, home health agencies, hospices, rehabilitative facilities, hospitals and wellness centers.


WHERE CAN ONE FIND THE BEST RESEARCH ON DRAMA THERAPY WITH CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS?Edit

LITERATURE (ABBREVIATED LISTING)

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Barranger Dunne, P. (1997). Double stick tape: Poetry, drama, and narratives as therapy for adolescents. Los

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Cattanach, A. (1992). Drama for people with special needs. New York: Drama Book Publishers.

Cattanach, A. (1997) Children’s stories in play therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Cattanach, A. (1993) Play therapy with abused children. London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Cattanach, A. (1994) Play therapy: Where the sky meets the underworld. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Cossa, M. (2005). Rebels with a cause: Working with adolescents using action techniques. London: Jessica

Kingsley Publishers.

Emunah, R. (1994). Acting for real: Drama therapy process, technique, and performance. New York:

Brunner/Mazel.

Gersie, A. & King, N. (1990). Storymaking in education and therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Jennings, S. (Ed.). (1995). Dramatherapy with children and adolescents. New York: Routledge

Nelson, L. & Finneran, L. (2006). Drama and the adolescent journey. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Drama.

Schattner, G. & Courtney, R. (Eds.) (1981). Drama in therapy: Volume one: Children. New York: Drama Book

Specialists.

Sternberg, P. (1998). Theatre for conflict resolution in the classroom and beyond. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Webb, N. B. (1999). Assessment of the Child in Crisis. In Webb, N. B. (Ed.), Play Therapy with Children in

Crisis: Individual, Group and Family Treatment (pp.3-28). New York: The Guilford Press.

Weber, A. M. & Haen, C. (2005). Clinical Applications of Drama Therapy in Child and Adolescent Treatment. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Winnicott, D. W. (1971). Playing and Reality. New York: Tavistock/Routhedge