People who go through traumatic experiences may find it hard to cope with their memories and adjust to life. They might feel dramatically different after their trauma and struggle with everyday activities. They may start to develop symptoms of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
Traditional treatment methods for trauma can be effective but at times it can be helpful to explore other options to reinforce recovery in a more creative ways. Things like art, music or even acting can be a great way for people who have suffered from trauma to process what they have been through. Creative expression can be a vehicle through which a traumatized person can release emotions that are difficult for them to talk about or put into words.
Theatre and the dramatic arts allow people to resolve trauma by helping them work through some of their issues by acting in different scenes and understanding emotional reactions. They can put themselves in scenarios that might trigger them and learn to react differently in a safe environment. Theatre can be a way for people to build confidence about being in different situations and dealing with their emotions as they come up.
What is Acting/Drama Therapy?
Drama therapy is one of the effective way to improve the mental health disorder. It is a type of psychotherapy in which people do roleplay and storytelling which helps them to improve their self-confidence.
Theatre and the dramatic arts allow people to resolve trauma by helping them work through some of their issues by acting in different scenes and understanding emotional reactions. They can put themselves in scenarios that might trigger them and learn to react differently in a safe environment. Drama can be a way for people to build confidence about being in different situations and dealing with their emotions as they come up.
How Does Drama Therapy Work?
In this therapy, the drama therapist analyzes the patient’s mental health, behavior etc, and creates a treatment plan accordingly. The therapist creates a comfortable environment so that a patient can perform the task without hesitation.
Drama therapy may include the following things:
- Group performance
- Mime play
- Dance performance
These kinds of performances improve patient confidence, build leadership qualities and help them approach problems in a new way.
Essential Techniques of Drama Therapy
Drama therapy sessions are usually based on scenes involving one protagonist who acts out a scenario. Participants can act out their emotions by reacting to others or through techniques such as mirroring the protagonist’s behavior. They can also use role reversal to help understand their own feelings and behavior or other people’s reactions to situations.
Spontaneity and creativity:
Key elements of acting therapy include using spontaneity and creativity to help spark progress and development for each participant. If people in the class are able to react natural and spontaneously to certain scenarios then they will be more likely to cope with the unexpected or unknown in their daily life. Using creativity can help them learn to express their inner thoughts and feel comfortable being emotional.
Drama in general can help people express their more difficult emotions that can be challenging to discuss with others. It also helps promote more psychological distance from the trauma that they have experienced. Participants can learn to see experiences in a different perspective and come up with new ways to respond that may be healthier and more effective.
Psychodrama is a unique type of therapy because it focuses on the actor’s experience of their feelings and how they respond to others rather than an audience’s reaction. As patients work through their trauma in acting exercises they also share things with other participants in a type of group therapy. It helps build interpersonal skills and bonds patients together through working on a creative project.
Psychodrama for Healing
Patients coping with trauma may be able to find options for drama therapy or psychodrama classes as it is also called. Drama classes that focus on trauma issues and allow patients to work through personal problems can be a beneficial addition to regular talk therapy in a treatment program. Although not every treatment center will provide supplemental therapies like psychodrama, there may be outside programs that offer classes for people interested in participating.
Drama therapy uses theatrical techniques and concepts to promote healthy changes in mood and mental well-being. People can use drama therapy to express their feelings, interact with others and practice healthy behaviors. For people with PTSD, it helps them practice being in triggering situations and learn how to cope with them effectively.
In psychodrama, participants can explore their own inner experiences and break out of limiting roles they have placed themselves in. They can practice different ways of behaving, interacting and reacting to scenarios that they might find themselves in everyday life. People can also act out their emotions in order to better understand and explore what they are feeling.
Benefits of Drama Therapy
Taking part in a drama therapy class can help participants achieve better self-awareness and positive behavioral changes. Patients can begin to understand their emotions on a deeper level and express them by telling their own stories in a creative way. They will be able to achieve great personal growth and improve their quality of life by working through their trauma with theatre. The following are some notable benefits of drama therapy:
- Relieves trauma symptoms
- Boosts self-confidence
- Improves creativity
- Increases spontaneity
- Improve self-awareness
- Improves communication skill
- Reduce anxiety and stress
- Develop interpersonal skills
- Experience emotional catharsis
- Prepare them for real-life scenarios
- Feel more confident in potentially triggering situations
- Helps people work through issues they are dealing with
Although traditional individual therapy is crucial for trauma recovery, drama therapy can be a helpful supplement to explore healing from traumatic experiences. Like other therapies, acting therapy also needs a professional and well-trained therapist to deliver the techniques.