Drama therapy evolved from the experience and research of psychotherapists, teachers, and theater professionals who recognized that sometimes traditional verbal therapies were too rigid to permit clients to confront and work through individual disturbances. The balanced verbal and non-verbal components of drama therapy with its language of metaphor allow clients to work productively within a therapeutic alliance.
Registered Drama Therapists are trained in theater arts, psychology, and psychotherapy. Training includes improvisation, puppetry, role-playing, pantomime, mask work, and theatrical production. Training in psychology and psychotherapy includes theories of personality, group process, and supervised clinical experience with a broad range of populations. The Registered Drama Therapist (RDT) title is awarded drama therapists who have a master's degree which includes 500 hours of drama/theater experience, 300 hours of on-site internship in drama therapy with at least 30 hours of supervision by a RDT (or other registered creative arts therapist or credentialed master's-level mental health professional), and 1000 paid hours of drama therapy experience.
Registered Drama Therapist/Board Certified Trainer (RDT/BCT) is a Registered Drama Therapist who is a clinician or practitioner, trainer and/or a supervisor and has been a RDT for 5 years and has shown advanced training and supervisory skills in the field of drama therapy. A BCT has the responsibility of training, guiding and mentoring individuals who aspire to becoming RDTs. The Board Certified Trainer is a member of the faculty of the North American Drama Therapy Association. The BCT supervises the education of Alternative Route Trainees and guides them through their training toward the RDT. The BCT is responsible to the drama therapist in training, as well as to the NADT which creates the guidelines for training. The BCT is also a teacher who is well grounded in drama therapy and is familiar with its scope of practice. The BCT must also show active involvement in the association.
Angela with mouse puppet
A drama therapist first assesses a client's needs and then considers approaches that might best meet those needs. Drama therapy can take many forms depending on individual and group needs, skill and ability levels, interests, and therapeutic goals.
Processes and techniques may include improvisation, theater games, storytelling, and enactment. Angela uses role plays and metaphors to help individuals tell stories and express struggles in a safe, fun, non-threatening manner. This allows for the development of “alternates” so that dysfunctional patterns can be changed and new positive endings can be experienced.
Drama therapy is an active approach to therapy that helps clients tell their stories, solve problems, achieve catharsis and understand the meaning of their own dreams, images and symbols. It strengthens the ability of individuals to recognize the functions of various roles that they play in their lives.
Drama therapy is defined by the North American Drama Therapy Association as "the systematic and intentional use of drama/theater processes, products, and associations to achieve the therapeutic goals of symptom relief, emotional and physical integration and personal growth.
Drama Therapy Approved Programs
New York University (NYU)
Dr. Robert Landy, PhD, RDT/BCT Professor and Director
Phone: (212) 998-5258
California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS)
Renee Emunah, PhD, RDT/BCT Program Director and Professor
Phone: (415) 575-6230
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Phone: (336) 698-6723
5603 B West Friendly Ave Suite 103 Greensboro, NC 27410
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