Creative art therapy is an umbrella termused to describe the planned and creative use of art, dance movement, drama ormusic to accomplish individualised clinical goals (Iacat.
ie, 2018). The aim of each is to improve the physical,communication, psychosocial, cognitive or emotional needs of individuals whomay have experienced trauma in their lives. Dramatherapy can be defined as ‘a learning environment with an explicittherapeutic purpose, in which personal insight is encouraged, where meaningfulenactments are generated, and significant theatrical experiences are aimed for'(Gersie, 1996, p. 7). There are many different treatmentmodalities of dramatherapy, including play therapy, improvisation therapy,fixed role therapy, therapeutic role play, and theatre therapy. However, perhaps the most well-known ispsychodrama, which can be defined as ‘a science which explores the truth bydramatic methods’ (Gersie, 1996, p. 148).
Psychodrama was developed in the early 20th century by JacobLevy Moreno. It employs guided dramaticaction (action methods) to examine problems or issues raised by an individualin which clients use spontaneous dramatization, role playing, and dramaticself-presentation to investigate and gain insight into their lives. In this case an action method is defined as aterm used to describe visual and role-based approaches to individual and groupwork (Limited, 2018). Psychodrama helps individuals, or groups, re-enact real-life, past situations (orinner mental processes) by acting them out in present time, while giving theopportunity to explore and solve personal problems. There are three sections, or phases, of atypical session, which are the warm-up, the action, and the sharing phases. The goal of the warm-up phase is to helpestablish trust, while the sharing phase sees the client processing the meaningof the feelings and emotions that have come to light. This is believed to be essential fortransformation to occur. There are four corepsycho dramatic techniques commonly used in the action phase, the first beingwhat is called role reversal.
Thisinvolves the client (protagonist) stepping out of their own role and enactingthe role of a significant person in their life. During the mirroring technique, the client acts out an experience then stepsout of the scene and watches as another individual step into their role toportray them (Therapy, 2018). The thirdtechnique is called doubling.
During this stage a separate individual adoptsthe protagonist’s behaviour and movements. The fourth technique is called soliloquy, this is where the protagonistrelates inner thoughts and feelings to other members of the group. To distinguish psychodrama from roleplay,there are five elements involved, the first being stage. This is the area in which the drama takesplace, and it may be an actual raised stage or the part of a room that is setaside for the drama.
The second elementis the director, or facilitator. Therole of the director can be multifaceted and include analyst, therapist,producer and group leader. The thirdelement is called group or audience, all of whom are witnesses to the action,and at the conclusion of the drama have an opportunity to share from personalexperience. Next is the protagonist,which is the name of the individual dramatizing his or her life story orpersonal issue. Finally, there are auxiliaries,who play the role as demonstrated by the protagonist during role reversal. The phases involved in psychodrama can helpsupport individuals in expressing themselves in a safe, supporting environment,and has proven successful at facilitating the expression of strong emotions andfeelings, especially in individuals who have been diagnosed with mood,personality, or eating disorders.
The technique emphasizes body and action aswell as emotion and thought, thus, it is considered a holistic technique and isbelieved to be effective for a wide range of concerns. While psychodrama focuses on one clientwithin the group unit, sociodrama addresses the group as a whole.