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Dramatherapy in Schools

I have experience of working in mainstream and special needs schools for the past 10 years and in doing so I have set up and implemented the use of dramatherapy within both settings. My role is to assess and manage the therapeutic aims for the students the school have concerns about and discuss based on observations. The integration of Dramatherapy in schools enables the range of needs for each child to be assessed based on the initial referral.

I will then aim to set up with relevant staff and agree an initial course of 6 sessions with a review process after this point. These initial sessions are viewed as an assessment period.


Why have Dramatherapy in my school?

Dramatherapy continues to support the educational curriculum, whilst at the same time continuing to work alongside the ECM, SEAL and NEET.

Dramatherapy not only utilises creative imagination and structured games, but also the body through appropriate developmental movement and play. Each session is specially tailored to the needs of the individual or group.

Every individual has the opportunity to grow in self-confidence allowing them to make progress in:

  • communication skills
  • turn-taking
  • listening
  • creative expression and play
  • bodily awareness
  • self-esteem
  • developing relationships with peers


How will it improve the well being of my students?

In order to access education and gain the most from life that school has to offer children and young people need to feel safe, secure and have their basic needs met (maslow). This is not always the case for every young person. These emotional or physical barriers that can be in the way to childrens learning can stop the overall experience of education.

The role of Dramatherapy acts as vital space for experiences, feelings and emotions to be explored providing often a very much needed space within the school to concentrate on these issues. The aim of Dramatherapy aims to improve the well being of the student in order for them to gain the most they can from education.


Where will it take place?

Sessions are confidential so need to be held in a private space within the school.


How long will sessions and the intervention last?

It is recommended that 6 sessions are offered in order to assess the needs of the clients with a review after this point to discuss the intervention and the overall aims. A minimum of a term is recommended.


What is the role of a Dramatherapist within a school?

In order for the children and young people to benefit most from the process of Dramatherapy I have learnt that where possible liasing with relecant staff, SENCO, safeguarding officers, parents and teachers by building a strong network of communication provides a broader more thorough view of the clients process.

As a Dramatherapist I aim to offer a broader more robust service that aims to reach further and have a wider impact in a schools community. I aim to understand and want to help with a solution that benefits the school as a whole.


1. Offering more support to parents and families

Offering more support to parents and families and working with parent and child in therapy sessions.

I aim to reach the wider community of schools and look to strengthen the relationships between the students, staff and other professionals working around key aims, in relation to specific children who are vulnerable.

Looking at ways I can focus on crisis management and solutions to avoid confrontation between child and parent and/or school.


2. Focussing on looking at transition with new students and leavers

Focussing on looking at transition with new students and leavers through group or one to one sessions.

I would hope to identify the challenges relating to endings and new beginnings and aim to develop practical strategies to build on emotional resources through Dramatherapy.

To enable a healthy sense of attachment by looking at the impact of new situations and ways to build on meaningful relationships either at the school or beyond.


3. Looking at ways I can identify reducing challenging behaviour

Looking at ways I can identify reducing challenging behaviour in smaller groups.

Identifying key aims and working closely with staff and finding alternative ways of dealing with difficult sitiations.

Looking at ways of enabling students to engage in positive interaction and provide a valuable theraputic space to explore difficult and challenging experiences.


4. Building on group relationship dynamics between children and staff

Focussing on the differing relationships that may be evident within the classroom between the children and staff and between specific class staff teams and offering a space where these can be explored, supported and developed and then transfered/transitioned into the classroom, as appropriate.


5. To improve the well being of children and look at providing a tangible benefit

The overall aim is to improve the well being of children and look at providing a tangible benefit by building on previous work and continuing to focus on key aims and structuring creative and imaginative sessions to promote and support the themes of ECM (Every Child Matters), SEAL (the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) and the school curriculum.

Dramatherapy is a psychological therapy that uses dramatic methods. It can be a group or individual therapy. It is not necessary to be good at drama as sessions can involve many ways of accessing a person's creativity. Every session is different, growing each week in a way that acknowledges and supports the individual or group. Through developing a therapeutic relationship, a person is given the opportunity to further their development in a safe and nurturing environment that focuses on their individual needs.