The Handbook of Dramatherapy

The Handbook of Dramatherapy

The Handbook of Dramatherapy

The Handbook of Dramatherapy


Dramatherapy is being increasingly practised in a range of therapeutic settings and is of growing interest to theatre practitioners and teachers. The Handbook of Dramatherapybrings together five authors who have considerable experience of clinical, artistic and educational work to provide an easy-to-read introduction to the major models of dramatherapy. The authors explain the differences between dramatherapy and psychodrama, discuss its relationship with theatre art, look at assessment and evaluation techniques, and argue the need for more appropriate methods of research for this increasingly popular form of therapeutic treatment.
The Handbook of Dramatherapyprovides a comprehensive basis for theory and practice and will be an invaluable resource for all students of dramatherapy and theatre.



Telemachus You have conjured up too marvellous a vision: I cannot bear to think of it. And I, for one, dare not expect such happiness…

(Homer, The Odyssey)

Bottom I have had a most rare vision…

(Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream IV. i. 203)

Was it a vision, or a waking dream?

Fled is that music:- Do I wake or sleep?

(Keats, 'Ode to a Nightingale')


The theatre is a place we visit in order to have a 'vision'-to see how something is or how it was or indeed how it might be. The theatre is able to condense a story in time, space and action in order that we can take it in as a piece; it also expands the story so that we have a new perception or understanding. The theatre, through spectacle, helps us to understand who we are and where we are in the world.

This idea is not new: dramatic ritual which can establish individual and social identity has existed for millennia in some form or other; early theatre forms were very explicit in their visionary and healing function. The theatre is a structured experience within which we respond or interact as an engaged audience, in an enacted story that is being presented for us. It speaks to us and for us as both individuals and groups, and it is unique to the particular audience who are present. Each performance is different from the next one, however well known the story; the actors create a difference every time it is performed, thereby allowing us a privileged vision when we attend. This is what makes theatre different from television or film where the image is formed and the only variation is our response to it; whereas in the theatre, our very responses assist the actors to shape the drama to our expectations and energy, so that indeed we are a part of the performance; an important dimension of the theatre process. As we see below, there are many others who are involved in this process before the actual performance is shown to the audience.

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