While group psychotherapy is central in treating behavioural health disorders and addictions, the introduction of 'non-spoken' therapies allows people to explore their emotions in a much different way, along with art based psychotherapy. We asked Life Works arts-based psychotherapist, Marina Morgan, to introduce us to the newest treatment modality that our residents take part in - Drama Therapy.
A funny little thing is happening in Drama Therapy here at Life Works, between the clients and myself it is fast becoming a ritual. The sessions always begin the same way; each person introduces themselves by saying their name, and giving one word that describes how they are feeling at that moment. They then go on to describe this word with a sound and an action, which the rest of the group then copy. Almost every person that attends the group for the first time, when it’s their turn, slowly but deliberately begin to caress their chin, before saying “Hmmmmm..... Curious!”
The rest of us in the group, wait with bated breath, (well not quite!!), hoping to witness yet another repeat of this familiar introduction, and when it does happen, surprised and delighted we all have a good laugh! This has happened from day one, and I have a feeling it will continue. Oh the joys of group work! This I hope shows that Drama Therapy, although still relatively new to Life Works, has begun to integrate itself into the hearts and minds of the community.
It is a form of psychological psychotherapy, in which all of the performing arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. It gives equal validity to the mind, body and spirit within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play-text, music, objects, puppetry and improvisation have all been used to facilitate healing and integration, both within the individual and for the group as a whole.
I’m delighted that Drama Therapy is settling in well here at Life Works, alongside the other psychological interventions. I doubt that all clients when they first come to Life Works, have even heard of Drama Therapy, let alone understood its therapeutic potential. Even so, it has been an honour to witness the commitment and courage that individuals continue to show during our work together. Yes, we laugh sometimes, but for the most part the work is deep and serious. Most clients in the community have spent years abusing their bodies in one way or another, and so to be willing to work within a modality that engages the whole body is often a new, intense and ultimately liberating experience
The journey continues for us all...