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Principles Of Drama Therapy I: Core Processes

Drama therapy session

An introduction to drama therapy theories and principles

Are you a licensed clinician looking to incorporate more creative techniques in your practice? Or a mental health practitioner and/or working towards licensure? Our new course introduces drama therapy theories and principles involved in its practice. Included in this course are an overview of the core processes and theories of drama therapy, as well as the requirements for registry as a drama therapist, plus typical sites of practice and target populations. Each week will include active practice as well as lecture and group discussion. No experience in drama or theatre is required, though a willingness to engage in dramatic play is essential. While the class is intended for mental health practitioners, other healthcare professionals, educators and theatre/performing artists may also benefit. Participants may follow this class with additional classes that dig deeper into the principles of drama therapy.


Book Required for the Course

Acting For Real: Drama Therapy Process, Technique, and Performance (2nd Edition)

Course Outline

  1. Definitions and Boundaries

    • What is drama therapy?
    • Expectations and policies
    • Metaprocessing and boundaries
    • Aesthetic distance and the “drama therapy pie”
    • History of drama therapy

  2. Dramatic Reality

    • The features and implications of dramatic reality
    • Working with dramatic reality
    • Interventions in dramatic reality
    • Practice with dramatic play and interventions
    • De-roling: delineating the imaginary from reality
    • Main theories and psychotherapeutic influences of drama therapy

  3. Core Processes, Part 1

    • Playspace
    • Dramatic Projection
    • Role Play
    • Embodiment
    • Practice with identifying core processes
    • Practice with enacting core processes in therapeutic dramatic play
    • NADTA Code of Ethics Principles

  4. Core Processes, Part 2

    • Distancing
    • Active witnessing
    • Life-Drama Connection
    • Transformation
    • Practice with identifying core processes continued
    • Practice with enacting core processes in therapeutic dramatic play continued

  5. Application and closure

    • Designing interventions to target specific therapeutic needs
    • Methods to increase client engagement
    • Recognizing and working through client resistance
    • Practice designing and leading interventions
    • The Registered Drama Therapist (RDT) credential: requirements and training routes
    • Closure and wrap-up

Learner Outcomes

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • engage more freely in creative, spontaneous play
  • describe the theories and current approaches used in drama therapy
  • identify and appropriately apply drama therapy-based techniques to clinical practice

Course Schedule

Online (Instructor-led)

Mar 01, 2022 to Mar 29, 2022

6:00PM - 8:00PMZoom

Course Information

Contact Hours
15 hours

Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit - $375.00


  • Erica Craig